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The Entrepreneurial University

Students are welcomed in the Bavarian way.Credit: Andreas Heddergott/ TUM

There has never been a better time for talented people with an entrepreneurial spirit to think about how the Technical University of Munich (TUM) might give wings to their careers. TUM has put a lot of thought into career issues andtranslated the best ideas into action, with more to come. Appreciation for all members of the TUM community — expressed, for example, through a reinvented career system, dual-career services, and measures to tap the wisdom and networks of both emeriti and alumni — has been critical to the university’s striking success in recent years and is at the heart of our plans for the future.

TUM has made strong and steady improvement in its competitive position in recent years, confirmed by indicators such as international rankings, the number and impact of research collaborations, science prizes, third-party funding, and the attractiveness of our graduates to employers — 6th worldwide in the 2018 Global University Employability Ranking. Now firmly established as one of the top universities in Germany and one of Europe’s leading technical universities, TUM is aiming higher — to step up to the top league of elite universities worldwide.

TUM is the only technical university to have consistently won recognition as an Excellence University since the very start of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments in 2006. To date this endorsement of TUM’s strategy has provided around €165 million of direct investment that keeps the university fit for the future. Cross-linking disciplines and promoting talent are critical to this forward-looking strategy.

Reaching beyond boundaries

Launching digital agricultureCredit: Uli Benz/ TUM

TUM has a portfolio of disciplines that is unique in Germany and rare worldwide. Not only do we focus on mathematical, natural and life sciences, engineering, medicine, and management, but we now integrate social and political sciences as well. However, we vigorously promote research and teaching across disciplinary boundaries. We also excel at bridging distances between innovative research and societal challenges, often directly through entrepreneurial start-ups founded by members of TUM.

Our International Graduate School of Science and Engineering, now part of the TUM Graduate School, blazes new trails in interdisciplinary, international education. TUM is active in a number of international alliances and partnerships and has liaison offices in Brussels, Beijing, Cairo, Mumbai, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, and Singapore. Another transformative approach that has gained traction over the past 15 years exploits the interdisciplinary dynamism of integrative research centers such as the TUM Institute for Advanced Study and our corporate research centers, including the Munich School of Robotics andMachine Intelligence.

Promoting people

We also invest in building up our people. We achieved rapid success and saw far-ranging impact when we “jump-started” Germany’s first true tenure track — the core element of a comprehensive recruitment and career system. Since 2012, we have appointed 100 new tenure track professors in a framework where excellence and performance are transparently defined, measured, and rewarded. This new career system is helping TUM’s entire research portfolio stay at the cutting edge, while also shaping a faculty profile that is younger, more international, and more diverse.

Growing ultra-pure semiconductor crystals.Credit: Wolfgang Filser/ TUM

The TUM Faculty Tenure Track even inspired a nationwideinitiative to create 1,000 tenure track positions. For Germany, this was revolutionary. The traditional career system made it hard for even the most talented young scientists and scholars to find their first stable footing, or to build distinguished careers without leaving their home universities or moving to another country. That is changing now, largely because TUM took the risk, made the commitment, and saw it through.

The university’s agenda for the next 15 years covers many strategic areas, but building up people remains a central priority. For instance, one new initiative will improve the working life and career prospects of the so-called Mittelbau, or mid-level academic staff. Another will modernize the administrative apparatus and open new opportunities for administrative professionals.

Last year TUM celebrated its 150th anniversary. Among the many achievements since its founding by the visionary King Ludwig II, TUM is credited with helping to transform Bavaria from a relatively poor agrarian land to a global powerhouse in industry, engineering and science.

During the past two decades, TUM has experienced tremendous growth. We have coped with increasing student numbers, expanded our staff, and built new research infrastructures, campuses and departments — the latest being Aerospace & Geodesy. During this time, TUM has also grown in reputation and influence. Expansion and excellence don’t always go hand in hand, but they have in this case. That is due to the consistent implementation of bold reform measures embraced and pursued by the entire university community. Above all, TUM has invested in people: embracing the diversity of talents and creating conditions that encourage all to unfold their full potential.

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