ACADEMIA MEETS INDUSTRY
“We have a very strong sense of identity and we know what we stand for,” says Professor Michael Weber, President of Ulm University. Given that this southern German city was the birthplace of Albert Einstein, it is no surprise that this “identity” is based not around the arts but instead upon natural sciences, as well as maths, economics, medicine and engineering.
One of the youngest public universities in Germany, Ulm was founded in 1967. Despite its youth, it has already built a reputation not only as a centre for PhD research but also for its links with industry. The university campus plays host to Science City, the base for numerous public and industrial research and development centres, as well as three major hospitals. Students can benefit from internships at top-class companies in the region, such as Boehringer Ingelheim, Daimler and BMW.
THE INDUSTRIAL EVOLUTION
This close proximity of academic and industrial research and development is designed to meet the needs of industry and also to boost academic teaching and research. One award-winning group of students is even developing mini “driverless” cars.
“We strive to provide our students with that direct link with industry,” says Professor Weber. “The close collaboration between the university and these leading companies is key to the research and future employment prospects of our graduates. Up to half of our students end up working within these companies.”
Being innovative in the research studies it offers is also key for Ulm. It was the first university to establish a special education programme for actuaries, offering courses on organisation and communication in risk management. “We are one of the leaders in the field on actuarial science,” says Professor Weber. “Students who want to specialise in this are absolutely in the right place.”
Given its first-class academic programme, good graduate employment prospects and high staff-to-student ratio, it is no wonder that Ulm was ranked as the best young German university by the Times Higher Education Supplement and QS World University Rankings in both 2014 and 2015. Its 10,000-strong student population is drawn from nearly 100 countries worldwide and includes those who have taken advantage of Ulm’s extensive exchange agreements. Another draw for international students is the fact that many master’s programmes are delivered in English.
With its unique characteristics and firm values, Ulm University has a bright future ahead – as do its students.