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8 June 2004

Rector Hommelhoff Elected Spokesman of the Universities and Vice-President of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK)

Rector Hommelhoff to coordinate the voting of 82 universities in the German Rectors' Conference (HRK): "At the moment the discourse on the universities has been given a major fillip. I look forward to the collaboration with all the universities in the HRK from Flensburg to Konstanz and from Aachen to Frankfurt an der Oder"

On 7 June the Rector of the University of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Peter Hommelhoff was elected spokesman of the universities in the German Rectors' Conference (HRK). This confers on Rector Hommelhoff the office of Vice-President of the HRK. He was elected for the period from 1 August 2004 to 31 July 2006.

The spokesman of the universities group coordinates the working sessions and the voting of a total of 82 German universities that are members of the German Rectors' Conference.

The German university landscape is marked by a diversity of different profiles. The coordination of very different interests and standpoints and the spearheading of the universities' voting potential in the various bodies of the HRK is of major significance for opinion formation in the German Rectors' Conference and for the decision-making process that hinges upon it.

Among the institutions of higher education in Germany, the universities account for about 1.48 million students and about 23,000 professors. Universities employ some 145,000 non-professorial academic staff and a further 149,000 employees in the administrative and technical sectors. Accordingly, the total number of staff is close on 300,000 (figures apply to 2001, including university medical institutions).

In sum, the financial resources at the disposal of universities in Germany is reckoned to be in the vicinity of 24,152 billion euros (including medicine and university patient care). Without medicine the university resources add up to 11,255 billion euros.

The universities themselves have acquired a major portion of these resources. 2.8 billion euros of the total sum are accounted for by external funding (including medicine). Leaving out the external funds for medical purposes, the remaining sum is still highly respectable: 2.125 billion euros are at the universities' disposal for research and teaching.

Rector Hommelhoff: "Of course it will be a formidable challenge to coordinate the interests of 82 very different universities, to represent them and to implement them both inside the HRK and over and against other academic and scientific organisations. I am very happy to take on this task, which is as stimulating as it is responsible, and I greatly look forward to constructive collaboration with over 80 colleagues from Flensburg to Konstanz and from Aachen to Frankfurt an der Oder. I promise to be a loyal and committed spokesman for their universities."

With reference to the date on which he will be taking up this office, Hommelhoff said: "Luckily public discourse on the universities has been given a major fillip at the moment. German universities are in an excellent position to train tomorrow's leaders. But we must ensure further improvements in quality, notably in higher education policy and in the financial parameters. Though the range and diversity of Germany's universities already equip them to face up confidently to international competition, there is still room for further enhancement and better positioning, especially at the top of the pyramid. I am greatly looking forward to playing a part in this to the benefit of all universities."

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Walter Kühme
Stabstelle HRK, LRK und hochschulpolitische Angelegenheiten
phone: 06221/544400

Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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