The First Year of the University of Technology Nuremberg: Founding Process – Concept and Campus Structure Taking Shape

The University of Technology Nuremberg was founded on January 1st, 2021. The founding process is still running at full speed. One year on, the first Vice President for Academic and International Affairs has complemented the founding team, and the first Department Chair has been appointed. Not only the campus, but also the teaching and research concept and the organization and administration are growing day by day.

NUREMBERG. “To start up and shape a new university completely from scratch, and to substantiate the first rough concept and fill it with structures, teachers and students is a unique set of tasks”, according to Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Jürgen Prömel, the Founding President of the University of Technology Nuremberg. “The University of Technology Nuremberg offers the chance to create something completely new and to make a contribution to the shaping of a university. So, after the first year, it is even more satisfying to be able to say: You can see the progress. Things are happening at the TU Nuremberg.”

Establishing Teaching and Research
The central objective of the University of Technology Nuremberg is refining the founding concept. The aim is to create a university with an interdisciplinary, international and digital approach. It is this interdisciplinary approach which will have an impact on teaching, studying and research. Pursuant to its international approach, most of the lectures will be held in English. The digital approach will be reflected in corresponding teaching methods, equipment and teaching/research focuses, all based on the concept of digitization. This is marked by two milestones already reached: On the one hand, the existing Executive Board originally comprising Founding President Prof. Hans Jürgen Prömel and Provost Dr. Markus Zanner was extended by the appointment of Prof. Dr. Isa Jahnke, Founding Vice President for Academic and International Affairs. Her focus is on the implementation of a structure for digital teaching and learning. On the other hand, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard will take office as Founding Chair on February 1st, 2022. He will establish the Department of Engineering and will put the focal point on the field of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics as the first focus of the University of Technology Nuremberg during the course of 2022.

Setting up the First Two Departments
Instead of faculties, the University of Technology Nuremberg comprises Departments, with the first Department of Engineering combining all engineering subjects under one roof. The second department, which will be established during the course of 2022, will be the Department of Liberal Arts & Sciences, which will bundle humanities, social and natural sciences and mathematics. It is one of the major aims of the University of Technology Nuremberg to interlink engineering sciences with other topics of society. For this reason, the new university is to offer not only engineering and technical sciences, but also humanities, natural and social sciences – and to combine them with each other from the start.
For 2022, further appointments are envisaged in order to establish these two departments, and up to 20 vacancies will be filled with scientific staff. For this purpose, guidelines for the appointment process will be set up in due course. A Tenure Track procedure for the university is also currently being compiled. Furthermore, a preliminary board will be established in 2022, as well as a graduate school and a Digital Teaching Lab.

Development of a Digitized Administration
In addition to forming the Founding Executive Board, the last year was marked by the development of a basic structure for administration. Currently, the administration comprises the units “Real Estate and Infrastructure”, “Finance and Human Resources”, “Communications”, an “Office to the Executive Board” and a “Legal Service Center”. Instead of administrative departments, the University of Technology Nuremberg features small administrative teams with flat hierarchies, following the concept of interdisciplinarity.
At the same time, the University of Technology Nuremberg is developing its overall IT strategy: The plan is to develop a digital and process-oriented administration, e.g. with the introduction of a applicant management software, an electroic document management system or an electronic file. The Executive Board will place its emphasis for the next year on the promotion of research and the transfer of technology.

