As part of an initiative by the community service foundation Dieter Schwarz Foundation (DSF), TUM created a teaching and research facility on the Bildungscampus Heilbronn (Heilbronn Education Campus). TUM Campus Heilbronn focuses on the areas of managing digital transformation, family businesses, and computer science. It shares the vision, mission, values, and strategy of the Technical University of Munich, the TUM Department of Informatics, and the TUM School of Management. The TUM Campus Heilbronn was inaugurated in the winter semester of 2018/2019.
In 2020, TUM and the DFS have signed a new endowment agreement for 11 chairs in various informatics fields. They will be fully funded by the foundation, including resources and infrastructure, for an initial period of 30 years. Nine of the chairs will be located at the TUM Campus Heilbronn and two others at TUM's Garching campus. In 2018, the DSF endowed 20 chairs in management sciences at TUM, including 13 in Heilbronn. With the expansion of this commitment – unique in Germany – 22 TUM professors will be teaching and conducting research in Heilbronn. The funds are not subject to any conditions, with the endowment agreement governed by the TUM Fundraising Code of Conduct, which rules out any influence on research and teaching by parties providing funding.
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The TUM Campus Heilbronn is gaining a unique, interdisciplinary profile at the interface of management and informatics. The field of information engineering will play a key role: New digital technologies are opening up more and more ways for companies to capture, network, and analyze information. Information engineering looks at the entire chain, from the sensor to the IT system through to the business model, and is thus an important building block in the digital transformation. The research will be linked via interdisciplinary cooperations to the management chairs at the campus that investigate how companies can shape the far-reaching and rapid technological transformation – one of the crucial questions for Germany's economic future. The focus will be on technology start-ups and family enterprises that shape the identity of the Heilbronn-Franconia region with many "hidden champions".
In this successful high-tech region, TUM is educating young graduates ideally prepared to work at technology-driven companies. The range of degree options at the campus, which now offers one bachelor's and two master's programs centered around management sciences, is to be expanded to include a new bachelor's and master's program in information engineering. In addition, TUM plans to introduce a master's program for working professionals and new MBA programs combining management and information technology.
"We're delighted that the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung has again shown their trust and is expanding one of the most important endowments in the history of higher education in Germany," said TUM President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann. "With the new professorships, we are creating an outstanding academic program in Heilbronn, combining informatics and management sciences, that will be unrivalled in Germany. It represents an important contribution to shaping the digital transformation. In this way, in times of the coronavirus pandemic, we are delivering power impetus to help secure future employment and prosperity in our country."
"To strengthen tomorrow's society and economy, we need extraordinary innovations in the field of informatics, which will fundamentally transform our future working world," explains Prof. Reinhold R. Geilsdörfer, the Managing Director of the Dieter Schwarz Stiftung. "The 11 additional endowed professorships will contribute to the study of the transformation processes in our region and support companies in the digital transformation."
TUM is among the international leaders in informatics. For example, it ranks 18th in the respected World University Rankings, compiled by Times Higher Education, which rates research performance, among other criteria. Students at TUM also give top ratings to the teaching programs and the study conditions (CHE Rankings). With around 49 professorships, TUM’s Department of Informatics has undergone highly dynamic growth in recent years and, with 7,700 students, is now the university's largest department.
One of its strengths is the close networking with engineering, natural, life, and social sciences. Consequently, a strong foundation is in place for the planned cooperation with management sciences in Heilbronn. Several degree programs are jointly operated and various professors are members of both departments, such as Prof. Helmut Krcmar, the founding dean of TUM Campus Heilbronn.