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German Science Council and Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft reach consensus:

Technische Universität München awarded elite status

13.10.2006, Press releases

Convincing concept for the future: "TUM.The Entrepreneurial University." – Two TUM-run research clusters make the grade – "TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering" (IGSSE) focuses on interdisciplinary education – TUM aims to become Germany's most attractive technical university for top-level female students and scientists – Around 150m Euros spread over 5 years to boost international competitiveness

The Technische Universität München is delighted at the joint decision of the German Science Council and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, announced today. The success of two TUM-run clusters of excellence and the "TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering“ (IGSSE) paves the way towards realising the "TUM.The Entrepreneurial University“ concept for the future. Alongside the University of Karlsruhe and the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich (LMU), the TUM accordingly takes its place among the winners of the "Excellence Initiative" launched by the federal and state governments. TU Principal Prof. Herrmann congratulated Prof. Huber, his colleague from the LMU, on their mutual victory.

TUM gained recognition for its Corporate Concept for developing its entrepreneurial approach. This not only includes its "backward integration“ into the school education system but also its "forward integration“ into the career markets. Based on a whole raft of measures, TUM aims to become the most appealing technical university in Germany for outstanding female students and scientists. The agenda also includes the "TUM Student Admission Center“ designed to professionalize the choice of students, direct "headhunting“ of male and female professors while honouring the so-called "personal assessment“ principle, the integration of selected, top-level emeritus professors in the university's everyday activities ("Emeriti of Excellence“), more internationalization in line with entrepreneurial criteria and the broadening and diversification of the financial basis (fundraising, patenting & licensing).

The university had submitted its proposal and concept for the future, which was nominated for the award by a panel of 15 independent, international experts following a thorough assessment process in Munich, Garching and Weihenstephan, under the motto of "TUM.The Entrepreneurial University“. Following on from the numerous reformation steps already accomplished since 1996, TUM convinced the jury as to the approach it plans to adopt in future to achieve the highest international standards worthy of an entrepreneurial university. Central to the scheme is the "TUM Institute for Advanced Study“ (TUM-IAS), the idea of which is to provide maximum scope for the creative development of a scientific/engineering elite. – Please refer to http://www.tum-ias.de for further details.

The original abstract for the "TUM.The Entrepreneurial University“ project, as submitted as part of the accepted proposal, is set out below:

"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 (‘Eε 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."

The Excellence Initiative now offers the Technische Universität München the opportunity of restructuring its academic profile with the help of the "TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering“ (IGSSE). The core idea of this project is to coordinate the departments of natural and engineering sciences on a sound research basis via the relevant undergraduate and postgraduate studies. This will generate a considerable added value in terms of interdisciplinary experience for the entrepreneurially minded, commercially active junior scientists. Here is an excerpt from the summary of the new Graduate School:

"... It is the vision of the TUM International Graduate School of Science and Engineering (IGSSE) to bridge the gap between the ’two cultures‘ of Science and Engineering. Multidisciplinary research projects will accordingly be given priority support. In addition, the research training program will forge links between the two cultures. IGSSE will also implement structural measures and a common framework to create a basis for adopting further international Master’s programs and Research Training Groups in the future.

Being committed to scientific excellence, IGSSE envisages broadening its transdisciplinary horizons while aiming to cultivate an access to the humanities, a spirit of entrepreneurship, self-confidence and risk propensity amongst young scientists and engineers. This does not only mean encouraging students to develop their projects into marketable products. To put it simply, it is the IGSSE's goal to enable brilliant, young researchers to promote their ideas from the conceptual stage towards an added value for society, be it in industry, academia or elsewhere.

Special emphasis will be placed on international cooperation, including a mandatory research term of at least 3 months for each member at a collaborating institution abroad. IGSSE not only wants to address young scientists with full-time research projects typically lasting three years, but also researchers in their first professional positions as university research assistants, who usually gain their doctorate within the space of 4-5 years."

Apart from simply pursuing the interdisciplinary, research-driven education strategy of the TUM, IGSSE also marks the beginning of a fundamental realignment of the TUM's educational structures to compete with the highest international standards. Several technically defined Graduate Schools (such as the TUM Graduate School of Life & Food Sciences, TUM Graduate School of Medicine) will organize Master's degree courses and doctoral studies under the collective roof of a "TUM Graduate School“ and develop them on the basis of joint standards, thus transcending traditional departmental limitations in favour of interdisciplinary academic content. Over the middle term, there will be a juxtaposition of the "TUM Graduate School“ and the "TUM Undergraduate School“; the latter will determine the common, university-wide standards for the basic studies and incorporate them in an up-to-date system of quality management. – See http://www.igsse.de for further details.

Kontakt: presse@tum.de

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