Dieter Schwarz Foundation officially hands over new teaching and research building to TUM at TUM Campus Heilbronn

With a festive ceremony, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the Dieter Schwarz Foundation have officially opened the new TUM Campus Heilbronn building. It is intended for students preparing preparing for management careers in the engineering fields. The focus will be on the study of economic change through digitization, especially in family-owned companies and high-tech start-ups. The foundation has fully endowed 20 new TUM professorships, including 13 in Heilbronn, along with the necessary staff and infrastructure.

The brightly bricked tower becomes the formative structure of the Heilbronn education campus. (Image: J. Häffner / TUM)

The nine-storey new building will characterise the Heilbronn education campus from an urban planning perspective. The Dieter Schwarz Foundation officially handed over the keys to TUM at a festive ceremony today, with guests representing science, business and government in attendance. Between the optimally equipped seminar rooms and offices, the open architecture provides students and researchers with communicative spaces for discussions and the exchange of ideas. TUM will have around 3,000 square meters of working space at its disposal. With the new campus and the digital teaching and research methods offered there, TUM will explore entirely new approaches to management sciences. One such innovation is a virtual reality laboratory where researchers can experience realistic business situations, for example by studying the behavior of managers and learning best practices through simulations.

Germany's top research university in management sciences

Coursework in Heilbronn began in the 2018/19 winter semester with the start of two masters degree programs offered in English. Other programs (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science, post-graduate MBAs, Ph.D. program) are in the planning stages. The TUM School of Management program places strong emphasis on the feedback loops between management and technology. This provides ideal preparation for graduates to work in technology companies. In the Bachelors program on Management of Digital Technologies, students will spend a full semester with the TUM engineering departments in Munich and Garching. In the latest rankings by the respected business weekly WirtschaftsWoche, TUM is the number one research university in management sciences in Germany. The top researcher in the field is the founding dean of the TUM Campus Heilbronn and professor of information systems, Prof. Helmut Krcmar. In Heilbronn, too, the TUM School of Management will remain committed to interdisciplinary research into issues faced in the real world of business, with a strong focus on the economic transformation driven by digitization. Along with start-ups, a key area of interest will be mid-sized family companies, which in the past have received far too little attention from academic researchers.

Heilbronn-Franken – an important high-tech region

"Family-operated high-tech champions are the backbone of the German economy," said Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann, the president of TUM. "In the age of the digital transformation, they will play an even more crucial role. Working on this important subject area in one of the most innovative regions in Europe is an enormous opportunity for researchers and the key motivation behind TUM's decision to open a teaching and research campus in Heilbronn." The sixth TUM location is also a first from a public policy standpoint: Never before has a German university set up a campus in a neighboring state. Building on its success in promoting start-ups in the Munich metropolitan area, TUM aims to boost the dynamism of the Heilbronn region.

Mega-endowment – with no strings attached

In his opening address, president Herrmann made special mention of the impressive feat by the Dieter Schwarz Foundation – a move unparalleled in the history of German academia: "Through the long-term funding for 20 professorships, along with excellent staffing and infrastructure resources, the foundation is setting a shining example, showing how complete trust can be placed in the standards and academic performance of a top university. We have unlimited freedom to choose our own approach and carry out our work. We will not disappoint this remarkable level of trust." The president also thanked the mayor and the people of Heilbronn for the kind and accommodating welcome.