Taking stock and looking ahead, awards and encounters
The University of Lübeck held its 2019 Annual Reception on 25 April. The Executive Board and the Academic Senate welcomed around 250 guests from the fields of higher education, culture, business, and administration, as well as representatives of social groups, the media, and public life. All students and others belonging to the university were also invited. For the third time, the reception was held in the research building of the Center of Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM).
The University President, Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gillessen-Kaesbach, offered an overview of achievements and future plans in her commencement speech “Life in Focus – The University of Lübeck 2019”. She greeted the representatives of the various foundations who were in attendance, and emphasised the importance of their contribution to the successes of the previous months, such as establishing endowed professorships in chronobiology and nutritional medicine: “Without you, the foundations, our university would be a less lively place.”
The president called for decisive and joint commitment to improving the conditions for studying at the university. In light of, in some cases, high student drop-out levels, and in the interest of ensuring the long-term availably of skilled workers for Germany as a centre for innovation, universities, in order to meet their educational duties, must do more to promote and sustain the ability of students to keep studying. Gillessen-Kaesbach also made the case for expanding the university’s propaedeutics programme –which it already successfully offers to refugees hoping to study at the university – to include interested pupils finishing secondary school, with a particular emphasis on the STEM subjects (science, informatics/technology, engineering and mathematics).
In time for the forthcoming 2019/20 winter semester, the university has launched a new master’s programme for the health and healthcare sciences to help ensure that Schleswig-Holstein remains at the forefront of the academisation of healthcare professions.
How the outside world sees the university
In a group discussion, President of the State Parliament Klaus Schlie, Mayor Jan Lindenau and Member of the Bundestag and Federal Government Commissioner for Patients' Affairs Prof. Dr. Claudia Schmidtke looked at how the university is seen by the federal state, the city and on a national level. Current developments in the area of artificial intelligence received particular attention. The university, together with a North German research association, has just progressed to a further, decisive application round for the realisation of a key focus area of innovation.
Prof. Dr. Christopher Baum, who became the University’s first Vice President of Medicine at the start of this year, and Prof. Dr. Heyo Kroemer, Decan of the Faculty of Medicine and spokesperson for the Board of the Georg August University of Göttingen, future board member of the Charité University Hospital Berlin, gave stimulating talks on “Intelligence and Interprofessionality—Researching and Teaching Today”.
Prof. Christopher Baum offered his thoughts on the opportunities and responsibility of the university’s medical faculty under the heading “Digitisation and Interprofessionality”, and established a connection between the data and the diverse range of medical occupations. His conclusion: “Lübeck is the right place to shape medicine's digital transformation in a value-oriented way.”
Prof. Heyo Kroemer discussed recent developments in the field: “We need to recognise disruptive trends and react to them in advance, but above all we have to actively shape trends and the resulting transformation processes. This means more collaboration in interprofessional teams and increased use of information technology, and not only in the medical field. Above all, however, we need a public discussion that engages with this transformation and the ethical questions it gives rise to.”
Honours and Awards
The university bestowed honours on various individuals. Judge Anja Farries, long-serving member of the University’s Ethics Commission, received the university’s award pin for her service. Bernd Saxe, Mayor of Lübeck from 2000 to 2018, was made honorary citizen of the university. He deserves great credit for the status and recognition of the universities in the city, for Lübeck as a city of science, and not least for Lübeck’s fight for its university in 2010.
This year, the Thomas Fredenhagen Prize from the Professor Hans-Heinrich Otte Foundation and the Mercantile Association of Lübeck were awarded for Transfer and Economic Cooperation. The prize went to Prof. Dr. Gereon Hüttmann from the university’s Institute of Biomedical Optics for his project on optical coherence tomography, while the award for young researchers went to Prof. Dr. Floris Ernst from the Institute for Robotics and Cognitive Systems for the development of an optical localisation system for cranial radiotherapy. Hartmut Richter, Chairman of the Mercantile Association, and Dr. Dietrich Dehnen from the Professor Hans-Heinrich Otte Foundation, awarded the prizes.
Christian Ehlers, Deputy President of the university’s Student Parliament, received the Hendrik Lehnert Prize for Exceptional Student Involvement for his participation in many student bodies and initiatives and in the General Student Committee (AStA), while Kai Hendrik Friese, Esther Glatzel, Lina Jegodzinski, Clara Mergner, and Oskar Pfau received the same prize for their work on the board of the university’s orchestra. The prize was awarded by its founder and the man whose name it carries, former President Prof. Dr. Hendrik Lehnert.
The concluding speech of the Annual Reception was given by AstA Chairpersons Henrike Bäumer and Jonas Schöttlerdes, following some words of special appreciation from the President. Music for the evening was provided by an ensemble from Lübeck Pop Symphonics featuring Hanna Stolte and Martin Hermann, who performed songs by Elton John, Harry Warren and John Lennon. The event ended with a standing reception in the foyer of the CBMM,
and was livestreamed via Facebook, where it is still available.