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Inauguration of University President Simone Fulda

Professor Dr med. Simone Fulda is the new President of Kiel University (CAU). Today, 1 October, the 52-year-old medical doctor officially commenced her duties, after being elected by the Academic University Senate on 24 June. The term of office lasts six years. As President, Simone Fulda will represent the university and manage day-to-day operations.

The academic ceremony in the Audimax, which was restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic to around a hundred guests from science, business, politics, administration and the university, was led by the Chairperson of the CAU Academic University Senate, Professor Wolfgang J. Duschl. The public was invited to watch the event via a live stream. In his opening speech, Duschl thanked the previous University Board under President Professor Lutz Kipp and the Vice Presidents Professor Ilka Parchmann, Professor Anja Pistor-Hatam and Professor Karin Schwarz. Since the end of their regular term of office in June, they have served on the interim University Board, alongside Chancellor Claudia Ricarda Meyer. “They also overcame the particular challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic in an especially impressive way and, together with all institutions, implemented a digital summer semester from one day to the next. Under the circumstances, they did an excellent job!” said Duschl.

The welcome speeches were delivered by the Mayor of the state capital Kiel, Dr Ulf Kämpfer, as well as the Chairpersons of the General Student Committee (AStA) at Kiel University, Julia Schmidtke and Johnny Schwausch. Minister President Daniel Gunther and the presidents of international universities also sent greetings via video messages.

Dr Ulf Kämpfer: "I would like to warmly congratulate Professor Fulda on her election, and am looking forward to working with her, to continue the trusting and successful cooperation between the CAU and the City of Kiel. A key area for cooperation in the coming years will certainly be the development of the Kiel.Science.City project, that aims to transform the university campus into a lively urban district in which we combine research, business, life and work.
I am particularly delighted about Professor Fulda's announcement that she intends to boost the international visibility of the CAU. We will gladly support this initiative through our international networks and city partnerships."

The Chairpersons of the General Student Committee (AStA), Julia Schmidtke and Johnny Schwausch, said: "As representatives of the student body, we were delighted that Ms Fulda announced she wants to be a president for all. We share her view that a university can only function effectively if all status groups are involved."

The subsequent keynote speech about the science location Schleswig-Holstein was delivered by the Minister of Education, Karin Prien: “We are looking forward to the new perspectives, the innovation and the thirst for action with which Simone Fulda is starting as the first female president of Kiel University. She and the CAU can rely on support from the state along the way. The CAU is an important impetus in our state, it unites science, industry, culture and society and attracts people from all over the world to the true north. We will only be able to release our innovative strength and set off on our joint path towards becoming a University of Excellence within a network in which we link different perspectives together and create synergies,” emphasised Minister Prien, and addressed the new University President with a very personal wish: “I wish you not just great success in your new position, but also and above all, a lot of joy every day in being able to help shape this wonderful university.”

© Sascha Klahn, Uni Kiel

Greeting from Daniel Günther, Prime Minister of Schleswig-Holstein

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Inauguration

Taking office with a vision

er inaugural speech, Simone Fulda laid out her vision for the state university, under the motto "Think global, act local": “My vision for the future is to develop Kiel University into one of the 15 excellent universities in Germany with international visibility.” Fulda said: "This means explicitly - but not exclusively - a successful positioning of the CAU in the Excellence Strategy. Because for me it is about much more than just a singular competitive procedure. It is about the further development of a culture of quality, to achieve a high level of quality in all major fields of action of our university." The Excellence Strategy is not only a competition between universities, but also a competition between the federal states. Because these determine the science policy framework conditions, said Fulda, who has been a member of the Wissenschaftsrat (Council of Science and Humanities, WR) since 2012.

Excellent research goes hand-in-hand with outstanding and innovative teaching, which is the second mission of the university. Thus, the digitalisation of teaching is a top priority in the immediate future. "Here, we want to find a good combination of digital and face-to-face teaching. And we want to convey digital competence as future skills in all degree programmes."

"I would like to highlight building further bridges with business and society as a third mission of our university," emphasised Fulda. Here, cooperation between all parties is absolutely essential. The "ambitious goal of joining the International Network of Universities" can only be achieved together, by combining our efforts and further developing trusting partnerships.

International video messages

Prof. Brian Brech Nielsen, Rector of Aarhus University (AU), Denmark

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Mr. Matthieu Gallou, President of Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO), France

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Prof. Dr. HE Lianzhen, Vice President of Zhejiang University (ZJU), China

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Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Takeda, President of Kobe University, Japan

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Prof. Svein Stølen, Rector of University of Oslo (UiO), Norway

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Prof. Bogumiła Kaniewska, Rector of Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM), Poland

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Dr. Jochen Hellmann, Head of DAAD Brazil / DWIH São Paulo, Brazil

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Prof. Dr. Henrik Dam, Rector of University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark

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A brief portrait of Simone Fulda

Professor Dr med. Simone Fulda (52) studied human medicine from 1988 to 1995 at the University of Cologne in Germany, as well as the Harvard Medical School, Boston, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Arizona in the US and University College Dublin in Ireland. She completed her postgraduate degree at the University of Cologne in 1995. In 2001, she qualified as a university lecturer in the Medical Faculty at Ulm University and was presented with the Venia Legendi for the field of Paediatrics. She then also completed specialist medical training from 1995 to 2001 at the University Children's Hospitals in both Heidelberg and Ulm. This was supported by post-doctoral stays at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg and the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France. Simone Fulda has been working in the field of life sciences research since 2001, initially sponsored with a Heisenberg fellowship and then a research professorship at the German Research Foundation (DFG). From 2010 until taking up office as president, she held the positions of Director at the Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Paediatrics and Professor of Experimental Tumour Research at the Goethe University Frankfurt. She also held the office of Vice President of Research and Academic Infrastructure over the past few years.

Simone Fulda has written over 380 scientific publications and book articles, as well as heading numerous national and international joint research projects and research networks. In addition to this, she is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and sits on several of the academic organisation’s national and international committees. As such, she has extensive interdisciplinary experience on both the national and international stage and enjoys excellent networking in the field of science policy. Among other things, Simone Fulda has been a member of the Wissenschaftsrat (Council of Science and Humanities, WR) since 2012 and was also a member of the Scientific Commission at the WR until 2018. She has profound knowledge of the German, European and international scientific system, as well as extensive experience of collaboration with parliamentary committees and science policy institutions - not only as the chair of commissions for evaluations and new research buildings, but also as a member or chair of university hospital location appraisal boards, including those located outside of Germany.

Claudia Eulitz
Acting speaker and head of Press, Digital and Science Communication