How can the engineering science faculties of German universities meet the increasing demand for engineers in Germany, the world champion in exports? How must successful faculties of the future be structured in the face of increasing internationalisation and interdisciplinarity? And, what structures are particularly promising in this regard?
These questions were the focus of the workshop: “New Models for Governing Tomorrow’s Faculties of Engineering: Throwing Out the Baby with the Bath Water or Seizing New Opportunities”, recently held by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). Some 40 high-ranking representatives of engineering science faculties who had been invited by DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner travelled to the Head Office of Europe's largest research funding organisation in Bonn. In addition, representatives of the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) participated in the workshop.
“Well-structured faculties are vital to us. They are an important setting for excellent research. For this reason, we would like to examine best practice examples of governance structures in engineering-science faculties from an international perspective and discuss them as they apply to the German university and research system,” said DFG President Kleiner as he outlined the primary focus of the workshop. Two such best practice concepts were presented in Bonn by their initiators. First, David Lynch, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, described how he successfully realigned his faculty. Through an active professorship appointment and recruiting policy, he was not only able to considerably lower the average age of the faculty, but above all noticeably increase the interdisciplinarity and quality of the research work. Lynch was also very successful in his efforts in encouraging high school students to consider pursuing a degree in engineering. A thriving endowment culture rounds out the success model from Alberta, which also impressed Professor Frieder Meyer-Krahmer; BMBF State Secretary; Professor Kleiner; DFG President; and Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, DFG Vice President, during visits to Canada in the fall of 2007. This is also where the seed for the event in Bonn was planted, at which Meyer-Krahmer again emphasised the importance of Canada as an outstanding location for research and as an important cooperation partner for German research during the opening remarks.
As a best practice example from Germany, Detlef Löhe, Vice President for Research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), presented his institution’s concept at the workshop in Bonn. Essentially, this organisation represents the merger of the University of Karlsruhe with the Karlsruhe Research Centre – a model that is unique in the German scientific landscape. The model also proved to be convincing in the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments for strengthening top-level research at universities and was awarded the coveted excellence status. Löhe's presentation illustrated the role that faculties will play in the future and what effects they will have on management structure and on researchers.
Also participating in the ensuing podium discussion was Manfred Nagl, chaiman of 4ING. The focus was on the best-possible management structures, particularly in the area of tension between the bottom-up and top-down approaches with respect to researchers. The questions of how engineers make the transition from industry back to universities and how more high school graduates, particularly females, can be encouraged to study the engineering sciences were also discussed.
As the presentations and discussion showed, the best practice examples open various options to engineering-science faculties in Germany. These were summarised in closing by DFG Vice President Scholz-Reiter in question form: Should the engineering sciences be based on more flexible, networked structures, such as those recently established by the Excellence Initiative in the universities? Or is success more likely to be found by strengthening the deanship structure and a professionalisation of the dean? Is a dean who is modelled on top-down acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) more likely to be successful than the traditional model of the primus inter pares who represents the interests of the researchers according to the bottom-up principle? Or is the best solution a mixture of both?
How important the answers to these questions are was emphasised, last but not least, by DFG President Matthias Kleiner: “According to estimates, in five years we will be lacking 100,000 graduates, primarily in the engineering disciplines. For the faculties, this means that they will need to take innovative approaches in recruiting students and scientists and that they must make careers in science attractive.” Kleiner went on to say that, in particular, the salaries for researchers are not competitive, either internationally or compared to the market economy. The engineering faculties need to network more intensively with other scientific disciplines, particularly the natural sciences, in order to find new fields of research, said the DFG President. As Kleiner emphasised with reference to the title of the Bonn workshop, it all boils down to not throwing the baby – or in this case, Germany's excellent and world-renowned engineering education and engineering research – out with the bath water.
Further InformationFurther information on the workshop including photos can be found at:
Jutta Hoehn | alfa
Virtual Worlds: Research Trends in Mobile 3D Data Collection
30.11.2016 | Fraunhofer IPM
4th UKP-Workshop 2017 – Save the Date!
15.09.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
28.03.2017 | Life Sciences
28.03.2017 | Information Technology
28.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy