Ο πρώτος γύρος της Exzellenzinitiative (Excellence Initiative) των γερμανικών πανεπιστημίων ολοκληρώθηκε και 3 ιδρύματα βραβεύθηκαν με τη μέγιστη επιχορήγηση: την Zukunftskonzepte (Institutional Strategies).

Αυτό που παρατήρησα με ευχαρίστηση είναι ότι οι Γερμανοί δε μοιράζουν (αλά ελληνικά…) τα κονδύλια με βάση πολιτικά κριτήρια, αλλά τα επενδύουν πραγματικά στις πιο ισχυρές και υποσχόμενες έδρες, ήτοι σε ιδρύματα που ήδη θεωρούνται κορυφαία. Δεν είναι τυχαίο που το Βερολίνο, πρωτεύουσα και έδρα πολιτικής ισχύος, δεν τα κατάφερε στην πρώτη αυτή φάση με καμία του πρόταση.

Παρακάτω σας παραθέτω τα 3 press releases των ιδρυμάτων που θα επιχορηγηθούν για να δείτε τη διορατικότητα των project.

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Technische Universität München

At TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITÄT MÜNCHEN (TUM) ‘Entrepreneurial Spirit’ means to activate the diversity of human talent in a concerted, interactive way. In terms of top-level research, it entails combining a maximum of individual freedom with a supportive administration.

This proposal is centered on the “TUM Institute for Advanced Study” (TUM-IAS), founded in 2005. It allows us to sharpen our specific profile of Natural Sciences, Engineering, Medicine and Life Sciences on an international level. Much like the legendary IAS in Princeton, TUM-IAS is based on the assumption that an atmosphere of creativity, freedom and unbureaucratic support for excellent researchers forms the most productive source for outstanding scientific achievements. It is our goal to adapt this concept to the specific conditions of a Technical University with special consideration given to young scientists.

At the same time, TUM wants to become Germany’s most attractive Technical University for female students and scientists. Gender-equitable and family-friendly measures are central for an “entrepreneurial university” and thus highly formative for the present proposal.

Finally, we are aware that top-level research depends on a framework of further, co-ordinated measures. The following steps will professionalize services at TUM in order to become an «entrepreneurial university»: (i) fundraising campaign and alumni association, (ii) qualification-based student admission procedures, (iii) faculty recruitment based on comprehensive quality management, (iv) international alliances, EU office, TUM spin-offs, (v) integration of outstanding emeriti in TUM’s daily life (‘Emeriti of Excellence’ program), (vi) early interactions with the secondary school system and improvement of academic teaching (HighTUM & εducaTUM); (vii) Academic Lecturers Program, (viii) stimulation of personality development, e.g. Carl von Linde Academy, (ix) scientific exchange program with industry (TUM “Rudolf Diesel” Industry Fellowships), (x) Summer School Programs taking advantage of the new Off-Campus Study Center at Raitenhaslach Monastery, and (xi) Corporate Governance with academic commitment.

These measures, far from being self-serving, express our determination to establish our strong areas in international competition and to improve less developed points by creating incentives and a favourable environment. TUM wants to impress on all its members the idea of being part of a «university of opportunities», so that instead of relying on established privileges, they create optimal work environments in an atmosphere of performance and loyalty.

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Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität

LMUexcellent: Working Brains – Networking Minds – Living Knowledge

LMU Munich will be using the funding provided by the Excellence Initiative to expand its status internationally as a premier German research university. It is pursuing a comprehensive master strategy for boosting academic excellence that encompasses all areas of research, instruction, promoting junior academics and management. Among other things, the concept outlines a new recruitment strategy to win over excellent minds, employing for example a proactive appointment policy (headhunting). In keeping with the «universal» at the heart of a university, a Center for Advanced Studies will promote dialogue between disciplines, enable problem-oriented research and make LMU Munich a meeting point for academics the world over. A new investment concept will make funds available to optimize research conditions, for example by establishing new guest and research professorships. A further strategic component will be quality assurance through evaluation to create trust externally and internally. All of this also includes collaboration with strong partners: Already existing close relationships with, say, the Max Planck Institutes are to be expanded further, especially with regard to the HighTechCampusLMU in Grosshadern-Martinsried. In addition, LMU Munich will utilize strategic partnerships with similarly successful and renowned universities. Realizing this master strategy will require more suitable organization and management structures. For example, a ResearchCenterLMU will act as a service point for research while a GraduateCenterLMU will tend to graduate studies. «For the long term, I envision a conversion to an endowment university that’s largely free from the vacillations of basic state funding,» Rector Huber states.

