TU München: TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS)
The TUM INSTITUTE FOR ADVANCED STUDY is a direct consequence of the quality project innovaTUM-2008 which was launched on December 7, 2004. In a university-wide, bottomup process, the dual aims of innova-TUM-2008 are to reinforce TUM’s existing strengths and establish new communities of excellence by restructuring academic programs (such as Life Science Engineering and several others). To this end, the university community is participating in a competitive process, during the course of which approx. 10% of the total resources will be allocated to the core competences, as identified by an external peer-review process in 2005.
The formal approval of the TUM Supervisory Board to register the institute as a cross-faculty legal entity was given on July 13, 2005 and confirmed shortly afterwards by the Bavarian Ministry of Research, Science and the Arts. From the point of view of Technische Universität München, the IAS setting is particularly desirable and attractive in terms of the vision to achieve a special community that is held together by a common intellectual dialogue.
At first glance, a Technical University may look like a perfectly uniform academic culture, but this is obviously not the case. Firstly, engineering and natural sciences follow different research approaches that are clearly associated with different trains of thought. Medicine has yet another research culture, depending on whether the thematic focus is more on the science side (such as tumor research) or on the engineering side (such as instrumentation, tissue engineering, etc.). The second, more serious aspect is that, to our way of thinking, a truly modern Technical University warrants the intellectual “backbonding” of the new, increasingly complex technologies to the Humanities and Social Sciences. This process would not be possible without the contribution of outstanding experts in their respective fields, The TUM Institute for Advanced Study nor without the scholarly implementation of such issues on a high, intellectually demanding level. University is exactly the right forum to exercise this dialogue by virtue of coherent thematic research.
The TUM-IAS starts off as an experiment: little is known so far as to how science, engineering and medicine can efficiently interact in an Advanced Study setting of the traditional type. Engineers normally depend on properly organized research teams with individually specialized topics (e.g. energy research, information technology). As a rule, interaction with industrial research laboratories has to be taken care of, frequently as part of the day-to-day routine. For this reason, well-developed management skills are essential. In many cases, the situation has become similar in the natural sciences, particularly in new, cuttingedge fields of research such as biophysics, biomaterials science and engineering, nanotechnology, genomics and metabolomics. On the other hand, TUM has systematically improved its interdisciplinary agenda, with new areas like the cience sector (including the new 20 MW-Neutron Research Source), building chemistry and building physics, nutritional medicine and biomedical engineering being typical of this strategy. The university is accordingly well prepared now to focus on the most outstanding faculty and give them generous support in TUM-IAS thematic research alliances and, eventually, as TUM-IAS Fellows. Proven disciplinary excellence, interdisciplinary capability and a convincing personality as dedicated academic teacher are clearly the key prerequisites for being elected as a TUM-IAS Fellow.
The interaction with distinguished researchers from outside – typically the Alexander von Humboldt Research Awardees – and with exceptionally talented, aspiring junior
scientists, predominantly on the post-doctoral and the PhD level, in a common effort is the main objective of TUM-IAS.
Regarding its concept, the Institute challenges an extraordinary level of interdisciplinary research for the most distinguished TUM scientists but, at the same time, becomes attractive to brilliant senior and junior Fellows from outside and from other disciplines. This sets the scene for a scientific dialogue that goes beyond disciplinary borders