TU9 President Ernst Schmachtenberg: "Something Has to Happen Now, Save the German Universities!"


Politics are already emerging one week after the summer holiday. Enrollments for the new winter semester are already being carried out at universities. "The exact number of first-year students is not yet available, but this we know for certain: More and more young people are pursuing studies, just as politics has hoped for and announced again and again," said Professor. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schmachtenberg: " We are happy to welcome all the young adults who want to learn and do research here. We know that we can only hold our leading position as an export nation in the global competition with the best research and study conditions. Unfortunately, however, the federal states have not been able to equip their universities sufficiently for this global competition for a while now. And a change in the general ban on cooperations, which could help us, is still not in sight."


TU9 had already welcomed the initiative in May 2012 to implement a change in Article 91b of the Constitution during this legislative period. In the future, the federal and state governments shall collectively not only be able to promote projects, but also research and teaching at universities for the long term.

"No substantial steps have been discernible since the announcement that the ban on cooperations would be lifted. Instead of looking for a solution to the problem, bastions for the upcoming Bundestag election have been built. We, the rectors and presidents responsible for the large technical universities in Germany, call upon those in politics to lead the way across party lines to a dialogue and to attain a change in the Consititution during this legislative period. Whoever wishes to appear credible in politics, to work for Germany's innovation ability, cannot remove avoid this question. Something must happen now, save the German universities!"


The Excellence Initiative enables selected universities to expand research focuses with greater international visibility. This successful path can be continued further with the recently completed evaluation and granted projects from the current second round. Unfortunately a long term perspective for this successful program is missing. This perspective however could be made possible with a change in Article 91b of the Constitution.

The reason for this call by the TU9 rectors and presidents is the growing precarious under-financing of universities with growing numbers of students and unclarity about the progress of the Excellence financing.

With their corrected predictions, the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs recognizes a much larger expected increase in the number of first-year students for 2012 to 2025 compared to assumptions until now. According to a preview, the number of first-year students will remain well over 450000 till 2019. This means an increase of about 75000 new students each year, that is about 20 percent more than originally expected.

Education is fundamentally regulated by the individual states in Germany. The budgets of the states hardly offer any room to play in order to bring an improvement to the situation. For many years the state funding allocations for the universities have been cut back or at the best the same in most of the federal states.

Programs in which the federal government may participate, such as the Excellence Initiative, the Higher Education Pact, and DFG programs, are always limited and restricted to certain projects. They are not sustainable. The urgently needed improvement to the basic equipment to joint financing through federal funds has been impeded by the so-called ban on cooperations. How the federal and state governments can successfuly finance science together has been shown in their support for institutions in non-university research. University research and teaching are in danger of falling back in the international competition and of losing their competitive position.

To compare: MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts has 10894 students and a budget of 1956 million Euros. That is about 178000 Euros per head. Imperial College in London has a budget of 868 million Euros for 12665 students. That makes about 69000 Euros per head. ETH Zürich has 17187 students and a budget of about 916 million Euros, making approximately 53000 Euros available per head.

The German technical universities with the strongest external funding have, excluding medicine, less than 20 thousand Euro available for each student. That means that ETH Zürich can invest more than double and MIT nine times as much money in the education of their students.

About TU9

TU9 is the Alliance of Leading German Technical Universities:
RWTH Aachen, TU Berlin, TU Braunschweig, TU Darmstadt, TU Dresden, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, TU München, Universität Stuttgart.

Over 240000 students are enrolled at the TU9 universities, that is about 10 percent of all German students.

In Germany, about 50 percent of university graduates in engineering are from the TU9 universities, about 57 percent of doctoral studies in engineering are pursued at TU9 universities.

Media Contact

Venio Piero Quinque (TU9 Executive Secretary)
TU9 German Institutes of Technology e. V.
Phone: 0049(0)30/ 278 74 76 80
Email: presse@tu9.de