President Looks Back on a Successful Year

Press release from
© Michael Matthey/LUH

More than 1,000 guests attend New Year’s reception at Leibniz University Hannover

Outstanding achievements in 2018 and ambitious plans for the future: at the New Year''s reception of Leibniz University Hannover on Friday 11 January 2019, Professor Volker Epping, President of LUH, reflected on significant university issues in the past year. More than 1,000 invited guests attended the reception; among them were Stefan Schostok (mayor of Hannover), Dr Christian Grahl (mayor of Garbsen), as well as the presidents of various universities.

In his traditional speech, the President expressed his delight at the increasing number of young people interested in studying at Leibniz University Hannover. A total of 29,781 students are currently enrolled at Leibniz University Hannover: "I am very pleased that student numbers have increased for the eighth year in a row."

The approval of four Clusters of Excellence in collaboration with Hannover Medical School (MHH) certainly was the greatest success in 2018. Two of which - "PhoenixD" and "QuantumFrontiers" - are led by Leibniz University Hannover. Furthermore, MHH and LUH are involved as co-applicants in "Hearing4all"; LUH also participates in a Cluster of Excellence led by TU Braunschweig. This paved the way for a joint proposal for the title "University of Excellence" as an Excellence Consortium, which followed in December.

The cooperation agreement between MHH and LUH concluded at the end of 2018 focuses on health research and will allow for an even closer partnership in the framework of the "Leibniz Alliance Hannover". The result of the competition, and whether the Leibniz Alliance Hannover has the potential to become one of eleven Universities of Excellence in Germany, will be announced in July 2019. Furthermore, the consortium aims to establish a leading position in health research through visionary technological innovation and trendsetting approaches in the natural sciences. "We want to attract researchers and students from around the world", says Epping. "In order to achieve this goal, we must implement sustainable structures that encourage innovation and demonstrate considerable flexibility regarding future change processes." This would also be beneficial for Hannover as a science hub. An essential prerequisite for this is a well-functioning infrastructure.

Since January 2019, Leibniz University Hannover holds the capacity to plan and implement building projects. In this capacity, the university is responsible for all construction projects, which ensures a more time- and cost-efficient building process. LUH already submitted building applications for a number of construction projects that will be realised in the coming years. This was an important step, since the university lacks much-needed facilities for students and researchers. In some cases, it is no longer possible to fill vacant professorship positions because there are not enough rooms and laboratories. "This is unacceptable for one of the most renowned universities in Germany", exhorts the President. Naturally, this is also a question of resources. Costs for labour and materials have increased significantly; however, the budget for small building activities and building maintenance has remained the same for more than a decade. The State of Lower Saxony provides 4.1 million euros per annum for small construction projects to maintain 174 buildings with a total net floor area of more than 330,000 square metres. In contrast, refurbishment costs currently amount to 344 million euros and continue to rise.

The Hannover Institute of Technology (HITec) opened last year. The research building contains the unique Einstein Elevator, which simulates several seconds of zero-gravity conditions at frequent intervals. This year, another large construction project will be completed: the new mechanical engineering campus in Garbsen will open on 19 September 2019. Furthermore, Leibniz University Hannover received funding for the "scale" in Garbsen. The innovative research building will enable researchers to develop mobile and autonomous manufacturing techniques on a whole new level.

Moreover, Leibniz University Hannover continued its success in the field of teacher training and secured funding in the second round of the German teacher training quality initiative ("Qualitätsoffensive Lehrerbildung").

The university once again proved its popularity with members of the public: in November 2018, A Night Out With Science ("Die Nacht, die Wissen schafft") attracted more than 15,000 visitors - a new record! "Citizens in Hannover and in the surrounding region are increasingly aware that LUH conducts outstanding research", says Epping. However, he emphasised that both the university and the city of Hannover must continue to work on offering more attractive conditions in order to recruit the brightest minds for the university and Hannover as a science hub.

Professor Epping concluded his speech by appealing to policy makers: "Please do not dismiss ideas straight after hearing them or delay them needlessly. Hannover - and that includes you - must tell the world about our great location!"

The complete New Year''s reception speech is available at

Following the President''s speech, the Vice President for Teaching and Academic Programmes, Professor Elfriede Billmann-Mahecha, presented the awards for outstanding teaching. Each award encompasses award money amounting to 5,000 euros.

Professor Katharina Klemt-Albert and Dr Steffen Schiedek receive awards for outstanding teaching 2018

Professor Katharina Klemt-Albert has been head of the Institute of Construction Management and Digital Engineering at Leibniz University Hannover since 2016. Her work focuses on digital transformation and digitisation in the construction industry. These focal areas form the basis of Professor Klemt-Albert''s forward-looking and practical teaching methods. According to members of the student body council of the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Geodetic Science, Katharina Klemt-Albert has a profound interest in the learning success of students.

Dr Steffen Schiedek has been a full-time lecturer at the Institute of Sports Science at the Faculty of Humanities since 2006. In addition, he coordinates the planning of the curriculum and has taken on the role of student advisor at his institute. For more than ten years, his courses have received very positive evaluations from students. Future teachers value the intensive working atmosphere in his lectures, which also include useful insights from practice.


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