During the past four years, Freie Universität has successfully implemented its institutional strategy “International Network University” and has expanded its network in the areas of research development, internationalization, and the promotion of young researchers.
The three strategic centers founded in 2007 are important parts of the institutional strategy. They are the Center for Cluster Development, the Center for International Cooperation, and Dahlem Research School.
The Center for Cluster Development strengthens research at Freie Universität, promoting the methodical development of interdisciplinary research foci, the so-called focus areas. Until now, five focus areas have been established at Freie Universität, all of them devoted to questions highly relevant to society.
Concurrently, CCD develops and establishes new tools for outstanding research. In October 2011 Freie Universität, cooperating with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, hosted the international conference “Planning Research for the Future?”
The Center for International Cooperation has expanded the international network of Freie Universität and strengthened the university’s position as an important player in the globalized world of higher education. The basis for this is the network of seven liaison offices in central regions of the world, established as part of Freie Universität’s institutional strategy. The CIC and the liaison offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Moscow, New Delhi, New York, and Sao Paulo advise and support researchers of Freie Universität and their partners worldwide in questions regarding international research cooperation. The offices recruit international students and postdocs. A specific set of measures was developed to promote international mobility for doctoral students and researchers.
One example of the successful work of the CIC is the university’s privileged partnership with the China Scholarship Council (CSC). Another is the closing conference of the German-Russian Year of Education, Research and Innovation to be held at Freie Universität during the summer of 2012.
Dahlem Research School successfully sets university-wide standards for structured doctoral programs: by now, the number of these programs has risen to 20. Beyond professional competence in their respective fields, doctoral candidates require key skills in order to be successful in the international field of higher education – DRS teaches these skills. Additionally, DRS offers support, advice, and service for doctoral candidates. To facilitate a smooth transition into new surroundings, international doctoral candidates have the opportunity to participate in orientation weeks offered by the DRS Welcome Center.