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Excellence Initiative jury approves TUM's concept for the future

"TUM" brand challenges international competition

13.10.2006, Press releases

"Graduate School of Science and Engineering" and two clusters of excellence make the grade - Substantial participation in three LMU excellence clusters

The Grants Committee responsible for the federal and state governments' Excellence Initiative has approved around 74 million Euros of funding, to be spread over a period of about 5 years, for its "TUM.The Entrepreneurial University" concept for the future, which was devised with a view to developing an entrepreneurially minded, commercially active university. The goal of the enterprise is academic research that can compete with the best international standards. The entire agenda of the Technische Universität München is rooted in this goal. Developing a stimulating, performance-promoting university culture, along similar lines to the exemplary pioneering steps embarked upon more recently by TUM, is the major priority of the entrepreneurial university. The concept for the future can be outlined in five target dimensions:

1. TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS)
Already established as a transdisciplinary Central Institution spanning all the departments of the university, TUM-IAS is based on the perception that the most efficient source of progress is an ambience in which top-level researchers and academic teaching staff are allowed sufficient scope to unfurl their scientific creativity. Free from the usual administrative burden of conventional university routine, TUM's outstanding, internationally acclaimed scientists will be given a working environment that supports the evolution of brand new, adventurous projects without the quotidian duress of justifying their research with short-term success. Pioneering scientific performance frequently springs from speculative thought and thrives on interdisciplinary dialogue. In this way, TUM-IAS also serves as a "knowledge exchange" for high-calibre scientists from TU München, research-oriented industry and abroad (guest scientists from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, for example). The operative basis of the Institute is a generously sponsored fellowship program

- for TUM scientists (Carl von Linde Senior Fellows and Carl von Linde Young Researchers)
- for industrial scientists (Rudolf Diesel Industry Fellows)
- for international guest scientists (Hans Fischer Senior Fellows and Hans Fischer Tenure Track Fellows)

that creates liberal working conditions and supports projects with the required research funds. Special priority is given to sponsoring talen¬ted junior scientists under the guidance of highly respected, senior professors.

TUM-IAS will be based in Garching. Funds from the private sector will be used to erect a centrally located building on the Garching research campus, which will also serve as a meeting-place for scientists. Construction is due to begin in 2007. Depending on their particular area of interest, the fellows of the Institute will make use of the facilities for experimental work in the respective faculties.

Members of the Institute's steering committee include the Nobel Prize winners J.-M. Lehn, K. v. Klitzing and R. R. Schrock, as well as the Director of the Princeton Institute of Advanced Study, P. Goddard.

2. TUM careers promotion
This raft of measures starts with the university's "backward integration" into the school education system (in particular high schools) and extends to the involvement of selected Emeriti of Excellence in everyday university life. In detail:

- εducaTUM: In future, our partnership with Bavarian high schools will focus on 14 highly commended "Ivy League" colleges, with whom we hope to cultivate the transition from school to university. Selected high-school teachers can take advantage of the new "TUM Comenius Fellowship" to participate in appropriate high-school education and research projects (with written theses). TUM students attending teacher-training courses will, in future, be allocated to one of these commended high schools from the very first day of their university studies, to enable them to obtain an early insight into the pedagogic challenges of their chosen career. Penzberg high school is one such example. Over the middle term, it is planned to incorporate a technical high school under the umbrella of the TU München (TG@TUM).

- Student Admission Center, SAC: TUM has since adopted the practice of conducting an entrance procedure (individual aptitude tests) for about 50 of its courses, again breaking new ground on Germany's university landscape. The new admission center creates transdisciplinary standards for the assessment tests and professionalizes their execution.

- Welcome Office: With more than 20% of its students coming from abroad, TUM can certainly claim to be a university with international appeal. There is a "Welcome Office“, offering a range of services to help newcomers to overcome any initial problems and identify with their university, as well as establishing connections beyond the boundaries of the university.

- Career Service Center: Measures for counselling students on careers prospects are pooled in cooperation with the TUM Alumni Club in order to mentor graduates about to embark on their careers as well as providing professional advice on employment opportunities compatible with their interests and qualifications.

