Thanks to an outstanding international profile in teaching, study and research, Leipzig is among the most successful German universities when it comes to internationalisation. This is a central component of our strategic development: for expanding international research alliances, for opening up to qualified international students and young researchers, and for enhancing the international mobility of its members.
Internationalisation at Leipzig University by 2025
In line with the University’s motto, “A tradition of crossing boundaries”, we are committed to the overarching vision of reflecting the diversity of the world as a world of diversity based on science.
Our university is consciously promoting the internationalisation of teaching by offering joint study and doctoral programmes with foreign partner institutions, systematically expanding the global mobility of both students and teachers, and improving the integration infrastructure for people from other cultural regions. It equips its student members with skills needed for the globalised labour market in business, society and science. The internationalisation of research focuses on the creation of international research alliances, particularly in the different research profile areas.
Interdisciplinary objectives of internationalisation
We prepare our students for the globalised labour market in business, society and science. Based on the HRK’s internationalisation audit, in 2015 our university set itself interdisciplinary objectives for study and teaching, which we are continuing to define and expand:
Leipzig University wants to establish and use transregional alliances with selected partners. With its research profile areas, Leipzig University has identified core fields of academic growth, combining excellence from the University and non-university research partners. This is to be used more intensively for the internationalisation of teaching and study.
Internationalisation and strategy
Interview with Rector Professor Beate Schücking
Professor Schücking, your career to date has been marked by many positions abroad. What does internationalisation mean to you personally?
My periods abroad – both in Europe and in the US and Canada – had a highly formative impact on my academic development. They enabled me to become acquainted with international standards, with which I then aligned my research group back in Germany. One really very important point for me in this context was that my young female academics also had the opportunity to go abroad. Developing an international network is of course extremely important for this. You can’t expect an international network to just fall into your lap. It is achieved by getting to know your colleagues, working and publishing with them and, above all, building trust. It is also something that contributes to personal development, which is why I am particularly pleased that my son is now also studying intensively abroad and not just in Germany.
What do you understand by internationalisation at Leipzig University?
For Leipzig University, internationalisation is connected with the objective of seeing its core tasks of research and teaching in a global context from the very beginning. We see internationalisation as an interdisciplinary task that must permeate all areas of the University, from management and the faculties right the way through to administration. Ultimately, internationalisation is a process that serves quality development in the University’s core tasks. We are introducing appropriate measures in an effort to promote and support this.
What is the significance of internationalisation for the development of Leipzig University?
In its University Development Plan (HEP) 2020/2025, Leipzig University has set itself the objective of stepping up internationalisation and making the best use of it for developing its profile. Ever since 1409, the way our University sees itself has been shaped by a welcoming culture and sense of internationality: at that time, the alma mater was founded by scholars and students who had fled from the University of Prague to Leipzig to escape reprisals. Today, internationalisation is a starting point for the “Leipzig Way”. This describes Leipzig University as an internationally oriented institution that generates, teaches and applies knowledge.
We see internationalisation as an interdisciplinary task that must permeate all areas of the University.
Professor Beate Schücking
How is Leipzig University currently doing in terms of internationalisation?
In terms of our international work, we are among the most distinguished universities in Germany. For instance, we regularly achieve top positions in the funding ranking published by the German Academic Exchange Service. And according to a study on profile data, we are also the third-largest recipient in Germany of EU third-party funding for international projects and partnerships.
Why do you think that is?
Leipzig University has numerous international alliances on all continents. If you take the quality criterion seriously when selecting partners and know that Leipzig University thrives on its wide variety of subjects, it is unavoidable and logical to look for the best partner worldwide for every discipline. The international orientation of our university teachers, and their extensive networks of contacts, are reflected in the disproportionately high level of mobility among teachers who spend time at partner universities. Their active commitment also sets a positive example for our students: according to the study on profile data, the number of students who study or complete an internship abroad is far above average.
International students benefit from comprehensive information and guidance services during all study phases, from initial study orientation and academic success-oriented support to increasing their professional qualifications. I am particularly pleased that 87 per cent of international students would recommend applying to our University. According to the International Student Barometer, this puts us well above the national and international average.
What specific targets are planned up to 2025?
In recent years we have increased the proportion of international students and scientists. In order to optimise the services we offer this target group and improve academic success, we have set ourselves the target of intensifying the internationalisation of administration and our welcoming culture by 2025.
What exactly will this involve?
For example, the measures include opportunities for staff to acquire technical and linguistic qualifications in order to manage international projects even more professionally. We also plan to identify ‘experts’ as points of contact for international issues in each administrative unit. As part of the website relaunch, we have considerably expanded our English pages, and we also want to consistently offer documents and signage in more than one language. As a basis for this, we are developing a University-wide language concept that aims at multilingualism and international cultural competence at all levels of the University.