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Letter 1/14

47 LETTER 01/2014 Alumnus Kluger Kopf an einem exzellenten Forschungs­ standort: Chemie-Nobel- preisträger Hartmut Michel forscht am Frank- furter Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysik und lehrt an der Goethe-Universität Genius at an excellent research location: Chem- istry Nobel Prize laureate Hartmut Michel conducts research at the Frankfurt Max Planck Institute of Biophysics and teaches at the Goethe University Großzügige Neubauten: Der Campus Riedberg liegt im Norden der 700.000-Einwohner-Stadt Spacious new buildings: Campus Riedberg is located in the north of the city with 700,000 inhabitants highly popular. Müller-Esterl even considers it “probably the most beautiful” in Germany. It only became possible because of a historical quirk of fate: the withdrawal of the American troops who had set up their headquarters in the old IG Farben building (photograph, left), around which the campus is now based. When the Americans gave up the location after German reunification in 1990, Frankfurt suddenly had an attractive site for a new university campus. Two other sites in the south and north of the city, where the natural sciences (Campus Riedberg) and medicine (Campus Niederrad) are housed, combine with Campus Westend to form a “general university with an ex- tremely broad academic range”, according to Professor Tanja Brühl, the university’s vice president. » The new status as a foundation univer­ sity provides greater autonomy However, the modernisation that Frankfurt’s univer- sity has prescribed itself is not only about bricks and mortar. It has also undergone an internal reorganis­ ation. An important part of this is the university’s return to the status of foundation university: at the beginning of the 20th century, committed Frankfurt citizens pro- vided private funding for the handful of institutes that formed the nucleus of the university that eventually opened in 1914. It was this tradition that the university returned to in 2008 when it regained the status of foun- dation university and with it a high degree of inde- pendence: it can appoint professors without the ap- proval of the state government and therefore swiftly fill vacancies. The changed status has also enabled the university to access new sources of funding. The en- dowment fund has increased to more than 160 million euros in the space of a few years. There are also 31 en- dowed chairs – in other words, professorships funded by companies or foundations. The university registered a new record in third-party funding in 2013: totalling over 170 million euros, it corresponds to roughly one third of the budget. And if everything goes as Müller-Esterl plans, this trend will continue. In the next 100 years he would like the university to become completely financially independent of the state. The university has already used the additional funds to create hundreds of new jobs and to develop academically. Today it is probably best known for its work in the economic and social sciences, law and medicine. Although this may not suffice to be- come “Harvard am Main” in the foreseeable future, the university still has a very strong research track record. That is proven by thee excellence clusters, six collabo- rative research centres and generally good ranking places, even if the value of such comparisons is dis- puted. In any event, the university draws attention to its position in the so-called Shanghai Ranking, which primarily evaluates research perform­ance: it ranks Frankfurt among the group of five to eight best univer- sities in Germany and among the best 20 in Europe. e City Portrait DANIELA SCHADT, Alumna der Universität Frankfurt und First Lady Eine der prominenten Alumni der Frank­furter Universität ist Daniela Schadt, Lebens­ gefährtin von Bundespräsident Gauck. Sie studierte hier Germanistik, Politik und französische Literatur. „Es war eine sehr an­ regende und auch unbekümmerte Zeit.“ Genossen hat sie auch die liberale und offene Atmosphäre in der Stadt: „Man spürt, dass es mal eine freie Reichsstadt war, in der die Bürger das Sagen hatten und sogar eine Universität gestiftet haben.“ One of the prominent alumni of Frankfurt University is Daniela Schadt, partner of Federal President Gauck. She studied Ger­ man studies, political science and French literature here. “It was a very stimulating and also carefree time.” She also enjoyed the city’s liberal and open-minded atmosphere: “You notice that it was once a free Imperial City, in which citizens had a say and even founded a university.” picture-alliance/dpapicture-alliance/J.W.Alker