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Präsident gibt Einblick in die Entwicklung der Leibniz Universität Hannover

President Provides Insights into the Development of Leibniz University Hannover

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More than 900 guests attend New Year’s reception

The increasing number of students and successful research projects are both positive and challenging. At the New Year’s reception of Leibniz University Hannover on Friday 10 January 2020, Professor Volker Epping (President of LUH) reflected on significant university issues in the past year. More than 900 guests attended the event. Furthermore, the awards for outstanding teaching in 2019 were presented. Representatives from politics, the industry, academia and the public were present at the reception, including Belit Onay, mayor of Hannover and LUH graduate.

Record number of students

In his speech, the President emphasised that Leibniz University Hannover still registers an increasing number of students – in spite of the national trend. For the first time since 1995, more than 30,000 students are enrolled at LUH. 15 percent of the 30,196 students are foreign nationals.

Participating in the Excellence Strategy

The first quarter of 2019 was shaped by the candidacy for the title University of Excellence. In an intense assessment procedure, an international committee of experts reviewed the joint proposal of LUH and Hannover Medical School (MHH) and provided the partners with extensive advice on their future development. Even though LUH was not awarded the title University of Excellence, this feedback strengthened both the university and its collaboration with MHH – Leibniz Alliance Hannover. President Epping stressed that LUH was more successful than ever in the recent round of the competition: “With two independent clusters, one cluster as co-applicant, as well as participating in another cluster, we were among the top-ranking universities. Following this tremendous success and for the first time ever, we participated in the second round of the competition.” Epping thanked all members of LUH involved in preparing the proposal and emphasised their contribution to a particularly successful year.

Campus Maschinenbau in Garbsen officially opened

Another highlight in 2019 has been the completion of the second construction phase of Campus Maschinenbau in Garbsen. In September, all mechanical engineering institutes were brought together in one location – the moving process from the current locations is still in progress but will be completed before the start of summer semester 2020. Previously, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was spread across the “Nordstadt”, the northern part of the city. “We will now bring together all mechanical engineering facilities and pool our resources in order demonstrate their significance for our university. All involved in the fields are very successful in acquiring third-party funding, extremely innovative, and enjoy an excellent international reputation”, said Epping. The campus in Garbsen continues to grow. The official ground-breaking ceremony for SCALE, a new facility for research on more efficient and more sustainable manufacturing methods for large components, took place on 9 December.

Future construction projects and the debate on sustainability

Over the next few years, LUH will be engaged in a comprehensive building project. Due to the growth in teaching and research, as well as close collaborations with non-university research facilities that intend to establish their premises in close proximity to the university, there are no further spaces available. Together with the city of Hannover, the university therefore intends to create a new campus in the field of optics.

In the course of the worldwide sustainability debate, LUH will also focus on energy efficient reconstruction – a challenge “considering that our reconstruction requirements alone slowly but steadily amount to almost one billion”, said Epping and emphasised: “This brings to mind that sustainability is not only concerned with ecology but also with economics as well as social aspects.” Last year, LUH joined the discourse by establishing “LUH for Future”, a group that supports the objectives of the “Fridays for Future” movement from a scientific perspective.

Rising costs, decreasing funding

Due to the increasing number of students, the university must acquire funding both for its expansion and for successful research. For more than a decade, basic funding provided by the state of Lower Saxony has more or less remained the same. Rising costs, such as for maintaining additional buildings and energy supply, must therefore be compensated by the university via personnel cutbacks. “Right before Christmas and in spite of abundant tax revenues, the federal state parliament resolved reduced expenditure which LUH must also absorb”, said Epping. “Currently, this would mean that the amount of state funding provided for LUH over the next fiscal years will be reduced by one million euros per year.”

The resulting personnel cutbacks pose the risk of falling behind – both in national comparison and in the competition to attract the brightest minds. Nevertheless, the President concluded his speech with a positive outlook. “I am confident that Lower Saxony will keep up with the other federal states and will recognise the worth of its universities by providing sufficient funding”, said Epping. In 2019, Professor Epping was re-elected for another term as President until the end of 2028 following an extensive process.

The complete New Year’s reception speech is available at

Prof. Dr. Veith Mehde and Dr. Florian Leydecker receive awards for outstanding teaching in 2019

Following the President''s speech, the awards for outstanding teaching were presented. Each award encompasses award money amounting to 5,000 euros. Since 2017, the Presidential Board has been granting not one but two awards for outstanding teaching. One is awarded to a professor, another to a member of research staff.

Prof. Dr. Veith Mehde, Mag. rer. publ., held a professorship in public law and administrative sciences at the Faculty of Law of LUH since 2006. His department is part of the interdisciplinary Institute of Governance and Public Policy and the Institute of Administrative Law. Evaluations demonstrated that Professor Mehde''s success is based on his ability to present the subject matter in an interesting and lively manner, therefore inspiring students to delve into the subject of public law.

Although he is a mathematician, Dr. Florian Leydecker has been nominated for the award by students at the Faculty of Economics and Management. He is a member of research staff at the Institute of Applied Mathematics and supervises the practical session as well as various lectures in "mathematics for students in economics". In their nomination proposal students highlighted that "his enthusiasm - both for the subject and for teaching - encourages even those with little interest in the subject material and motivates them to explore the challenging topics of the course".


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