Mission Statement of Paderborn University

Paderborn University is a mid-sized research university in Germany. We view ourselves as an institution for research and education, which vouches for the communication of liberal, democratic, and social values, with the aim of encouraging all University members to positively impact the future. Due to the history of our University and its evolved disciplinary structure, we are in a particularly good position to critically and reflectively accompany as well as constructively co-create upcoming tasks in society, economy, academia, and culture.

It is our mission to comprehensively fulfil the guiding principles and diverse tasks of the university as an institution in today's society on the basis of a common set of values:

  • a high quality of research characterised by the pursuit of knowledge, the reassessment of apparent certainties and criticism of established patterns of thought;
  • the freedom and scope of research: the University is equally characterised by fundamental research, which opens up new room for thought, and application-oriented research, which addresses the concrete needs of society;
  • education as a complex and multi-layered process in which the individual and their individual needs and abilities are central;
  • teaching as a demanding principle, which is not accomplished by transmitting knowledge, but which encourages independent thinking and is closely linked to the ethos of research, which promotes intellectual curiosity and the joint and unbiased construction of knowledge;
  • interdisciplinarity as a university-wide practice, which takes into account the increasing complexity of current and future research questions and is based on the diversity of disciplines, the acknowledgement of individual disciplinary expertise and different disciplinary cultures;
  • the expansion and promotion of regional, national, and international cooperation in research and teaching, as academia bridges spaces and borders, and is, per se, transnational;
  • a good and sustainable culture of dialogue and discussion: for us, university is a place where controversial negotiations and conflicts, however uncomfortable, naturally occur and can be dealt with and where mutual recognition and openness towards the variety of positions can be expressed in an exemplary and effective way;
  • orientation around guiding social principles: we want to shape our University as a space where social participation, tolerance, gender equality, and inclusion, as well as appreciation of diversity are made possible through collective efforts;
  • the goal of further developing all areas of the University in a climate-friendly and sustainable manner, as well as ensuring that all employees experience positive and family-friendly working conditions.

In order to meet these diverse requirements and take on the responsibility they entail, we strive to create Paderborn University as an open space in which social encounters between the individual member groups as well as a lively exchange with society are experienced.

To achieve this, we rely on our strengths:

  • the intensive interdisciplinary cooperation, which is based on outstanding and wide-ranging fundamental research and is exemplified in the cross-faculty key research areas: "Intelligent Technical Systems", "Optoelectronics and Photonics", "Sustainable Materials, Processes and Products", "Digital Humanities", as well as "Transformation and Education". Thus, we focus on cutting-edge research on site and generate both national and international appeal;
  • the dynamic structure of a young university: Paderborn University is quick to respond to current trends in the academic and research landscape and is constantly developing its range of studies in view of current challenges;
  • comprehensive networking: we pay particular attention to balancing regional networking with the business hub OWL and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on the one hand – and the broad network of national and international relations on the other;
  • great expertise concerning the transfer of knowledge and technology: this is reflected, for instance, in numerous application-driven cooperations and a thriving start-up mentality and culture, which places us among the frontrunners nationwide. This establishes our University as a place where the borders of academic and economic spheres are transcended by achieving social efficacy;
  • the scientific use, research, and development of digitalisation processes: we take into account both the technical dimensions of this highly relevant and continuously evolving field, as well as the accompanying social transformation processes and challenges, which we critically reflect upon, i.e., regarding communication structures, the acquisition of knowledge, education, and equal opportunities;
  • a way of teaching, which is stimulating and research-oriented, while also being accompanied by quality-assuring reflection processes and which opens up new horizons for students and academic teaching staff in numerous national and international partnerships. Our profiled teacher training which is coordinated by the PLAZ-Professional School sets a good example by fostering creative projects;
  • future opportunities being created in terms of social justice, especially for first generation students. This is complemented by the sustainable support of early career researchers as a central, futureoriented commitment: this is realised via an extensive range of guidance counselling, as well as information services and support programmes for all career stages, addressing individual needs and potentials.

In accordance with our University’s identity, we want to:

Seize opportunities – by exploring the potential of academic knowledge and productively using it on a variety of levels: a) in a concrete sense, e.g., by researching the digital transformation, for instance, with regard to the development of innovative conceptual solutions for climate change, in the field of mobility, or with regard to social aspects, b) in the sense of analysing and shaping universal social and economic issues, and c) in the sense of critically questioning established ways of thinking as a prerequisite for the development of a boundary-transcending mentality.

Drive innovation – by shaping the future with research: discovering new spaces for research and teaching, opening up innovative opportunities for academic inter- and transdisciplinary collaboration, and conducting targeted research into solutions and perspectives for current and future challenges facing our society, economy, and culture.

Take responsibility – by living up to our mission of excellence and diversity in research, teaching and education, as well as transfer of knowledge, thus fulfilling the complex set of roles of a university in today's world. It is our mission to realise the active dialogue between research and society and to fulfil the resulting responsibility and self-obligation of academia.