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Universität Karlsruhe

The core of the University of Karlsruhe’s strategy for the future is the planned formation, in conjunction with the Karlsruhe Research Centre (which is part of the Herman von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres) of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Both institutions have already been cooperating for over 50 years on a large number of disciplines and now they would like to give concrete form to their combined efforts and merge the two institutions. “We will combine our strengths in the KIT and break into the international premier league of research universities,” stated Professor Hippler. The partners have chosen the world-famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as the role model for the KIT. Professor Hippler went on to say that “the planned merger is a revolutionary goal in the research world. The fact that we have today obtained the go-ahead to implement our strategy for the future confirms that we are heading in the right direction and demonstrates that the merger alarms only a decreasing number of specialists because they recognise that it can provide us with international visibility”.

The partners already took the first step towards the foundation of KIT in the summer. On 1st July the programmes of both institutions in the fields of micro and nano-technology, scientific computing (focussing on grid-computing) as well as the common Computing Centre and Material Research for the energy sector were amalgamated. This collaboration will be extended progressively to other programmes.

Two strong partners come together in KIT. The University of Karlsruhe is of one of the strongest German universities from the point of view of research. The DFG’s ranking of universities on the basis of success in obtaining external funds research funds demonstrates that the professors of the University of Karlsruhe receive the largest amount of DFG funds per capita in the whole of Germany. From 2002 to 2004 receipt of DFG funds totalled 100.5 million Euros. Based on the latest assessments, the Research Centre is one of the best in the world in all its areas of activity. The Perspective Commission which was established by the State and Federal Governments summarised its conclusions as follows: “The Karlsruhe Research Centre is a well-managed Centre with a proud past and the potential for an exciting future.”

Two equal partners are joining forces in the KIT. Both institutions employ about 4000 staff; the university’s annual budget is of the order of 250 million Euros and the equivalent figure of the Research Centre is about 310 million Euros. In each case external funding contributes approximately 80 million Euros to this figure. KIT also represents the amalgamation of two partners with similar goals. Both organisations have particular strengths in the natural and engineering sciences which form an excellent complement to each other. The result is the basis for an alliance which cannot be found anywhere else in Germany.

As well as the formation of the KIT, the university’s strategy for the future also includes other measures to establish the University of Karlsruhe as a modern research university. One of these is the creation of a “research-friendly” environment. “We want our outstanding scientists to be able to develop and disseminate knowledge and innovation without let or hindrance”, declared Professor Hippler and continued: “One goal is therefore to provide the researchers with the possibility of devoting their undivided attention to their research work and to relieve them of other tasks such as teaching and bureaucracy.” New structures are also planned for the university, one of which is the “Karlsruhe House of Graduate Students” which is intended to take care of the needs of doctoral students. At the same time the university also wants to support the formation of networks among young scientists. Research is also to be divided into research areas and fields; technology transfer is also to be promoted. A “house of competence” is also planned to assist in the area of continuing education and provide additional services such as a crèche.

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Συνοψίζοντας: θα έλεγε κανείς ότι τα τρία ιδρύματα έχουν τρεις διαφορετικές προσεγγίσεις που βασίζονται όμως σε επιτυχημένα αμερικανικά μοντέλα κορυφαίων ιδρυμάτων.

Το Technische Universität München ήδη ξεκίνησε την ανεγερση μιας δομής όπως το [Princeton] Institute for Advanced Studies για την πάταξη της γραφειοκρατίας και της προώθησης των καλύτερων ιδεών. To Karlsruhe Universität θα ενωθεί μ’ένα άλλο ερευνητικό κέντρο για τη δημιουργία ενός μέγα-ινστιτούτου με πρότυπο το ΜΙΤ. Και το Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München θα επενδύσει κυρίως στο headhunting των καλύτερων δυνατών επιστημόνων και τη διαπεδιακή έρευνα.

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