University of Bayreuth, Press Release No. 168/2022, dated 13.10.2022
Personal, innovative and dynamic: The University of Bayreuth for the winter semester 2022/23
The clear commitment to face-to-face teaching, strong dynamics in research and intensive internationalisation, but also energy policy challenges, characterise the start of the winter semester 2022/23 at the University of Bayreuth. Particularly positive: The number of foreign students is slightly above the level of 2019, before the pandemic caused a slump.
The University of Bayreuth (UBT) will start the winter semester 2022/2023 with around 13,000 students, 14 percent of them from abroad. "We are pleased that our international initiatives and cooperations are bearing fruit and that we can welcome a continuously growing number of foreign students here despite the difficult environment," said University President Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible when presenting the current figures and plans for the coming winter semester. According to current projections - the final figures will not be known until the beginning of December - a total of around 2,500 new students are coming to the University of Bayreuth, almost 1,900 of them are first-semester students, i.e. enrolled at a university for the first time, and around 600 are transferring to UBT from another university. "The student numbers are stable, so we can devote ourselves intensively to further internationalisation and sharpening our research profile," Leible reports.
The activities that unfolded on campus in the spring of 2022 after Russia's attack on Ukraine also contribute to both the internationality and research strength of the UBT: student aid campaigns, bilateral contacts between Bayreuth and Ukrainian scientists, and scholarships such as the "Bayreuth Bridge for Science", a UBT-owned support programme for scientists who have fled Ukraine, supported by the Rainer Markgraf Foundation and the Adalbert Raps Foundation. "What the university family has achieved is exemplary," Leible summarised.
"The international situation has not eased in recent years; on the contrary. Crisis hotspots are also being felt by us: The measures that became necessary due to the war in Ukraine, but also dealing with China or the savings at the DAAD," reported Prof. Dr. Nina Nestler, UBT's new Vice President for Internationalisation, Equal Opportunities and Diversity. "Nevertheless, or rather precisely because of this, we remain a cosmopolitan campus and cultivate our European and global networks. At the same time, prudence and foresight are the order of the day here," Nestler said. She was able to report on a continuous resurgence of mobility in international exchange, as well as the active role of the UBT in international university networks and the expansion of further English-language, international programmes on campus. UBT maintains direct links to the regions through the Gateway Offices in Melbourne, Shanghai and Bordeaux, as well as the African Cluster Centres in Lagos (Nigeria), Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), Eldoret (Kenya) and Makhanda (South Africa).
It is not only the numerous international contacts that contribute to sharpening the research profile of the University of Bayreuth. The 20 or so new professors appointed in the past two semesters, some of them from the High Tech Agenda, also have a considerable impact on the research strength of the UBT, especially in the fields of artificial intelligence, sustainability, battery technology and entrepreneurship. Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel, the new Vice President for Research and Young Scientists, presented particularly successful regional and international research projects: from the "Future Energy Lab" in Wunsiedel, which UBT is supporting scientifically, to the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) Microplastics, whose scientists are internationally sought-after experts, to the SFB Biofabrication, which is advancing the production of functional human tissue models that are invaluable for tissue healing, but also for pharmaceutical and cancer research.
Also resulting from these highly specialised research activities is UBT's appeal to students, who "will now experience the first 'post-Corona semester'", as Prof. Dr. Martin Huber, Vice President for Teaching and Students, described. He announced, "They will experience a largely restriction-free university life." This decision by the university management will be upheld despite the current energy crisis. After the hardships that almost four Corona semesters brought for students, "there is no alternative to face-to-face teaching. We see it as our social responsibility to allow interaction and encounters on campus to be as unrestricted as possible."
To this end, UBT has set up a task force that continuously reviews energy-saving measures and takes new ones. University Chancellor Dr Nicole Kaiser made it clear in this regard: "Of course we are making our contribution to savings, we also have a social responsibility here. And the expected additional costs of up to 25 per cent also demand this." Among other things, UBT has set the existing ventilation systems to 19 degrees Celsius, adjusted the outdoor lighting and, where possible, the corridor lighting has been switched to timed operation. "However, safety and study conditions are always a priority!" The chancellor also presented the current status of construction measures on campus: the Africa Research Centre and the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation have cleared further planning hurdles in 2022 and will be started in 2023 and 2024 respectively. Kaiser emphasised: "We are grateful that the Free State is investing in modern buildings that will be up to date in terms of energy, especially in these times."