Internationalization of MINT subjects: The best ideas come from Bavaria and Bremen

Apr 23, 2014
They bring the best students to Germany and make them fit for the world market: The University of Bremen and the Würzburg-Schweinfurt University for Applied Sciences have won the “MINTernational” competition. The objective of this competition is to increase the internationalization of the MINT subjects. The support program is an initiative of the Association for the Promotion of German Science, the Daimler and Benz Foundation and the Daimler Endowment Fund.
Stuttgart/Berlin, April 23, 2014. The winners of the MINTernational competition are the Würzburg-Schweinfurt University for Applied Sciences and the University of Bremen, which succeeded in convincing the jury with their ideas. The two winners will receive a total of 500,000 euros to implement their concepts. The prizes will be awarded at the second “MINT Summit” to be held on May 8 in Berlin.
In order to alleviate the shortage of skilled employees, Germany needs more young people with MINT qualifications from abroad. At the same time, students of MINT subjects have a less international education than in other subjects. The “MINTernational” competition therefore focuses on developing strategies to internationalize students and young scientists in the areas of mathematics, informatics, natural sciences and technology in Germany. In addition, measures are to be taken to attract MINT students and scientists from abroad and to keep them in Germany.
Schweinfurt University would like to achieve this by offering MINT bachelor degree courses in a seven-semester twin program in German and English. German-speaking students will then be able to gradually change over to courses held in English and vice-versa. The jury particularly emphasized the innovativeness and boldness of this approach.
With regard to the University of Bremen, the jury members praised the excellent degree of internationalization of the University as well as the conclusiveness of its development concept. With a clear strategy of internal benchmarking, the University of Bremen aims to establish successful models more quickly across multiple faculties. This involves for example better study preparations for international students and the expansion of double-degree programs.
Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, emphasized the importance of the objectives of the MINTernational competition from the industrial perspective: “Daimler is active around the globe in approximately 150 markets. In order to be successful in such an international environment, one needs a similarly international team. Experience of working abroad and language skills are therefore no longer just “nice to have,” but essential core competencies. MINTernational and the prizewinning universities are making important contributions to the development of these competencies.”
Dr. Volker Meyer-Guckel, Deputy Secretary General of the Association for the Promotion of German Science, praised the concepts of the winning universities: “We need more beacons of internationalization in the German university landscape. Further efforts are definitely required, in particular with regard to the MINT subjects. The universities we have selected as the winners have a dual advantage: They make the strengths of German MINT education visible in the world, and they show other universities the way to more internationalization.”
Prof. Dr. Rainer Dietrich, Member of the Board of the Daimler and Benz Foundation, emphasized the advantage for next-generation scientists: “For young people, it is essential to see the bigger picture during their studies. When they are abroad, they gain great experience and new perspectives, which can give them crucial stimulus for their scientific progress and career. This is where the winning universities have their focus. And this is where we as a sponsor can make an important contribution, with an effect that is sustainable in the best sense of the word.”
The MINTernational competition is part of the education initiative of the Association for the Promotion of German Science and is intended to give more direction and substance to the debate about better education in Germany. To these ends, the Association has for the first time identified key areas for action and quantitative educational targets for universities for the year 2020.