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uni'alumni 2013_ENG

The University of Freiburg was successful in many areas in the past year, but a single nega- tive event seems to overshadow all of the positive developments: the failure of the university’s Institu- tional Strategy in the second round of the Excel- lence Initiative. In an interview with Nicolas Scherger, Rector Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans-Jochen Schiewer takes stock of the situation and explains how he wants to position the university in the future. uni’alumni: Rector Schiewer, what develop- ments at the University of Freiburg in the year 2012 are you particularly pleased with: Hans-Jochen Schiewer: As far as research is con- cerned, I would like to emphasize our success in the first and second lines of funding in the Excellence Initiative. The renewal proposals submitted by the Spemann Graduate School of Biology and Medicine and the research cluster BIOSS Centre for Biologi- cal Signalling Studies were approved, and we were the only university in Baden-Württemberg to receive funding for a new cluster, BrainLinks-BrainTools. In the area of teaching, we established the University College Freiburg (UCF) with the first model for orga- nizing interdisciplinary instruction at a German university – most notably in the new English-taught bachelor’s program Liberal Arts and Sciences. What do the results of the Excellence Initiative mean for Freiburg? Taken as a whole, they confirm our strength in research, but it is a bitter disappointment that we did not meet with success in the third line of fund- ing with our Institutional Strategy. We have to ask ourselves which decisions we made were wrong and how it can be that a measure we believe to have implemented in exemplary fashion like the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS) will not continue to receive funding. Many national and international organizations and personalities attest that the research institute FRIAS, the centerpiece of our proposal, conducts very successful work. Freiburg is placed among the 100 best universities in the world for the first time ever in the current Academic Ranking of World Universities, better known as the Shanghai Ranking. Our revenue from third-party funding, and thus our research output, has increased from year to year. In spite of all this, however, the Institutional Strategy was turned down, and now we need to find new financing mod- els for FRIAS. We have to live with these contradic- tions – and draw the logical conclusions from our experiences. How would you describe the general mood at the university? The prevailing mood is clearly positive. All status groups are interested in developing an overall strat- egy for the university’s future. The basis of this strat- egy will be the structural and developmental plan for the years 2013 to 2018, which we are developing in close cooperation with the faculties. The students have been galvanized into action through the reintro- duction of a legally constituted student government. Our discussions with university employees, particu- larly with the staff council, have also been productive. We want to build up an exemplary corporate culture and make the university into the most attractive – and not just the largest – employer in the region. “The Prevailing Mood is Clearly Positive” Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer wants to develop an overall strategy for the university’s future Rector Hans-Jochen Schiewer sees alumni as playing an impor- tant role as ambassa- dors of the University of Freiburg. INTERVIEW Cover Story uni'alumni 20134