- Summer School Programs: TUM has a long tradition of summer school activities (the vacation academy in Sarntal, South Tyrol/Italy, for example). They nurture special talent, support social cohesion in high-performance student groups and enhance the relationship between academic staff and undergraduates. The sum¬mer ¬schools also receive administrative backing in collaboration with selected international partner universities. In the middle term, the TUM Raitenhas¬lach Study & Residence Center, housed in the former Cistercian monastery Raiten¬haslach near Burghausen, will also be available as part of a joint project with Burghausen's town council.

- TUM Faculty Recruitment Strategy: The appointment of outstanding professors is crucial for the international competitiveness of a university, (bearing in mind that TUM professorships are normally held for an average of 21 years). As part of a pilot headhunting scheme, professional consultants will be involved along much the same lines as those practised in industry when executive vacancies arise (personal assessment).

- Structural Fund: In order to appoint brilliant researchers before the relevant position actually becomes available at the university, a Structural Fund (9m Euros) is to be set up to provide the required leverage ("rising star" money).

- TUM Academic Lecturer Program: Scientists with a special dedication and aptitude to academic teaching are to be employed in future as Academic Lecturers with a busy lecturing schedule and very good salary. At the same time, this pilot project will serve to develop best practice standards for lecturing, similar to those that have long been in place for research.

- Emeriti of Excellence Program: There is a consensus that the exclusion of excellent emeritus professors from university life through retirement is a deplorable waste of talent. With the support of the Robert Bosch Foundation, a scheme has already been set up to give selected TUM Emeriti the chance to pursue research work. The idea is to actively involve these individuals in lecturing and integrate them in the formation of an international network. The "Distinguished TUM Emeriti" will be entitled to use the employment facilities offered by TUM-IAS in the new building on the Garching campus and to become members of this academic community.

3. Entrepreneurial Culture
These measures are to be used to develop competition indicators and services that promote corporate solidarity.

- Corporate Management Training for Administrative Personnel: A chance to gain experience in best practice administration processes is being offered to members of the university administration in the form of exchange visits with private enterprise, industry and top-level international universities (such as Stanford).

- Process Analysis: Organisational processes in university administration, including management, are frequently ineffectual at traditional universities. For this reason, TUM's information technology will in future be aligned to the needs of an entrepreneurial university, backed up by quality management processes.

- Soft Skills and Cultural Awareness: Following the introduction of UnternehmerTUM GmbH's extensive program of seminars designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and business-like approach among students, a new agenda that focuses on awareness for the cultural responsibility of the scientific/engineering elite is now to be launched. One platform geared to this project is the Carl von Linde Academy, others include the TUM Life-Long Learning Center and the TUM Women's Office. Given that English is the lingua franca of present-day science, TUM also intends to encourage international guests to embrace German as part of our scientific culture.

- TUM Health Care Program: Promoting its staff's health and physical fitness has become a normal part of good corporate governance nowadays. As a university with both sports science and medical faculties (including nutritional medicine), TUM is launching a Health Awareness Campaign, which will enable all its members to take part in free preventative measures (such as sports schedules, medical examinations, nutrition consultancy).

- TUM Corporate Communications Centre: Both internal and external commu¬nications are just as important for TUM's corporate culture as the development of the international "TUM trademark". It is for this reason that all measures are to be coordinated and deepened at the new Corporate Communications Center (CCC). The Center is to be accommodated in the new building for the TUM Institute for Advanced Study in Garching. Core associated topics include TUM's own online website mana¬gement, the recruitment of science correspondents to identify and report on scientific breakthroughs or complex research issues using their journalistic skills to make these matters comprehensible to the general public. The traditional collaboration with Munich's Deutsches Museum, in its role as one of the most important museums of technology in the world, is to be completely revamped. In addition to the existing TUMlab teacher/scholar laboratory, there are plans to launch an (interactive) telepresence program entitled TUMLife at the new Center for New Technologies (ZNT), where TUM's scientists can convey outcomes of particular interest to young visitors to the museum (classes of schoolchildren) per video conference on a regular fortnightly basis. TUM's most prominent researchers and guest scientists will be present at the ZNT's "Glass Laboratory" so as to reach out and motivate others by expounding their special sphere of interest in person.

4. Equality strategy (Gender Issues)
"TUM wants to become Germany’s most attractive Technical University for female students and scientists. The Excellence Initiative gives us the unique opportunity to significantly alleviate the catastrophic situation of women in German academia." This quotation is taken from the proposal for the "Entrepreneurial University", and this approach represents a core aspect of TUM's concept for the future. It is for this reason that 7.3m Euros are being reserved for equal opportunities, gender mainstreaming and the promotion of women. This includes the following measures, which are to receive scientific support from the department of Gender Studies in Engineering Sciences (Prof. Ihsen), the only courses of their kind in Germany:

- Significantly enhanced child care facilities ("Kinderhaus" crèche project in Garching, incorporated in the fundraising program),
- Family Care Structural Fund to provide domestic help for female scientists with young children, flexible support for a work/life balance,
- Financial support for reintegration and vocational training following parental leave.

The Munich Dual Career Center is intended to back the appointment of male and female professors whose partners or spouses are also seeking employment in science or other vocational fields. TUM takes these goals seriously and regards them as a central challenge for a truly entrepreneurial university facing international competition.

5. Sustainability Investments
This covers a set of measures designed to sustain the university's performance standards while simultaneously broadening its financial basis. In its proposal, TUM outlined a funding concept for financing a large percentage of the successful measures contained in the concept for the future itself upon expiry of the Excellence Initiative funding period.

- Professional Fundraising: This focuses on the continued professionalization of the "Alliance for Knowledge" fundraising campaign, which has recently raised about 100m Euros for strategic TUM pro¬jects (such as Foundation Professorships, Else Kröner Fresenius Cente¬r for Nutrition Medicine, Friedrich Schiedel Kindergarten in Munich, Institute for Silicium Chemistry belonging to Wacker Chemie AG in Garching). The fundraising strategy will be changed to an endowment fund at the start of the Excellence Initiative. This means that the fund principal will be retained as the foundation's financial basis and only the interest gained will flow into defined university projects. The target is to acquire 60m Euros by 2011.

- Alumni Family KontakTUM: 30,000 former students of TU München have been identified to date since KontakTUM was launched in 2000. Plans to boost professionalization and raise the number of alumni integrated in this scheme to at least 50,000 in the funding period to 2011 are poised to create a self-sufficient TUM Family. Apart from the feedback from the professional experience of its former students, the university also counts on substantial financial support to contribute towards the university's development.

- Brands, Patents, Licenses, Spin-offs: Intellectual Property Center (TUM-IPC): Based on the existing Service Center for the promotion of research and technology ¬transfer (SFT), the university aims to make better commercial use of all the intellectual property it generates. To this end, a new private enterprise is to be set up with a view to capitalizing more effectively on the university's latest scientific discoveries in conjunction with the local expertise Munich has to offer (patent lawyers, German Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, European Patent Court).

- EU image: The TUM intends to contribute its own resources into the new Bavarian Research Alliance (Bayerische For¬schungsallianz gGmbH), a start-up founded by the Universität Bayern e.V. association, in order to improve its European image collectively with Bavarian universities and small to middle-sized companies, and to make best possible use of the 7th Research Framework Program of the Euro¬pean Union (2007-2013).

The entrepreneurial university measures will be guided by the following principles:

- Corporate excellence as a product of multifaceted, individual scientific originality and the risk propensity to embark on hitherto unknown fields of research;
- Allowing the university's top-level scientists maximum scope in conjunction with the excellence contributed from abroad and from industry;
- Entrepreneurial identity as the result of an enterprising culture that discovers, appreciates and nurtures all kinds of talent within the university community;
- Early identification and promotion of outstanding junior scientists/engineers, also including high schools;
- Promotion of relations between academic teaching staff and scholars based on performance and trust, working in close proximity with role models as an aid to self-development;
- Cultural rapport between natural sciences, technology and medicine in an environment of supranational responsibility;
- Special support for women and families whose sights are set on research and who can accordingly make valuable contributions to scientific progress and help to unlock public awareness of science;
- Belief in the European idea as the tangible home of a liberal-minded, cosmopolitan generation of future scientists.

Kontakt: presse@tum.de

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