The purpose of our institutional strategy "Model Konstanz", is to enhance our profile as a leading centre for top-level research. A "Culture of Creativity" is the overall motto in regards to our catalogue of goals for our core areas of focus: promotion of top-level research and young researchers; framework conditions for top-level research such as "Institutional Creativity", which includes equal opportunity and family-friendly practices and engaging in dialogue with the public. Two of these objectives are equally important and complementary: To profile innovative research areas and to promote creative and high-performing researchers.
By placing very well in many rankings and receiving significant external funding, the University of Konstanz, founded as a reform university, has been able to demonstrate its exceptional quality and excellence in research and teaching. The main focus of our institutional strategy is to promote conditions that support top-level research, which in turn will advance the university’s "culture of creativity". It deals with fundamentally strengthening the university's research fields and the required instruments for this process. The clusters of excellence and the graduate schools, both supported by the third funding line of the Excellence Initiative, complement each other through a conceptual link, with the goal of developing the entire university into a European centre for world-class researchers. The flexible and science-promoting structures, as well as the creative, partnership-fostering spirit lived by all university members create the basis for this process. The long-term planning for the "Model Konstanz" as a culture of creativity has shown that working conditions must be adapted to fit individual needs. This is essential for fostering new ideas in top-level research.
All services and actions resulting from the institutional strategy are embedded in the context of the university's overall strategy - just like the Cluster of Excellence "Cultural Foundations of Integration" and the Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology from the first phase of the Excellence Initiative. With this overall strategy, the University of Konstanz succeeded in expanding its research profile and strengthening its leading position as a research-intensive university both nationally and internationally.
The University of Konstanz has connected the following components under the guiding principle of "Model Konstanz - Towards a Culture of Creativity” in order to form a trend-setting structural concept:
1. Research initiatives, infrastructural and networking platforms
Research initiatives serve to initiate externally funded collaborative research projects. Research Initiatives are established for a term of two years to allow researchers to work together across the borders of their respective subjects and within the scope of a cross-disciplinary and scientifically excellent research programme. At the same time, they expand the University‘s research profile by opening up new research fields.
Technical and structural requirements will initiate multidisciplinary research projects via infrastructural platforms. The resultant technology centres will support new collaborative research projects and are available to all researchers. The close integration and use of infrastructural platforms, available also for teaching purposes, has facilitated the expansion of research-oriented teaching at the university.
Networking Platforms serve to intensify the scientific exchange with external partners aimed at producing joint publications and projects. The networks promote a dialogue by, for example, financing workshops and research trips.
Transfer platforms support application-oriented research projects run by one or more researchers in cooperation with commercial partners, public institutions or associations. In return, the University of Konstanz receives a share of the patents.
2. Creative space
The “Creative Space” programme should provide excellent researchers the opportunity to advance their research projects by releasing them from their independent academic self-administration duties and reducing their teaching workload. Providing creative space is an efficient way to increase the research intensity, to pursue new research areas, and to develop larger collaborative research projects.
The University of Konstanz compensates for the reduction of the teaching workload by hiring qualified international substitutes or tandem partners in order to provide additional courses - especially courses taught in English.
The Zukunftskolleg is a unique institution in Germany. It represents a core component in the university’s strategy to promote young academics.
It offers outstanding young researchers of all disciplines a creative and stimulating environment for research. It brings young and experienced researchers together in an interdisciplinary, international and cross-generational community and so creates a strong network of scientific excellence and cross-disciplinary discussion. At the same time, it provides them with the required institutional and scientific infrastructure.
The Zukunftskolleg awards scholarships to post-doctoral young researchers who have already made contributions to their field of study and whose projects have extraordinary potential. With its concept, the Zukunftskolleg has already established itself as a new and complementary scientific career path, which will provide its fellows perspectives at the best international research and teaching institutions. This is how it has had a capacity-building impact on the university.
You can find additional information on the website of the Zukunftskolleg.
4. Junior professors, young researcher groups, Young Scholar Fund
The University of Konstanz offers its young researchers funding measures and support, which take into account the different needs and the wide variety of career paths. The Konstanz “Code of Practice for Academics between Doctoral Studies and Professorship” defines the formal status and rights of young academics in the post-doctoral phase and commits the university to observing the standards in relation to transparency of evaluation criteria, advice and mentoring services, equal opportunity, promoting families, staff and student representation, funding structures and visibility.
The measures aimed at promoting young researchers at the University of Konstanz are characterised in particular by the close networking of the various models. The University of Konstanz was one of the first universities in Germany to establish junior professorships, which are available with tenure-track options.
To facilitate the transition between the position as a young researcher and the first offer of a professorship, the university has created transitional positions.
Furthermore, the University of Konstanz started the Young Scholar Fund in order to support young researchers in developing their own research projects.
