International activity runs deep in the DNA of Goethe University. Founded in 1914 as a civic institution the University’s engagement with the general public, the private sector, government, and other universities extends well beyond national borders. From student exchange to collaborative research projects and strategy learning, Goethe University’s international activity contributes directly to its ambitious goals in teaching, research and third mission. As a founding member of German U15, the association of Germany’s leading research universities, Goethe University is an active member of numerous international associations and networks such as the European University Association, the GATE Germany consortium and the ERASMUS+ network. Goethe University maintains partnerships and collaborative projects with around 700 universities in more than 80 countries across the globe. This includes 280 institutions within the ERASMUS+ programme. The Goethe Globe (link below) provides a comprehensive overview of partnerships and joint projects.
At nearly 8,000 international students from some 150 countries, Goethe University is home to one of Germany’s largest international student populations. Every year, Goethe University sends and receives up to 900 exchange students. The Frankfurt Summer School has become a trademark since its inception in 2014, welcoming close to 100 international students every year. These international students are supported by a comprehensive set of services from application to transition to the labour market, including orientation, advice on housing and welfare, and an intercultural competencies programme. In keeping with its mission to support civic society Goethe University was one of the first higher education institutions in Germany to establish a dedicated academic pathway programme for refugees.
Ever since Goethe University regained its status as an autonomous institution (Stiftungsuniversität in German) in 2008, the close relationship between city and university has been firmly reinstated. Indeed, Goethe University’s network of strategic partnerships is built upon the connection between university and city. With political support from the City of Frankfurt, Goethe University has established a set of seven strategic partnerships that share this commitment to fostering relationships between the city and its higher education institutions: the University of Birmingham, Charles University Prague, Fudan University, Osaka University, the University of Pennsylvania, Tel Aviv University and the University of Toronto. All of these partners are world leaders in research and teaching, and most are located in global economic hubs with which the City of Frankfurt or State of Hesse have special relationships.
At Goethe University, international partnerships are not optional add-ons, but contribute directly to the quality of research, teaching and university management. For example, academics from partner institutions teach in the Frankfurt Summer School engage in collaborative research projects that have yielded breakthrough results and prominent publications, and jointly supervise PhD students who are awarded degrees from both institutions (co-tutelle). The strategic partners also serve as points of reference for university strategy and management. Goethe University is engaged in the exchange of best practices on issues such as diversity and equal opportunities, staff development, and research support services. Goethe University secured € 1.25 million in competitive DAAD funding to further develop its strategic partnerships. More than 80 joint research projects have been funded, as well as several bilateral conferences and workshops and a multi-strand annual summer school at Goethe University. In their exchange of students and scholars, the partners offer innovative formats ranging from individual research internships for advanced bachelor students to visiting scholar opportunities.
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