Our overall concept in the Excellence Strategy builds on the University of Konstanz’s previous strategy, systematically enhancing its Culture of Creativity. It promotes our university members’ creative potential at all levels by providing optimised framework conditions, by encouraging close communication and by fostering a strong sense of togetherness. This is how we promote top-level research and teaching, further develop our academic support services and intensify our interaction with society, industry and politics.
Our strategy “University of Konstanz – creative.together” revolves around three flagship projects as well as several additional strategic fields of action.
1. The “Zukunftskolleg”
The Zukunftskolleg has been a role model for the successful promotion of early career researchers and a central element of our university since its foundation. As an Institute for Advanced Study, it encourages research collaboration across departmental and national boundaries as well as career stages and status groups. This is one of the reasons why the Zukunftskolleg, which addresses researchers in-between their doctorate and first professorship, is a central component of our strategy “University of Konstanz – creative.together” that we intend to enhance with funding from the Excellence Strategy. To that end, we plan to establish a new Synergy Fellowship Programme, which provides two researchers from different academic disciplines the funding to carry out a joint research project. As part of the Zukunftskolleg Professorship, ERC Starting Grant holders are awarded a five-year Fellowship alongside a fixed-term professorship: For the duration of their Fellowship, these Fellows are permitted to bear the title of professor and further benefit from an additional sixth year financed by the university. In addition, the Zukunftskolleg intends to offer a new Fellowship specifically addressing outstanding early career researchers from Africa, Asia and Latin America, inviting them to spend up to six months in Konstanz for research purposes.
2. E-science strategy
Our comprehensive e-science strategy has been designed to further develop the University of Konstanz’s modern and efficient working and learning environments in the areas of research, teaching and governance. It ensures outstanding data and information structures as well as optimised workflows across all levels. It encompasses enhanced research data management and open science services, the further development of digital teaching and learning environments as well a service-oriented Business Intelligence Competence Centre (BICC) to support the university’s strategic management. The new Advanced Data and Information Literacy Track promotes data and information literacy among students from all academic disciplines. This track will teach key competencies in data analysis and also address relevant ethical, legal, social and theoretical aspects of using data. As a practice-oriented teaching format, it will qualify students for using data in both academic and societal contexts.
3. Forum Konstanz
The Forum Konstanz is the physical embodiment of our overall strategy “University of Konstanz – creative.together”, which promotes top-level research and teaching by encouraging interdisciplinary collaboration, by creating room for creative thinking and by providing optimised framework conditions. It connects people and ideas and creates interfaces such as those between disciplines, between research and teaching, and between university and society. Situated on 10,000 square metres, the Forum is the new centrepiece of our campus and a centre for research and society, providing space for both interdisciplinary research and core facilities while providing opportunities for transfer activities as per the university’s comprehensive transfer strategy (Communication, Advice, Application): it will provide space for events and exhibitions as well as additional science communication formats, advice and support for founders via the University of Konstanz Innovation Centre, a Fabrication Laboratory (Fab Lab) as well as space for spin-off projects.
Additional strategic fields of action
1. Joint research and research infrastructure
The University of Konstanz promotes top-level joint research, for instance by further developing its successful Research Initiatives, “Freedoms for Creativity” and Network Platforms programmes. It optimises its research infrastructure in terms of shared usage.
2. Promotion of early career researchers
In addition to the Zukunftskolleg, the University of Konstanz intends to further enhance its support structures for early career researchers. Among other things, it will pool various funding programmes for postdoctoral researchers in the Young Scholar Fund, create a new fund specifically for doctoral researchers, expand the service portfolio of the Academic Staff Development (ASD) unit and create new advisory services for careers outside academia. An Ethics Advisor will provide expert consultations on research ethics.
3. Research-oriented teaching
Research-oriented teaching will be enhanced considerably in the context of the new e-science strategy project. In addition, the university will create new funding programmes for transfer-oriented teaching and to promote student collaboration with researchers and external partners. A new Teaching Innovation Fund will enable university teachers to develop, test and implement innovative teaching formats.
Building on the knowledge and technology transfer measures planned in connection with the new Forum Konstanz, additional new transfer measures will focus on our three fields of action: communication, advice and application. This includes further developing our science communication, for instance by installing science writers and providing an editorial service for open access publications, by enhancing the Konstanz Science Forum with an even more international perspective and a new director in residence, and by improving our strategic relationship management activities. Advisory services in the area of transfer will be pooled in a new service team for research and teaching-related transfer projects and a new entrepreneurship mentoring programme will be established. To promote practice-oriented transfer projects, our successful Transfer Platforms programme will be developed further.
5. Internationalization, equal opportunity and diversity
The University of Konstanz distinguishes itself by an international and welcoming working climate that promotes equal opportunity and diversity. As part of our concept “University of Konstanz – creative.together”, we will expand our international networks and the existing structures for internationalization, equal opportunity and diversity. This includes the launch of a new Outgoing Centre to provide advice and support on all non-academic aspects of a stay abroad, the development of new virtual mobility and blended learning services in digital teaching as well as intercultural seminars. The University of Konstanz will also extend its structures for the promotion of female researchers and formalise its institutional commitment to diversity by adopting a Code of Practice on Diversity.
To promote overall institutional development, the University of Konstanz will strengthen its dynamic governance structures, for instance in the area of strategic project management. By establishing a new “Freedoms for Governance” programme, university members will be encouraged to develop, test and implement creative ideas that promote our university’s overall progress as an institution of higher education.