Foundation University

[Translate to English:] Fahnen vor dem Altgebäude der TU Braunschweig

The foundation model as an opportunity for TU Braunschweig

Participation – open discourse – transparent communication

As Executive Board, we are resuming the discourse on the foundation university with the entire university that was initiated in 2020. Our aim is an open discourse and clear communication that takes up your questions and concerns and answers them transparently. A critical discourse is important to us so that the Senate can make a decision.

On this page, we will inform you about the processes expected when transforming into a foundation university and invite you to play an active role in shaping them. You will find answers to questions that have already been asked in our catalogue of questions. You can also add to these questions by contacting us at fragen-zur-stiftung(at)tu-braunschweig.de. The anonymous question portal will be available until the end of February 2024. If you wish to ask questions anonymously after that, please use anonymous mail senders from the Internet or pass them on via colleagues or superiors.

We are building on 20 years of experience with the five existing foundation universities in Lower Saxony. As the Executive Board, we see the transformation to a foundation university as an opportunity for the institutional development of TU Braunschweig. We see clear advantages in the organisational autonomy and more direct responsibility.

In our FAQs, we have broken down benefits and risks, and explain which aspects within the university structures can gain more autonomy and how exactly relations with the state and the Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK) would change. We also address the question of what would change for you as an employee in technology and administration, as a researcher, teacher or student.

Foundation university information week: What are the benefits of active participation?

An interview with President Angela Ittel and Vice-President Dietmar Smyrek

From 15 to 19 January, the foundation university information week will take place at TU Braunschweig. We asked president Angela Ittel and vice-president Dietmar Smyrek in an interview what the information week is all about and how you, as a member of TU Braunschweig, can help shape the decision-making process for the foundation university. Read more...

 

What happens after the information week?

The information week plays an important role in the university-wide opinion-forming process regarding the foundation model.

After the Senate has completed its opinion-forming process, the Senate discusses whether to instruct the Executive Board to enter into negotiations with the Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK). In these negotiations, a foundation model for TU Braunschweig would first be developed.

The specific needs and characteristics of our university would be taken into account in a draft of the foundation statutes and regulations developed together with the MWK. The issues and concerns relevant to the university and its members would be included in the negotiations so that these rights and interests of our university are safeguarded.

You can play an active role in shaping the upcoming process and help us to close potential regulatory gaps and avoid potential disadvantages with your questions and comments.

Following this draft phase, the Senate would assess the success of the negotiations on the basis of the draft foundation statutes and regulations. A decision would have to be made as to whether the negotiated foundation model of TU Braunschweig secures the advantages for our university as promised in the Lower Saxony Higher Education Act (NHG) without creating irreconcilable disadvantages for the university and its members.

Please help us with your opinion and actively participate in this process. We as the Executive Board look forward to a constructive dialogue.

Stay informed

We want you to be informed and are happy to answer your questions. Our goal as the Executive Board is to shape TU Braunschweig together. We want to continue to be an attractive place for excellent education and research in the long term. The foundation model offers the necessary conditions for more self-determination in the decision-making processes in order to better represent and realise our interests as a university.

We want to go down this path together with you. Therefore: Find out more about the legal model of the foundation university and take the time to form an informed opinion.

Do you have an unanswered question? We are offering you two ways to ask us:

  1. For our opening event on Monday, 15 January 2024, a question tool will be set up to collect the most pressing questions from the audience during the on-site information event and bring them directly into the discussion rounds.
  2. Or simply send us an email to fragen-zur-stiftung(at)tu-braunschweig.de and we will answer them as quickly as possible in the context of our FAQs.

Lower Saxony Foundation Model

The foundation model as an option for the TU Braunschweig

Since 2002, it has been possible for universities to choose the legal structure of a foundation university under Lower Saxony state law. Since then, the state of Lower Saxony no longer has to be the direct sponsor of its universities. This means that significant rights and obligations of the state are transferred to a foundation. The university's right to self-administration and the associated tasks, as they already exist at state institutions, remain unchanged.

The law was created to give universities more autonomy and responsibility. In particular, the focus was placed on the management of finance, construction and appointments.

We want to use the additional autonomy to utilise the existing potential of our university to a greater extent, both in research and in higher education, and to shape processes independently. We want to become more efficient, more economical and more excellent. The Executive Board believes that we can create important conditions for this by transforming into a foundation university.

What will be new? - The Board of Trustees.

The Foundation Board will assume supervisory functions over the university and the Executive Board. Its composition is determined by the Senate. The Senate also has the power to dismiss members from the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees is similar to the University Council at state-funded universities. It consists of five members appointed by the Ministry of Science and Culture (MWK), who are selected in consultation with the Senate. These persons are familiar with the university, but are not active members. The Board of Trustees also includes a university member elected by the Senate and a representative of the MWK. An elected student representative is involved as an advisory member.

You find more information in our FAQ.

Which experiences have other foundation universities had?

In 2019, the Scientific Commission of the State of Lower Saxony (WKN) carried out an evaluation of the foundation model in accordance with Lower Saxony state law. The five foundation universities founded in Lower Saxony in 2003 were surveyed: the Universities of Göttingen, Hildesheim, Lüneburg, Osnabrück University of Applied Sciences and Arts and the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. From 1 January 2024, the University of Hanover will be converted into a foundation university.

"Overall, the evaluation commission is of the opinion that the foundation university model in Lower Saxony has proved its worth. The rights contained in this model, such as the right of appointment and the building owner status, as well as other aspects, such as supervision by the foundation council, have led to the foundation universities developing positively in an environment of increasing demands on universities and higher education institutions as a whole and being able to fulfil these demands. In addition, the introduction of the foundation model has increased the members' identification with their institution and thus influenced a further success factor for a positive development of the foundation universities towards the better."

Evaluation of the foundation university model in Lower Saxony, WKN, 2019, S. 49 [available in German only]