The University of Konstanz intends to increase its international reputation and its attractivity for excellent academics and researchers. Outstanding research conditions at the university as well as constructive competition and enhanced cooperation with the world's best universities and research institutions should help realise these goals. This ambitious plan will require expanding our international contacts and intensifying our international presence. To support these plans, an “International Advisory Board” comprised of international members has been installed.
At the same time, our International Office's fields of activity, such as partnerships, exchange programmes and student exchanges, have been broadened. Furthermore, its cooperation with the academic departments will be intensified. The internationalisation strategy of the University of Konstanz is to be instituted on all levels. We have successfully expanded the international network of partner universities.
We are creating a network of research-strong universities with the “Global Alliance”, where the members are coordinating their research priorities with each other. These collaborations will address and include joint research projects, joint applications for international research funds, joint doctoral candidate training, compatible study programmes and mutually facilitated student exchanges, as well as cooperation between the universities’ service facilities.
In order to intensify the internationalization strategy, the university has created a Rectorate for International Affairs. Additionally, the amount of double degree programmes is steadily increasing and we support the international mobility of our students through the study abroad campaign.
6. Support services
Our central support services lay the foundation for the research-oriented working environment that makes it possible for researchers to focus on their research and teaching. At the same time, the service measures support the career development of our academics and researchers.
The establishment of the Academic Staff Development service unit has considerably enhanced our staff development and career support services.
The Research Support office provides support and concrete assistance to researchers in preparing applications for both external funding and university funding.
Our Communications, Information, Media Centre (KIM) is the central service unit that combines the IT services with the library services in the areas of information supply and transfer, as well as the use of media in teaching and research.
7. Quality Management (QM)
The Quality Management office is responsible for planning, implementing, evaluating and supervising processes as well as the further development of projects. The overall aim is to improve both university management and the quality of university services through the planning and monitoring of the aforementioned processes. As part of the evaluations, analyses of strengths and weaknesses are carried out and then, based on the results, the necessary change processes are initiated.
8. Equal opportunity and family affairs
One of the most important goals of the institutional strategy to promote top-level research is to ensure that equal opportunity and family-friendliness, with an overall focus on promoting diversity, are consistently included in all decision-making processes at all levels of the university. With our Genderkodex the university has been certified as a family-friendly university. We have committed ourselves to create structures that can easily integrate academic and research careers with family life.
In the statement by the German Research Foundation (DFG) on the realisation of "research-oriented equal opportunity standards", the innovative measures of the University of Konstanz have reached the highest category, equal to optimal implementation (Level 4). The DFB particularly emphasized the comprehensive strategy, university management's explicit commitment to the strategy, the clearly delegated responsibilities as well as the quantifiable successes at the university.
You can find further information on the Equal Opportunity and Family Affairs website.
9. Marketing, fundraising, science communications
The University of Konstanz has bundled its "fundraising” efforts along with its national and international marketing activities and its science communications into the new staff unit “Communications and Marketing” in order to increase operational effectiveness. A profile-building marketing and communications strategy integrates the areas of public and media relations, alumni relations, event and conference management, the Konstanzer Wissenschaftsforum (Konstanz Science Forum), as well as all marketing activities, internal and international communication, internet, foundation and fundraising activities. In the competition to secure funding for research, the University of Konstanz combines scientific accomplishments and successes with the feedback from public and stakeholder groups. An important aspect is the high level of trust that the public as well as the internal and external target audiences have in the University of Konstanz and its achievements.
As a result of the new fundraising strategies, the university has been able to receive significant funding for various projects. This includes, among other things, millions of euros in support for Konstanz-based photovoltaic research, the acquisition of three million euros for the "Hector-Personalfonds der Universität Konstanz", with funding commitments for appointment and tenure negotiations, salary incentives for exceptional performance, and the establishment of tenure-track positions. Other projects include the recently established "Konstanz Scholarship Fund", which directly supports students through sponsorships and individual donations.
During the first phase of the Excellence Initiative, the University of Konstanz established Event and Conference Management to provide services that range from organisational support to the full organisation of events. Through its services, university events are carried out in a professional manner and valuable research staff resources are conserved.
The Alumni Office optimises alumni relations at the University of Konstanz. It aims to integrate new and current members through innovative measures, with a particular focus on current students ("bonding from the 1st semester onwards"). Alumni clubs have been established in China, Poland, and Romania, with more being prepared.
The Konstanz Science Forum is a regional and national dialogue partner in regards to important questions about science, research and university education. It provides a platform for knowledge transfer and science communications at the interface of politics, economics and society. In meetings, workshops and lectures, it fosters debates about important future topics for science and research. Even within the university, the Konstanz Science Forum has become a sought after conversation partner on the topics of university development and university identity.