Kiel University Interfaces

Kiel’s approach - the "Kiel Way"

The CAU submitted its application to become a "University of Excellence" entitled "Kiel University Interfaces". With its application, the CAU followed a special approach - the "Kiel Way". It is based on open-minded dialogue and cooperation between the subjects (interdisciplinarity), as well as fruitful collaborations with the society, politics and business and strategic partners (transdisciplinarity). As Schleswig-Holstein’s state university with a unique excellent research environment infrastructure, outstanding researchers, students and employees Kiel University invites everybody to come together – at the campus, the city and the region.

The CAU as a University of Excellence

As a pluralistic and research-intensive university offering the full spectrum of academic disciplines, Kiel University has pursued an unusual path of internal differentiation over this past decade. This profiling process emerged from the concentration and interconnection of disciplinary knowledge spaces, the Interfaces. The resulting design of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teaching formats and of integrative research agendas laid the foundation for the university’s success in the Excellence Initiative. Kiel is now ready to become a University of Excellence of a new kind; the CAU counts on gaining and training early career researchers as future minds, on equality and on promoting individual talents who will considerably shape the cultural transition of science to inter- and transdisciplinarity.

Opening up new areas, building bridges, supporting people

To support these individuals, to advance their careers and to open up new areas of knowledge together with them, Kiel University will create ‘Ermöglichungsräume’ (enabling spaces), which will accelerate trans-faculty research cultures. These spaces enable encounters and exchanges among disciplinary academic cultures and promote their joint research activities.

For Kiel University, creating interfaces is the key to its success, and will also remain its particular strength in the future. Interfaces open up areas and build bridges - for example, between individual research groups, disciplines and faculties, but also between the CAU, our society, politics and business.

Driving innovation in the region

With various architectural, structural and personal measures, the CAU aims to support the emergence of new interfaces for all its members. The prerequisite for this is that the people have the opportunity to meet each other, to exchange ideas - and are given the space, as well as the facilities, to jointly develop innovative approaches and follow new paths. The university management supports them here.

With this, Kiel University also assumes the role of a key driver for innovation in the region, implementing a wide variety of measures aimed at collaboration with society. Over the next few years, the CAU will define a new townscape through its campus-city construction developments (Kiel.Science.City). Through this, they will stimulate knowledge transfer on all levels, from shared meeting spaces to intellectual discourse and new participation opportunities.

The path to the Excellence Application

Success in the Excellence Strategy

As one of only 19 top German universities, the CAU received the approval for two Clusters as part of the German Excellence Strategy: "Precision Medicine in Chronic Inflammation" and "ROOTS - Societal, Environmental and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies”. They will receive funding of around 100 million Euros up to 2026. The announcement in September 2018 which collaborative research projects will be funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) was also the green light for the CAU’s application to become a University of Excellence, the second funding line of the Excellence Strategy.

Kiel University Interfaces - a joint process

The design of the application itself also followed the guiding principles of the Kiel Way. It is the result of a long collaborative process, involving various groups at the university. Starting with a big kick-off event in September 2016, followed by brainstorming and cross-section groups, and campus-wide information and participation events, the application was formed by a permanent dialogue between the university management, committees, status groups, institutions and numerous participating university members.

The highlight along the way was the Excellence Workshop on 13 June 2018, in which all members of the university - from the technician to the president, from the student right through to the chancellor - were called upon to contribute ideas for an excellent CAU. In accordance with our motto: only by working together we can think beyond existing borders, and overcome them. Over 300 ideas were collected on this day, each of which was discussed and reviewed individually by the University Board. Some of them were subsequently discussed in specially-created analysis groups, with relevant experts and idea generators. For the university management, the exchanges within the entire university was an important part of the design of the application and will be continued in future to implement first ideas.


Project of the Month

Many ideas of the Excellence Workshop that could not be incorporated into the application will be pursued further. This gave rise to the »Project of the Month«. Every month, one of the ideas that have already been implemented, is presented to the CAU university members on the intranet. In the spirit of the CAU’s application to become a University of Excellence titled »Kiel University Interfaces«, these projects give rise to new opportunities for scientific dialogue and collegial teamwork between all university members.

To the project of the month (Uni-Intranet)

The inspection of the CAU in spring 2019

Following the submission of the application on December 10, 2018, there will be an inspection of the university premises on 1 and 2 April 2019 by a 21-member review panel. Numerous university members – students, early career researchers, employees and professors – will present our Kiel Way to the review panel here on site.




Project management

Pascal Sadaune
Head of the Strategy and Planning department


Project team: