Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek and Baden-Württemberg Minister for Science, Research, and the Arts Theresia Bauer have agreed on further steps to complete the merger of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) that is unique in Germany. In this way, a renowned university and a large-scale research center will strengthen and deepen their merger that took place in 2009 already.
To use the full potential in research, teaching, and innovation, administrative obstacles will be reduced and flexibility in the use of funds will be enhanced. In the areas of human resources and budget in particular, entirely new legal schemes had to be developed to account for the requirements of both a university and a large-scale research institution. The legal and financial framework of the merger is outlined by an administrative agreement of the Federation and the State that has now been signed. The provisions are implemented by an amendment of the KIT Act and other legal regulations in the so-called “2nd KIT Further Development Act” that was adopted by the State government on Wednesday.
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek comments: “What belongs together, is now growing together. I am happy that, together with the State of Baden-Württemberg, we can now make the next big development step for KIT. By completing the merger of university and large-scale research institution, we will strengthen Germany as a location of science and increase its international attractiveness. As The Research University in the Helmholtz Association, KIT will be better able to offer integrated, all-in-one research, academic education, and innovation in future. Large-scale research and university research will grow together closely at KIT. I am convinced that we can expect big innovations and strong impetus for knowledge and technology transfer from KIT in future. I am very happy that we have succeeded in creating the necessary and Germany-wide unique framework conditions for research, teaching, and innovation. Free from unnecessary administrative restrictions, KIT will go its way to a secure future. As a result of the agreed budget increases, the Federation will support the KIT as a member of the Helmholtz Association with EUR 322 million this year.”
Theresia Bauer, Minister for Science of the State of Baden-Württemberg, says: “Today, KIT already is a special institution. When fulfilling their university and research tasks in future, employees of KIT will no longer work in separate areas, but have a uniform legal regime. This will reflect the unique character of KIT and create an even better basis for research, teaching, and innovation. The framework conditions and the environment that only exist at KIT in this form will have a positive impact and attract nationally and internationally excellent scientists and students. KIT will continue to execute tasks of a university and a large-scale research center in future. Combination of free fundamental research and strategic Helmholtz research in one institution is the DNA of KIT. It is this combination that makes KIT highly attractive. It will serve as an additional magnet for talented minds. Enhanced unity will produce synergies leading to an even higher scientific quality. Students will have the opportunity to undergo training directly at the large-scale research facilities and, hence, will give qualitative impetus to large-scale research.”
Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT, adds: “This is a great day for us. Scientists of KIT will be able to participate in both university and research tasks in future and we will have a single staff – this is unique in Germany. These important steps mean more flexibility and agility for KIT. I am convinced that this will further strengthen KIT as a university of excellence in the competition of research institutions and bring advantages for Germany as a location of science on the international level. I would like to thank federal and state politics for their courage and support in making this step together with us.”
The Chairman of the Supervisory Board of KIT, Professor Michael Kaschke, says: “I am pleased that the Federation and the State again advance and push the development of KIT as the only science institution of this kind in Germany. These necessary decisions open up big potentials for KIT, which now will have to be used. I am sure that KIT as a successful university of excellence in Germany will even better demonstrate its strengths in research, teaching, and transfer in future.”
The reform and further interconnection of the tasks of KIT are expected to improve the framework conditions for the execution of KIT’s missions. KIT will combine non-university research and a university’s cutting-edge research with excellent academic education in one institution having uniform structures, a uniform regime, and a uniform management. This will make KIT the nucleus of extensive innovations. The goal is further interconnection of research, academic education, and innovation - from fundamental research to applied research - on a high level with the corresponding teaching activities.
This is reflected in the administrative agreement and KIT Act by the end of the separation between the so far independent “university sector” and “large-scale research sector,” dissolution of the corresponding special funds as well as a uniform staff. The tasks of scientific staff will be merged. For scientific executives, a new status will be established. Both university and large-scale research tasks may be carried out. As a result, assignment of tasks will become more flexible.
According to the administrative agreement, the federal funds for the execution of large-scale research will be made available to KIT via the State in future. For this reason, the draft act specifies instruments needed by the State Science Ministry to meet the Federation’s requirements when transferring the research funds to KIT.
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is one of the biggest German science institutions. KIT was established on October 01, 2009 by a merger of Universität Karlsruhe and Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe GmbH. It is both a university and a large-scale research institution that is member of the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centers (HGF).
KIT is the first and still only institution of this kind in Germany that overcomes the so far clear separation between university and non-university institutions in German science and research. The merger of KIT, hence, is of high supraregional importance to German science and research policy.
The university activities are funded entirely by the State of Baden-Württemberg. The research tasks are financed by the Federation and the State in which the center is located at a ratio of 90:10, which is the typical funding key for HGF centers.
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 9,300 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 24,400 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.