You are currently viewing Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: More Autonomy for a Stronger KIT

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology: More Autonomy for a Stronger KIT

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Uncategorized

On February 20, 2023, Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, and the Baden-Württemberg Minister for Science, Research, and the Arts, Petra Olschowski, came to Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to celebrate the start of a new chapter of KIT’s development. Since the entry into force of the 2nd KIT Further Development Act on January 1, 2023, KIT has been given more autonomy than any other science institution in Germany. The amendment strengthens research-oriented teaching as well as research and transfer potentials and reduces a number of administrative limitations.

KIT is one of the biggest German science institutions. It was established on October 1, 2009 by a merger of Universität Karlsruhe and Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH. Still, a Large-scale Research Sector and a University Sector with separate rules and regulations continued to exist. These barriers are now overcome by the 2nd KIT Further Development Act. It opens a new chapter of “KIT – The Research University in the Helmholtz Association” and will leverage more synergies in research, teaching, and transfer.

Pioneer Character for Germany as Location of Science

“The full entry into force of the 2nd KIT Further Development Act marks the start of the next chapter of KIT’s further development and a milestone in German science,” said Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger. “In an extensive joint effort with the Baden-Württemberg Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts and the Executive Board of KIT, we developed new regulations that have pioneering character in Germany. This will make KIT as “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association” even more attractive for excellent researchers worldwide and will also benefit Germany as a location of science.”

Equally Important Responsibilities instead of Separate Sectors

Previous separation of KIT into two sectors is replaced by two responsibilities of equal rank: University Responsibilities and Large-scale Research Responsibilities. “KIT is a unique science institution that strengthens and enriches research and academia in Baden-Württemberg. Tomorrow’s sought-after STEM experts are presently studying at KIT. It is here, where research is conducted for our future. Research covers a wide range from the energy transition to climate and environmental protection to new types of mobility. I welcome and support the amendment of the 2nd KIT Further Development Act. It creates optimum conditions for research, teaching, and transfer – with maximum autonomy,” said State Minister Petra Olschowski.

In detail, a new staff category of University Professors of KIT, which is tailored to KIT’s needs, a uniform legal framework based on state law, and a single staff are now established by law.

Better Exploitation of Strengths in Research, Teaching, and Transfer – for the Benefit of Society

The President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka, underscored permanent support by both ministries: “The 2nd KIT Further Development Act only became reality, because we have been cooperating closely and trustfully with the federation and the state since 2009. This no matter of course and for this, I would like to express my sincere thanks,” Hanselka added. “There was no blueprint for what we did. We all had to enter uncharted territory and think out of the box. It was a very thrilling process that required a lot of courage and flexibility of all parties involved. With the new opportunities provided by law, we at KIT can even better exploit our strengths in academic education, research, and transfer. KIT can now appoint university professors for both large-scale research and university responsibilities, thus overcoming the traditional pillar structure of German science.”

The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KIT, Professor Michael Kaschke, emphasized: “When all parties work hand in hand, the expected and continuous strategic further development of KIT will succeed. This will be good news not only for KIT, but also for our country. KIT educates tomorrow’s experts. Here, researchers address the big challenges of our times in the fields of energy and environment, mobility and information. We will have to continue to pursue new and unconventional approaches for KIT to become a beacon of German science and to gain strength on the international level in particular. For this, it is worthwhile to think out of the box and to break new ground in law.”

Which New Opportunities for KIT Result from the 2nd KIT Further Development Act?

To enhance the strengths of KIT in research, teaching, and innovation, administrative limitations are reduced and flexibility in the use of funds and personnel is increased.

This means:

Professors of KIT are enabled to pursue both university and large-scale research responsibilities in principle.
Professors may also be appointed directly to pursue large-scale research responsibilities at KIT. Other non-university research institutions do not have this right.
All scientists may participate in both large-scale research and academic education.
The elected Division Head is a post established by law. So far, no other German university has this status office.
State law is the uniform legal framework. This facilitates processes for the employees.
Advanced unity is expected to leverage synergies and to increase scientific quality.

This means:

Best research achievements thanks to the synergetic intertwining of large-scale research and university responsibilities and use of the full range of competencies of KIT.
Excellent research-oriented teaching with a first-class student/faculty ratio and a high attractiveness for top-performing students by the integration of all scientific staff members and unique research infrastructures in academic education.
High innovative capacity thanks to the coverage of the entire chain of scientific values added, from finding-oriented research to coordinated and program-oriented research to close-to-industry research; advancement of knowledge and technology transfer in interaction with society.
Planning, development, setup, and operation of national and international research infrastructures based on the full scope of competencies of KIT, with a high scientific added value resulting from the synergy of different research cultures and high attractiveness for the brightest minds of the respective science community.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,800 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.