Germany (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) “Humboldt: collective, open-minded, historically aware and forward-looking”

The President of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Prof. Dr Julia von Blumenthal, who assumed office on 1st October 2022, presented the top priorities for her term in office in a press conference.

Collective, open, historically aware and forward-looking — for a university in dialogue with society.

This is the motto that HU President Julia von Blumenthal has set for her term in office. “I want to create structures that promote innovation, for the students and for scholarship that has an impact in society.

In its research and teaching, the Humboldt-Universität will also turn its attention to the challenges of our time, such as the pandemic, the energy crisis and the climate crisis. “With excellent scientific research, we at the HU are working on the major social issues of our time. We play a part in the social discourse of our city and the country with both our natural science and humanities faculties. We do this in close collaboration with other Universities of Excellence in the Berlin University Alliance, as well as in international and European collaborations, such as ‘CircleU’.” One important goal here is the active participation of students in formats that introduce them to excellent research and open up the possibility of exploring their own questions.

Julia von Blumenthal wants to continue “Open Humboldt”. Under this banner, the exchange between science, society and culture is promoted in places outside the university’s walls, such as in the Humboldt Lab in Berlin’s Humboldt Forum or unusual locations like the Science Station.

The new president of the Humboldt-Universität will support the initiatives to research the history of the university. “The Humboldt-Universität is a university steeped in tradition with experiences of fundamental transformation. The examination of its own history, including in a critical manner, is an important basis for forward-looking action.”

Empower students and safeguard the university’s position as a place for direct exchange

The Humboldt-Universität wants to make its contribution to social cohesion, to strengthening a culture of discourse.

Irrespective of national, social and religious background and regardless of sexual orientation, the HU is also a place for interdisciplinary and cross-faculty social learning. “We need a culture of dialogue that appreciates academic disagreement, from which new understanding can emerge on a reciprocal basis.”

The past two years have demanded a lot from the students. “The students must not be forgotten by politics. The financial support that has been pledged must reach students’ accounts swiftly.”

Despite the pandemic and energy crisis, the declared goal is a winter semester with in-person teaching, during which the university is accessible to students as an open space. The universities are counting here on support from federal and state policy.

New staffing structures for academics

After the “repair amendment” to the Berlin Higher Education Act (Berliner Hochschulgesetzt) came into force, the Humboldt-Universität developed its own model for initiating continued employment for postdoctoral researchers, as required under Section 110 (6) of the Berlin Higher Education Act. “The Humboldt-Universität developed its model in order to offer reliable career paths in academia. The Department for Higher Education and Research now has the task of creating the conditions for implementation.”