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The Fruits of Networking

Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer presents the successes and objectives of the University of Freiburg in the 2017/18 annual review

Freiburg, Dec 17, 2018

The Fruits of Networking

Photo: Peter Mesenholl

“Connecting Creative Minds”: that was the motto for the 2017/18 academic year – and under the same motto the University of Freiburg wants to continue to shape its future and raise its profile both in the Excellence Competition and together with its partners as a European university: at a joint meeting of the Senate and the Council of the University of Freiburg, Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer presented the annual review for the 2017/18 academic year. “Outstanding minds, who are passionate about their work, courageous and willing to take risks, and very open to cooperation and networking, have made the University of Freiburg into one of the highest performers and most innovative in Germany,” summed up Schiewer. The university’s international profile was also raised, as could be seen for example from the Times Higher Education Ranking, which lists Freiburg 76th among the best universities worldwide.

Other performance data also speak for themselves: in the funding atlas published this year by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) for 2014-2016, the University of Freiburg achieved the highest level of DFG funding in Germany in relation to the number of professorships and range of subjects. “We are especially proud of the fact that we hold top ranking in all areas of the development of new talent,” says Schiewer. In the Bund-Länder-Programm for the promotion of young talent, for instance, the University of Freiburg obtained twelve Tenure-Track professorships.

Significant achievements also include the Clusters of Excellence CIBSS – Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies and livMatS – Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems which were approved in September 2018. Both Clusters will commence work on 1 January 2019. Until 2025 roughly an additional 70 million euros will go into biological signalling studies and the study of bioinspired materials systems. This success in the first round of the Excellence Competition qualified the University of Freiburg for the second phase, meaning that it will be competing for the title of “University of Excellence”.

In its application “Connecting Creative Minds – Trinational, European, Global” the university describes its future development: a major factor affecting the work of researchers, teachers, administrative staff and students will be the exchange of ideas in regional, European and global networks. At the heart of this vision is the European university. The European Union competition refers back to an initiative of the French President Emmanuel Macron. Since May 2018 there has been political momentum behind this project: together with his French colleagues from the Grand Est region, the Prime Minister of Baden-Württemberg Winfried Kretschmann signed a declaration with the aim of developing the cross-border grouping Eucor – The European Campus into a European university.

Teaching has also undergone significant developments: the University of Freiburg and Freiburg University of Education (PH) were successful in the second round of funding for the teacher training quality initiative. Together, the institutions won a total of 7.3 million euros for joint projects in the field of teacher training. In October 2018 the School of Education (FACE) was founded; FACE will be an umbrella organization where the university and PH can jointly train prospective teachers. Reforms to the teacher training program concluded with the launch of the Master of Education for high school (Gymnasium) teachers, beginning with 19 degree programs in the 2018/19 winter semester.

Connecting Creative Minds: Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer on the strategy for the future of the University of Freiburg