Pooling competences for innovative engineering approaches with international visibility
With the aim of pooling its expertise in the field of technology and engineering, and expanding its range of research and subjects in a field of competence that is developing dynamically, Heidelberg University has founded a new faculty - the Faculty of Engineering Sciences. The focus will not be on traditional technologies, however, but on innovative engineering approaches. Heidelberg engineering sciences range from molecular biotechnology to the engineering of molecular systems to computer engineering and medical technology. The faculty will go into operation as of 1 October 2021, after the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts has approved the required amendment of the university’s constitution. The founding dean is Guido Kanschat, who is a member of the management board of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing.
Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Ruperto Carola, states: "By founding this faculty Heidelberg University is showing its strong inherent capacity for renewal, and closing a gap in its faculty portfolio. The Heidelberg-specific competences in the field of engineering, which complement those of universities of technology, will enhance the international visibility of this expertise." The Rector adds that the university had purposefully expanded the necessary infrastructures in the last few years. The Faculty of Engineering Sciences will comprise the areas of computer engineering, engineering molecular systems and carbon-based materials sciences, as well as molecular biotechnology. These three high-profile areas will be enhanced by more scientists from cross-disciplinary research centres at the university - the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing, the Center for Molecular Biology, the Biochemistry Center and the BioQuant Center. In terms of teaching, the new faculty will begin with interdisciplinary bachelor’s and master’s programmes in molecular biotechnology, the state examination programme in pharmacy, the Master-PhD programme Matter to Life in the context of the Max Planck School of the same name, and the master’s programme in computer engineering. Further study programmes are being planned in connection with mathematics and computer science, and also in the field of bioengineering.
Establishing the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, the Rector says, would not only strengthen the natural sciences but, in addition, generate a special added value for knowledge transfer. "Heidelberg University will promote the transfer of scientific findings into society in an interdisciplinary dialogue and contribute to breakthroughs that have a transformative impact on society," Prof. Eitel states. "To that end, we also draw on an outstanding environment of strong extra-university research institutes and companies operating in relevant fields." As part of this network, the Rector adds, the new faculty would contribute to the innovation campus "Health & Life Science Alliance Heidelberg Mannheim", which links up the fields of life science research, healthcare management and medical engineering, and will be considerably strengthened by the Faculty of Engineering Sciences.