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Internationalization Strategy of the University of Potsdam 2015 - 2019

Photo: Jesko Habert

The University of Potsdam is a young academic institution at a location rich in tradition – a place associated with Voltaire’s and La Mettrie’s ideas of Enlightenment as well as scientific research in the nineteenth century. The UP views internationalization as an integrated part of its overall strategy and as a cross-sectional task that is managed by the University’s administration and supervised by the Advisory Board of Internationalization. The process of internationalization contributes to further enhancing quality and competitiveness in research, teaching and studying at the University of Potsdam. It also promotes an international mindset, intercultural exchanges, and a welcoming culture on the University’s campuses. Eventually this will make the University of Potsdam more visible and attractive in a European and global context.

From 2015 to 2019, the University of Potsdam will pursue two major strategic goals:  

Campus International

Campus International comprises all facets of creating a welcoming culture for scholars, students and non-academic staff, thereby sustainably improving the attractiveness of the University of Potsdam as a place to study and conduct research. 

Priority regions and Strategic Partners

Priority regions¹ combine international experience and focal activities at the University of Potsdam in order to facilitate international exchange and cooperation by establishing harmonization and coordination frameworks as well as increasing the number of members of the University who benefit from them. Strategic partnerships are tied to the University's strategic development goals. They provide institutional support through exchange of knowledge and experience, common development of concepts and programs, raising third-party funds, international benchmarking, and networking. 

¹ The UP's priority regions: Australia, France, Israel, Poland, Russia, Turkey, the USA, and Central and South America and Southern Africa.

These strategic goals will be implemented in the following three areas of activity.

1. Area of Activity: Study and Teaching

Foreign mobility will be increased significantly in order to prepare students for an international labor market. The curricula will be complemented by structured mobility windows in order to increase the share of internationally mobile students at the UP to 30%. The University of Potsdam strives to make study-related stays abroad a standard part of courses. It will also facilitate the transfer of credits and make custom-fit agreements with other universities.

Special value is attributed to foreign language skills and intercultural competences, participation in international E-learning projects, and increasing mobility among lecturers, who will then pass on their experiences to their students. These are important components of the Internationalization at Home portfolio for all students.

We plan to increase the proportion of international students at the University of Potsdam to 15% as well as improving their success in pursuing a degree significantly. Counseling and assistance of international students and PhD students (who are not in structured programs) at the University of Potsdam will be improved to ensure an internationalized culture of assistance for preparing and beginning your studies, as well as academic advice while you complete them. The National Code of Conduct regarding International Students is the binding guideline for university studies and assistance to foreign students. To make the University of Potsdam increasingly attractive for international students, we intend to offer more English-language lectures and seminars, new English-language Master programs, dual-degree programs, and fast-track doctoral procedures.

2. Area of Activity: Research, Knowledge and Technology Transfer

The University of Potsdam is establishing its position first and foremost in leading international research with its four research foci Cognitive Sciences, Earth Sciences/Integrated Earth System Analysis, Functional Ecology and Evolution, and Plant Genomics and Systems Biology. The cooperation of the interdisciplinary pearls – Potsdam Research Network with several extramural research institutions has created a scientific and academic environment that provides an excellent context for the University’s internationalization. The University of Potsdam will expand its regional networking with extramural research institutions, as well as small and medium-size enterprises, and continue networking with universities worldwide for international collaborative research. The University of Potsdam, with its strong background in research, will assume a leadership role in such a network. It will also intensify its activities in the context of national and international research support to increase the University’s image and presence.

The structures within the Potsdam Graduate School (PoGS) that support the promotion of international and young academics are being developed continuously while integrating local particularities and strengths. Moreover, the University of Potsdam seeks to increase its international knowledge and technology transfer activities with the priority regions that play a special role in this regard.

3. Area of Activity: Management and Services

Reliable data on the University’s current internationality provides important information for further action, and the availability and quality of data should be increased. Gathering reliable information is meant to benefit both the University administration (cooperation talks with visiting delegations, trips abroad) and the researchers who can get targeted centralized funding for their cooperation activities in priority countries. The international commitment of lecturers will be compensated by deducting teaching and supervisory services from their teaching hours.

The University of Potsdam is committed to giving more foreign students the chance to study at the University and is therefore advocating new corresponding statutory regulations. The University is fulfilling its responsibility by developing and implementing the concept of a “University College.” This is meant to ensure the number of first-year students in the long term, will contribute to the skilled workforce, and will strengthen the national economy through international efforts (“brain circulation”). The recruitment of new students concentrates Master’s and PhD students, with a focus on online marketing. The University also aims to promote international research marketing and involve international alumni in marketing campaigns.

The University of Potsdam is striving to internationalize its administrative staff and management processes to advance Internationalization at Home and create an attractive, supportive, and productive environment for international researchers and students alike.

The University is seeking to increase its attractiveness for highly qualified academics in several ways: by applying for an EU certificate for ”Human Resources Excellence in Research” (HRS4R); by improving career planning for researchers during all stages of their careers; and by assuring quality in the University’s HR management.

                                                                                                    (Adopted by the Senate of the University of Potsdam on 25th of March 2015)


Assistant to the Vice President for International Affairs, Alumni and Fundraising


Campus Am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
14469 Potsdam