More collaboration, more transfer of knowledge

More collaboration and more transfer of knowledge to business and society: These are two central recommendations for the further development of Thuringia's higher education landscape that a working group commissioned by the Ministry of Science and the Thuringian University Presidents' Conference (TLPK) has developed over the past year and a half. The University of Erfurt was also involved. The results of the work can be found in the paper "Hochschulentwicklung in Thüringen 2030+" (Higher Education Development in Thuringia 2030+), which was now discussed at the State Science Conference.

The recommendations are to be incorporated into the state's further higher education development planning, the Framework Agreement VI (Rahmenvereinbarung VI) and the individual structural and development plans of the individual universities. In the coming months, in-depth information meetings are planned at all university locations. First, however, the paper will be forwarded to the Science Committee of the Thuringian State Parliament.

The recommendation paper of the "Higher Education Development 2030+" working group is divided into five areas: "Higher Education Institutions in Society", "Knowledge Acquisition and Transfer", "Higher Education", "Higher Education Organisation" and "Financing and Building Infrastructure". Among the proposals contained therein are:

  • a stronger profiling of the individual colleges and universities in order to strengthen their competences and further improve their visibility nationally and internationally;
  • closer cooperation in areas such as administration, IT services, library and archives;
  • an expansion of academic continuing education courses to better benefit from the demand for in-service course offerings and the trend towards lifelong learning in the future;
  • a greater role for universities as "regional innovation engines" by strengthening knowledge transfer to the economy and society and
  • new financing models and simplified procedures in university construction.

In the area of teaching, the universities would have to adapt to a growing heterogeneity of backgrounds and living situations of the student body. This involves designing course offerings flexibly, incorporating innovative topics and trends (such as digitalisation and sustainability) into the curricula, introducing new digital teaching formats and improving individual student support – for example, through approaches such as academic mentoring.

The WG "Higher Education Development in Thuringia 2030+" also proposes a joint, state-wide continuing education programme for higher education didactics. Furthermore, special achievements in knowledge transfer should be recognised with a "Thuringian Teaching Award". And finally, unique selling points of Thuringia's higher education landscape, such as the excellent supervision ratios, also in a national comparison, and the strong focus on the engineering sciences, should be used even better in future to raise the profile of Thuringia as a higher education location overall.

The working group "Higher Education Development 2030+"

... was set up by the Ministry of Science and the Thuringian University Presidents' Conference in mid-2021. It had a total of 21 members, including the presidents of Thuringia's higher education institutions, experts from Germany's higher education landscape and members of the main staff council and the Conference of Thuringian Student Bodies. The aim of the working group was to critically reflect on the state's higher education institutions and the perspectives of the state's higher education system until 2030. The recommendations of the working group are to be incorporated into future higher education policy.