University of Bayreuth, Press release no. 161/2023, 22 November 2023
Transformation and future topics at the 48th anniversary of the University of Bayreuth
Friends and supporters of the University of Bayreuth celebrated the Academic Year together with the university family. The Dies Academicus not only focussed on the past year, but also on the future.
"We are living in times of the greatest possible transformation," said the Bavarian Minister of State for Science and the Arts, Markus Blume, in his welcoming address at the University of Bayreuth's Annual Academic Celebration. This is why universities in particular are needed to solve the challenges of our time. "We rely on clear values and the power of science."
In his speech, University President Prof Dr Stefan Leible demonstrated the power of science at the University of Bayreuth: Third-party funding raised has increased once again. In 2022, more than 67 million euros were generated for research. In addition, 52 new professorships were established at UBT through the Hightech Agenda Bayern. The total number of professors has risen to 280.
"With the UBT Future Energy Lab Wunsiedel GmbH, the Upper Franconia Medical Campus and the Bayreuth Lab for Digital Sciences, we are taking big steps into the future as a university," says Leible. "Research for a better future is an essential task of the university."
Prof Dr Thomas Scheibel, Vice President for Research and Junior Academics, was also able to look back on a successful year: a new Collaborative Research Centre (CRC 1585 "MultiTrans: Structured functional materials for multiple transport in nanoscale confinements") was approved and the CRC 1357 "Microplastics" was extended.
In addition, the University of Bayreuth has established a new International Graduate School for Semiconductor Research with Monash University in Australia and the University of Melbourne and has pushed for a sister state agreement between the Free State of Bavaria and the Australian state of Queensland. Another important point for the Vice President International Affairs, Prof Dr Nina Nestler, is the topic of a "cosmopolitan campus".
This year's keynote speaker was Barbara Frenkel, Member of the Executive Board at Porsche AG, who spoke on the topics of transformation and the future. "Future and change in the German automotive industry: the road to electric transformation" was the title of her presentation.
"But when you talk about transformation, you must never forget one thing: People. We must always take them with us on the journey of change. New demands on us as employers, new working time models, workspaces and team compositions. Diversity must never be neglected, as this is the only way we can remain innovative," she said and also emphasised that although mixed teams are sometimes more strenuous, the solutions that result from them are more innovative. "It is precisely these kinds of approaches that are needed to shape such a far-reaching transformation as in the automotive industry." In her presentation, Frenkel also addressed the topic of sustainability. "Sustainability should be anchored in the strategy as an essential pillar," she said, thereby also touching on a point that the University of Bayreuth lives by.
In her review, University Chancellor Dr Nicole Kaiser also emphasised the transformation of the University of Bayreuth with regard to sustainability. As examples, she cited the newly installed photovoltaic system on the TAO building, the conversion to LEDs and the installation of new electric charging stations on campus.
The Vice President for Digitalisation, Innovation and Sustainability, Prof. Dr Susanne Tittlbach, also added that the transformation to a sustainable university is continuing to progress. She cited the example of the university's transformation lab for the promotion of sustainable mobility, in which ideas and measures for sustainable mobility are being developed with the city and region of Bayreuth through a participatory process.
Further developments were also the topic of Prof Dr Martin Huber, Vice President for Teaching and Students. Among other things, he addressed digitally supported teaching and artificial intelligence in teaching and its impact on examination formats.
Every Dies Academicus always includes special honours. This year, Georg Riesner was honoured with the University Medal. He has supported and played a key role in shaping various associations, foundations and committees at the university for many years.
"Georg Riesner has not only supported the University Association as treasurer for many years, he is also a founding member of the Friends of the Ecological Botanical Garden of the University of Bayreuth and was treasurer there for more than 20 years," says Prof Dr Stefan Leible, explaining the reasons for awarding the University Medal to Riesner. "He was also heavily involved in the recently established University Foundation and can be cited as one of its founding fathers. The University of Bayreuth owes him a great debt of gratitude."