On Friday, 13 January 2023, Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann and Minister of Science Petra Olschowski visited the University of Konstanz. During the visit, they learned about the university's institutional priorities, its implementation of projects funded in the context of the German Excellence Strategy, and the research collaboration of the Cluster of Excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" with the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. The guests from Stuttgart also met with students.
The programme additionally included a discussion with members of the Rectorate, a presentation of the university's two clusters of excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" and "The Politics of Inequality" as well as its excellence project "Forum Konstanz".
Katharina Holzinger, rector of the University of Konstanz, showed the guests around the university campus: "We are very happy to welcome our visitors to Konstanz, and we took this opportunity to show how the university has used its success in the excellence competitions and what steps are next for us. In addition to this, it was important to all of us that we hear from our students as well."
Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann emphasizes: "Our best and brightest work in Baden-Württemberg's universities and research institutions. This is where students are prepared for their future careers and where the next generation of researchers is trained. This is why I was particularly pleased today to be able to speak with researchers and students from the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior. By providing completely new approaches, novel ideas and disruptive innovations, science and research work to solve the enormous challenges we currently face and to shape our future positively."
Minister of Science Petra Olschowski says: "We were all impressed to see how the University of Konstanz truly lives by its Excellence Strategy motto 'creative.together': The university's interdisciplinary way of working together lays the foundation for top-level research – in the field of modern behavioural biology just as in inequality research. At the same time, the University of Konstanz's excellence as well as its special atmosphere and location draw young people here from all over the world. The higher education landscape in Baden-Württemberg is lucky to have the University of Konstanz."
Presentation of University of Konstanz institutions supported by the German Excellence Strategy
In one discussion, the rector detailed the university's profile, its research priorities and how it implements Excellence Strategy measures, such as its key project "Forum Konstanz". The Forum has been designed as an open house for research and society. It will be a place where researchers, students and local residents can connect and exchange ideas. Even before the building is completely constructed, the Forum Konstanz already plays a key role in various projects and facilities at the University of Konstanz, and it is the visible expression of the university's institutional strategy.
After a presentation of the Cluster of Excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" where researchers from the University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior collaborate, the visitors took a tour of the Centre for Visual Computing of Collectives (VCC). The centrepiece of the tour was the Imaging Hangar, a special laboratory where, in the future, researchers will observe swarms of insects, birds or robots embedded in reactive 3D environments. In the building's Data Theatre, the movements of each individual in such swarms can be visualized and analyzed on a ultra-high-resolution large-screen LED wall.
"In the Imaging Hangar, the University of Konstanz's largest laboratory, we can now use the latest technology to study collective behaviour on a large scale. It is fascinating to see the enthusiasm with which the researchers observe swarms on previously impossible scales under controlled conditions," says Malte Drescher, Vice Rector for Research at the University of Konstanz.
There was also a presentation of the Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality". Researchers in this interdisciplinary project examine the political causes and effects of social inequality. The fields they represent include politics, sociology, economics, linguistics, psychology and empirical educational research. Their work focuses on the cycle consisting of the perception of unequally distributed resources, the political mobilization as a result of perceived inequality, political measures responding to these perceptions and the resulting impact on the distribution of resources.
- Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann and Minister of Science Petra Olschowski visit the University of Konstanz.
- Talks with members of the Rectorate and speakers of the university's two clusters of excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" and "The Politics of Inequality".
- Presentation of the collaboration between the Cluster of Excellence "Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour" and the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior.
- Discussion with students.