Science For A Better World: The JKU’s Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences Turns 50
"We want our research to make the world a better place" – On Friday, the Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences (TN) at the JKU celebrated its 50th anniversary.
"We have a scientific responsibility to society and it can be summed up in one concept: Responsible Technology", explained JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas. "The JKU is forging ahead, fulfilling its mission in a wide variety of disciplines."
Austrian Federal Minister of Education, Science and Research, Univ. Prof. Dr. Heinz Faßmann, congratulated the Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences at the Johannes Kepler University"warmly on this milestone birthday". The Minister added, "Since its inception in 1968, the TN Faculty has developed successfully both quantitatively and qualitatively. Today it is important to focus on a half a century of accomplishments at the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences and celebrate the achievements up to this point together as well as set the course to face future challenges."
Governor Mag. Thomas Stelzer, President of the Linz University Funds, remarked, "The JKU and TN Faculty are magnets that attract forward and lateral thinkers. Our university has played a pioneering role in Austria when it comes to providing unique academic degree programs. Research requires curiosity and interest and innovative research also means unwavering hard and tireless work. I am especially looking forward to celebrating the TN Faculty’s 50th anniversary in celebration for these reasons. The TN’s accomplishments and successes are an important Upper Austria’s success as a location of business and jobs."
The Governor added that many businesses would otherwise be desperately searching for qualified and talented engineers, "The ‘Agenda +25’ program means that the JKU Linz is well prepared to face the future."
University Innovation, Business and Academia Intertwined
MMag, Klaus Luger, mayor of Linz and also the President of the Linz University Funds, remarked, "University-level education and research is a central pillar when it comes to innovation in Linz. The Johannes Kepler University’s Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences plays a key role. Much has happened over the past 50 years and now it is about finding targeted answers to future challenges. Work processes are shifting in an innovation-driven economy. Routine work is increasingly being outsourced or automated, and the added value created through entrepreneurial and technical innovations depends more and more on direct, specific scientific findings."
Accordingly, there is a sharp rise in the number of highly qualified key personnel needed in the area and providing excellent university research and educational programs in the region is more important than ever before. Mayor Luger added that the high quality of engineering programs offered at the JKU and in Linz supports Austria as an attractive location of higher-level education on both a national and international scale.
Deputy Governor and Economic Minister Dr. Michael Strugl, stated, "Business and academia are successfully intertwined and the combination has become a key factor of success in supporting Upper Austria as a location of business. The Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences at the Johannes Kepler University Linz is a prime example of cooperation between Upper Austrian companies and academia." For over 50 years, the TN Faculty has been providing essential research findings that benefit the economy and ensure that regional companies have well-educated STEM graduates at their disposal. In doing so, the TN Faculty plays a key role in countering the shortage of skilled workers in Upper Austria.
Dep. Gov. Strugl added, "This is why the Upper Austrian government is providing the Johannes Kepler University with funds of over 40 million euros between 2018 and 2022, most of the funding focusing on STEM areas, which will in turn benefits the TN Faculty.”
To mark the occasion, Univ. Prof. Heinz W. Engl, Rector of the University of Vienna, acknowledged, "Despite all of the competition, the academic relationship between Upper Austria and Vienna has been, more importantly and correctly so, very close. The competition is not so much between Linz and Vienna, but rather Austria and Bavaria and, more globally, between Europe and East Asia.”. All universities in Austria now face the challenges and opportunities to invest in new things and, at the same time, improve supportive relationships in existing subjects.
Prof. Engl emphasized, "Knowing both the TN Faculty’s development plans as well as the University of Vienna’s plans, I believe that both will - and must - succeed taking advantage of the ‘New University Financing Plan’ in order to strengthen regional competitiveness."
The Art of Engineering in Linz Based on Natural Sciences
JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas added, "A half century of innovative engineering has been based on a foundation of natural sciences. One faculty embodies the concept which today – measured by its accomplishments – were able to also form an independent university.” The TN Faculty combines internationally respected research with outstanding education and theJohannes Kepler University, thus placing ‘Responsible Technology’ at the heart of its strategic plan.
"The subject-specific, interdisciplinary, technological research – such as what is being conducted at the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) – is vitally important to us.” emphasized Rector Lukas. "The diversity of research and teaching skills needs clear perspectives and strong support in order to advance.” The Rector added that the development plan and ‘Agenda +25’ for additional, much-needed STEM students helps to create a strong foundation for the TN’s sustainable development as well as for the other faculties.
Dean Univ. Prof. Norbert Müller pointed out the JKU’s unique nationwide position of his faculty is based on bringing base-knowledge and applied research together under one roof. "Our five subject areas are supported by 58 institutes and over 1,000 employees - 68 of those professors - and are not only traditionally linked closely to the region, but are also well connected within the scientific community and a strong part of the international research landscape." The Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences at the JKU is also home to five Christian Doppler laboratories and two Wittgenstein Award recipients, Univ. Prof. Gerhard Widmer and Univ.-Prof. Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci.
50 Impactful Years – TN Milestones
- 1968: The Faculty of Engineering & Natural Science officially opens at the JKU
- 1969: Start of Austria’s first degree program in Computer Science
- 1977: TN Tower begins operations
- 1987: RISC (Institute for Symbolic Computation) opens its doors
- 1990: Start of the world’s first degree program in Mechatronics
- 2006: Start of the Master’s Degree Program Bioinformatics (Artificial Intelligence)
- 2009: Operations at JKU Science Park 1 begin
- 2015: Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) opens its doors
See: https://www.jku.at/technisch-naturwissenschaftliche-fakultaet/for additional information about the Faculty and the anniversary celebrations.