First Campus Building at the End of 2023
In August 2021, only eight months following the official foundation of the university, the first ground-breaking ceremony took place on the building site on Brunecker Straße. In the presence of Bavaria’s Prime Minister Dr. Markus Söder, the Minister of Science Bernd Sibler, the lord mayor of Nuremberg Markus König, Founding President Prömel and a selected group of guests from political, academic and scientific fields, the first focus was laid on the campus. At the end of 2023, the team of the University of Technology Nuremberg will be able to move into the first university building. The first foundation stone for this building will be laid still in 2022. In the same year, plans will commence on the foundation building.
From the start, all buildings will be based on sustainability aspects. The University of Technology is intent on building a campus which is as climate-friendly as possible and which is self-sufficient on the basis of renewable energies. In terms of construction material, the focus is on the use of ecological materials such as timber elements. Also, the buildings have been designed to maximize flexibility regarding future use. Care will be taken to fulfill nature and species protection requirements and to preserve valuable green structures during planning and construction.
In October 2021, the Nuremberg City Council decided on the name of the first street leading up to the campus. It will be named after Dr. Luise Herzberg. The astrophysicist and mechanical engineer was born in Nuremberg on November 22nd, 1906. After the Nazi’s seizure of power, she was no longer allowed to work in Germany – being Jewish – which is why she emigrated to Canada.

Strengthening Networks and Cooperation
In order to strengthen the academic landscape of Nuremberg, the executive board is actively promoting close cooperations with partners, not only from the academic field, but also from the industrial and business community and politics. “An open dialogue is of utmost importance”, emphasizes Prof. Hans Jürgen Prömel. “Especially for a new foundation. We are literally a start-up on the academic landscape. An endeavour like this can only succeed if you think and act in an interdisciplinary way – with structured thinking and room for dialogue.”
This is why the founding executive board maintains close contacts with the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits and the Deutsche Museum in Nuremberg. A number of talks have also been held with Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and the Technische Hochschule Nürnberg. The FAU is supporting the new university with their IT infrastructure, while the TH Nürnberg is providing HR-related support. There are also plans for a module building for the Technische Hochschule Nürnberg on the campus of the University of Technology Nuremberg. The relevant cooperation agreement was agreed between the presidents of both universities and the real estate management company Immobilien Freistaat Bayern (IMBY) in December 2021. The building will be ready to use early in 2024. After a period of initially 15 years now covered by the agreement, the building will be transferred to the University of Technology Nuremberg.
The dialog with the citizenship of Nuremberg is a central issue for the University of Technology Nuremberg. Plans are under way for walks on the campus ground, and the university will participate in the “Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften” (Long Night of Science). In June, the first anniversary of the university’s foundation will be celebrated in an event which gives the public the opportunity to learn more on the further plans and the concept of the university.
As early as in 2021, the University of Technology Nuremberg gave everybody the chance to follow the founding history of the University of Technology Nuremberg: In October, a series of events under the heading “University taking shape“ was initiated. The opening event was held by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, former President of the Technical University Munich and Chairman of the Structural Committee of the TU Nuremberg, who provided insights in the idea behind the new university – live at the Historic City Hall of Nuremberg or, alternatively, via live stream. Initiators, idea providers and shapers of the future had the opportunity to make their contributions. The next dates have been planned: On March 7th, 2022, Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard will inform on his scientific focus. On May 10th, Ferdinand Heide, architect and drafter of the campus design will talk about the topic: “Embedded, Sustainable and Urban – the Architectural Concept of the University of Technology Nuremberg”.

Photo (University of Technology Nuremberg): (1st row, from left to right) Prof. Dr. Wolfram Burgard, Founding Chair of the Department of Engineering, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Hans Jürgen Prömel (1st row, from left to right) Prof. Dr. Isa Jahnke, Founding Vice President for Academic and International Affairs and Dr. Markus Zanner, Provost

 

Contact:
Tina Thiele, Head of Communications, +49 911 9274-1020

The University of Technology Nuremberg was founded on January 1st, 2021 and has been the first new foundation of a state-run university in Bavaria since 1978. With its consistently interdisciplinary approach, an innovative spectrum of subjects, new teaching methods and a future-oriented organizational structure, a model university will be created when it comes to teaching and research. The university is to have an international, interdisciplinary and digital approach. Upon completion, up to 6,000 students will be able to study on a campus embedded in the surrounding quarters.