Bird's eye view Campus Boulevard © Peter Winandy  

“Next Generation University” can be considered a search movement: What are the “smart” questions that help advance university research and make science more impactful? In doing so, we zoom in from a systems perspective to everyday university life and look for innovative approaches to change at the level of the entire science system, the institutional level, as well as at the personal level.

Two major overarching themes are initially at the focus of the initiative:

“What might a new ‘togetherness’ look like?” (Orchestration)

  • How do we shape fertile landscapes from universities, other research institutions, and companies? (Structure)
  • How do we orchestrate effective collaboration between science, business, and society? (Forms of Cooperation)
  • What skill do we need to teach and develop for this? (Skills)
  • What rules of the game do we need to achieve this? (Legislative framework, funding options)
  • How must universities be positioned financially and in terms of human resources to be able to better integrate orchestrate business, science, and society?

“How do we innovate for tomorrow?”  (Quantum leap innovation capability)

  • How do we identify future trending topics and technologies?
  • How do we support those innovations across the Valley of Death?
  • How do we advance innovative technologies to Technology Readiness Level 9 and secure their market entry?
  • How do we promote translation of research findings to practical applications? (IP/Ownership, Leadership, Fostering a start-up culture, career options)
  • What is the European answer to DARPA – an agency that creates early frameworks for disruptive ‘leapfrog’ innovations?
  • How can universities and the surrounding innovation landscape act in a genuinely sustainable way right from the outset?
  • What skills, mindset, and framework conditions need to be fostered at universities to achieve this? (Autonomy, Radicality, Risk Aversion, Agility, Incentive Systems)

The range of topics covered by Next Generation University will be further developed from within the network of participants. It is supplemented by questions that seem helpful to boldly advance the science system, universities, and all stakeholders involved.