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Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen looks back on 10 years at TU Dresden and DRESDEN-concept


Press release of TU Dresden, 17th August 2020.

“TU Dresden has been my life for the past ten years!” – Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen’s term of office ends on 17th August

Ten years ago, Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen applied for the position of Rector of TU Dresden and was successfully elected. He set out by defining ten goals that he intended to achieve. His rate of success can now be measured. He summarised his time as Rector at a press conference on 17th July.

  1. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden is a University of Excellence and therefore one of the leading universities in Germany.”
    Status 2020: “This has undoubtedly been achieved. In both 2012 and 2019, TU Dresden was awarded the University of Excellence status and has since benefited considerably from the measures of the Excellence Initiative. Particularly noteworthy in this respect are cross-cutting topics such as strategic capability, profile building, promotion of young researchers, internationalisation, quality assurance, communication, DRESDEN-concept and knowledge transfer, in which our university has developed significantly.”
  2. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden remains a comprehensive university that boasts a large number of interdisciplinary teaching and research programmes.”
    Status 2020: “Despite the planned closure of the Faculty of Law, this still applies. We have an unusually wide range of degree programmes that we can be proud of. Most importantly, these are not just stand-alone subjects, but are highly interdisciplinary and interconnected.
  3. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden is internationally recognised and ranks among the 100 best universities worldwide.”
    Status 2020: “We have climbed the ranks from 280 to 150. For example, we have succeeded in almost doubling our publication output and have increased third-party funding by approx. 50% and; in addition, TU Dresden’s reputation has improved considerably both nationally and internationally. These parameters are decisive for our performance in the rankings.”
  4. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden is a sought-after employer, including for top international scientists.”
    Status 2020: “I have appointed more than 350 new professors to TU Dresden in the last 10 years. The proportion of international scientists has more than doubled during this period. Time and again, I have noticed that our commitment to cosmopolitanism and tolerance as indispensable basic values of a democratic society is positively perceived in both Germany and abroad. In addition to academic excellence, this acknowledgement plays a pivotal role in attracting outstanding scientists from all over the world.”
  5. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden attracts the best students worldwide and boasts an international student ratio of 20%.”
    Status 2020: “Last year, the percentage of newly enrolled, international students reached 22%. In total, more than 5,400 young people with international backgrounds are currently studying at TU Dresden. In order to achieve this, we developed an international strategy which has, among other things, strongly promoted the welcome culture.”
  6. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden has an active and successful alumni programme. The alumni are proud of “their” university and support it both strategically and financially.”
    Status 2020: “To be perfectly honest, I regret not having invested more time and resources into our alumni programme. Despite the great efforts of the people involved, we are still lagging behind in international comparison.”
  7. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden is guided by the Free State of Saxony through annual target agreements but otherwise acts largely autonomously.”
    Status 2020: “Our target agreements even run over a period of four years and give TU Dresden considerable scope for decision-making. However, this is not yet sufficient, especially as TU Dresden is not at liberty to independently plan, build and maintain its own estates and buildings.  Particularly with regard to construction, we have seen that the building work of TU Dresden has not been able to keep up with the successful growth of the university in recent years. In general, the targets fixed by the Free State are too detailed and should be replaced by qualitative and strategic objectives. There is certainly room for improvement here as well.”
  8. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden has an efficient administration with centralised and decentralised structures.”
    Status 2020: “Almost 20 years after the reorientation of TU Dresden in the wake of the German reunification, it was necessary to modernise the administrative structures and processes once again and to adapt them to the changed conditions. Universities and their operations are subject to continual change, which they must implement based on their own willingness to adapt. For example, we have introduced a departmental principle in the administration that reflects the responsibilities of the individual members of the University Executive Board.  In recent years, the administrative processes at TU Dresden have improved significantly, becoming more transparent, service-orientated and quality-assured.  The far-reaching digitalisation of these complex processes is an ongoing task that will have to be pursued in the coming years.  Another major change is the amalgamation of the 18 Faculties into 5 Schools. Through the associated bundling of support processes and improved cross-departmental cooperation, many aspects have been improved or made possible, even though we are still far from realising the full potential of this structural measure.”
  9. Goal 2010: TU Dresden enjoys a comfortable financial situation due to adequate state funding and steadily increasing third-party funds, donations or endowments.”
    Status 2020: “Even though the annual third-party funding volume has almost doubled – reaching more than 310 million euros in 2019 – and the budget management has been professionalised, the financial situation remains challenging, since the basic funding and other grants have only moderately increased.”
  10. Goal 2010: “TU Dresden is involved in numerous national/international scientific, economic and political networks and holds high-ranking positions in important committees.”
    Status 2020: “Owing to the great commitment and reputation of all university members, this holds true.” Examples include the DFG, TU9, the German Council of Science and Humanities, various federal ministries, international professional associations, boards of trustees, CESAER, etc.  Furthermore, I would like to emphasise our successful DRESDEN-concept alliance. With its diversity and innovation, it enriches the entire region enormously. It promotes the Dresden region as an internationally recognised science hub and functions as an economic driver.

Professor Hans Müller-Steinhagen repeatedly emphasises the fruitful cooperation at the university in the so-called Dresden Spirit: “From the very beginning, I was enthusiastic about the people, the atmosphere and the potential of this university. In the end, we have jointly achieved TU Dresden’s Status of Excellence. Together, we have succeeded in significantly improving TU Dresden in terms of numerous performance parameters. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all students and members of staff.”

When he leaves office on 17th August 2020, a new task will be waiting for him. Despite several offers from Germany and abroad, he has decided to stay in Dresden. From October onwards, Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen will continue to be closely associated with TU Dresden in his role as President of Dresden International University (DIU): “After ten years as Rector of TU Dresden, I am of course particularly pleased that everything I will do for DIU within the scope of my duties will ultimately also benefit TU Dresden. I am deeply committed to both institutions.”

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