Four cross-border professorships for the Upper Rhine region

Studying, researching and teaching across borders is the vision of the university network Eucor – The European Campus. During a two-day trip to the Strasbourg-Kehl border region, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister-President Kretschmann and other cabinet members as well as members of the state parliament visited the university network Eucor – The European Campus at the University of Strasbourg. In addition to the five rectors and presidents of the Eucor universities, high-ranking French representatives of the Région Grand Est, Eurométropole and the Académie de Strasbourg also took part in the political exchange on the further development of Eucor.

With four cross-border professorships, Eucor – The European Campus succeeds in building a pioneering project within a European framework

“The university network Eucor connects five excellent universities from three countries. Together, we are researching important issues for the future in the Upper Rhine region: personalized medicine, quantum technology, sustainability and European identities. In other words, topics that are so essential that we can only find the best solutions together,” said Minister-President Winfried Kretschmann. “With Eucor, we can also secure our leading position in the European research and education area. And strengthen the innovative power, competitiveness and prosperity here in the border region. In this way, Eucor is European integration in action. For a Europe that is not only a scientific and economic area – but above all a community of values. Based on freedom, democracy and the rule of law. And a historically unique peace project. It is something that is more important than ever these days.”

“(…) After 30 years of successful cooperation in higher education policy, I am convinced that Eucor has succeeded in demonstrating the concrete added value of cooperation among universities for the border region within a European context. The Upper Rhine region is an area in which identities, cultures, economies and mobility cross borders (…),” says Jean Rottner, President of the Grand Est Region.

The visit focused on the four new binational professorships that the member universities of Eucor – The European Campus are currently launching. The first of these is a professorship between the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Strasbourg in the future field of quantum computing, whose first holder is Prof. Dr. Anja Metelmann. The scientist, who has been working in Berlin so far, has been doing research and teaching at KIT with a focus on Eucor’s priority areas of Quantum Sciences and Technology since February. In addition, she will lead a research team at the University of Strasbourg and teach there. The cross-border character of this professorship is the first of its kind in Europe and a pioneering project of the Upper Rhine university network. A second binational professorship will be established between KIT and the University of Haute-Alsace (Mulhouse-Colmar) in the field of “Digital Process Engineering for Sustainable Materials and Energy.”

As a result, KIT will be able to complement its university portfolio by another cross-border professorship starting in the 2022/23 winter semester. In cooperation with the University of Basel and the University of Strasbourg, the University of Freiburg will bundle its competences in the Eucor focus area “European Identities.” With one cross-border professorship in English Studies and another in Law, there will be a total of four binational professorships on the Upper Rhine in the future.

“With the forthcoming four bridge professorships, Eucor is ideally positioned to advance joint research on socially relevant topics of our time,” says Minister of Science Theresia Bauer.

Internationally visible teaching and science hub in the Upper Rhine region

From the French side, the president of the Région Grand Est and the deputy rector of the Académie de Strasbourg participated in the political exchange on Eucor – The European Campus. The Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg was accompanied by a high-ranking political delegation from his State, including the Minister of Science, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of the Environment, the Minister of Justice and Migration and the Minister of State Development and Housing

“The support from the State of Baden-Württemberg for our trinational network is of enormous importance. My special thanks go to Minister-President Kretschmann, who, after the breakdown of the negotiations on the EU-Switzerland framework agreement, continues to work personally to ensure that relations do not erode and that Bern and Brussels will hopefully reach an agreement after all, also in the interest of science. Many thanks and Merci!” says Prof. Dr. Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Eucor President and Rector of the University of Basel.

The establishment of the cross-border professorships would also not have been possible without the support from the State of Baden-Württemberg. Thanks to financial support from the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts (MWK), the two Baden-Württemberg universities in Freiburg and KIT were each able to launch two binational professorships in cooperation with the French and Swiss partner universities.

“It has been three years since we adopted a joint strategic plan for the years 2019 to 2023, in which we defined our key thematic areas. Today, we are proud to have succeeded in creating a vibrant cross-border teaching and science hub on the Upper Rhine with the international doctoral college QUSTEC in Quantum Sciences and Technology and the new cross-border professorship in Quantum Computing,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Holger Hanselka, President of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

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