Internationalization - Strategy 2025

Strategy 2025 - Internationalization

LIGHT, LIFE, LIBERTY - Connecting Visions
Internationalization - Strategy 2025
Graphic: Liana Franke


Excellence and competence in research and teaching can be found all over the world. The performance, attractiveness and reputation of a university therefore depend on its international networks.
The University of Jena sees internationalism and diversity as an enrichment and a resource, the
use of which represents significant added value for research, teaching and studies, as well as far
innovation and transfer. By being open to students, teachers, and researchers from all over the world
and valuing them, we make a significant contribution to the success of building networks and an
international profile.


Strategy 2025—Internationalization of the University of Jena builds on what has been established and opens up new fields of activity. It is guided by the following principles, which are anchored in themission statement and core strategies de:

  • The University of Jena sees itself as partof a national and international knowledge community  (research strategy de).
  • The University of Jena understands internationalism, inclusion and diversity to be the basis of its lively and innovative community (mission statement).
  • The University of Jena bears social responsibility in a globally networked world and contributes to solving global problems of the future through science and education
  • These principles form the framework for the University of Jena’s image of itself as a university that is active on the international stage. With the objectives and measures described as follows, it tackles challenges, strengthens international networks of thought and action, and positions itself even more firmly in a world that is in constant change.
  • The University understands internationalization as a broad task that encompasses all of its members and associates. It is a continuous process that is visible and effective both internally
    and externally.
  • In organizational terms, the topic of internationalization is embedded in the International Office as a supporting institution with a stimulating role and a wide range of coordination tasks. The International Office’s management coordinates continuously with that of the University. The entire team works closely together with faculties, institutes, administration, and committees.

Challenges, Goals and Measures

In 2013, the University of Jena underwent an audit by the German Rectors’ Conference on the status of its internationalization. In the years 2014 to 2020, the resulting recommendations were successively taken up and implemented (expansion of mobility programmes and international cooperation with strong research partners, etc.). The University is building on this positive development with the Strategy 2025—Internationalization. The reports of the faculty advisory boards, which are made up of external academics, were also included in the further development of the fields of activity


As a medium-sized German university not situated in a major city, the University of Jena has to stand out through exceptional performance in research and teaching, a state-of-the-art research infrastructure and good living conditions in order to attract excellent researchers and students from around the world. This poses the following challenges, which the University addresses in its Strategy 2025:

While the University of Jena is very well-positioned internationally in various disciplines, its visibility as an institution and that of Jena as an academic lo-cation and a science hub is still comparatively low.
Strengthening the University’s profile and the international visibility of its research achievements and teaching programmes is therefore essential for it to be perceived as an attractive location for research and study, and as a cooperation partner.

A cosmopolitan university needs a framework that supports its international orientation. This requires professional and key competences at all levels—among students, researchers, teaching staff and other employees—, which must be promoted. Structures, administrative procedures and services must be designed in such a way that they also reach international users and give them guidance. In order to meet these challenges, the University of Jena has set itself the following goals:

Goal 1

Expand networks – strengthen international positioning


International Recruitment

The international appeal of the University of Jena is based on the excellence and the international orientation of its academic staff. For this reason, the recruitment of outstanding personalities is fundamental to enhancing its international visibility and profile.

International Cooperationen

Bilateral contacts with international peers are an essential prerequisite for establishing sustainable and strategic partnerships with high-performing universities. The establishment and development of international cooperative partnerships will be strengthened at the following levels:

  • Promotion of individual and project-related exchanges and mobility of students, doctoral candidates, lecturers, researchers and staff (e.g. support of existing projects and initiation of new cooperative partnerships, targeted use of funding programmes of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Jena Excellence Fellowship Programme, expansion of funding offers through Erasmus+ and other programmes)
  • Promotion of subject-related, institutional partnerships that support topic-based renewal and innovation in research, teaching and transfer (e.g. support for scientists at the University of Jena in the initiation of international research and transfer projects, such as in Horizon Europe; seed funding)
  • Promotion of institutional profile partnerships with a structural orientation, which are designed for the long term and usually cover several disciplines (e.g. further tapping the potential of the EC2U Alliance, cooperation with the German Centres for Research and Innovation, support in expanding joint master’s programmes with prestigious partners

The University of Jena is also committed to capacity building, especially in the Global South. Know-ledge transfer projects serve to build sustainable education and research structures and thus to establish sustainable partnerships (e.g. development of an Africa strategy).

International Marketing

International networking, positioning and recruit-ment are accompanied by appropriate marketing measures that communicate the unique selling points of the location as well as its internationalism and cosmopolitanism as the essence of the brand:

  • The expansion of the international alumni network and the inclusion of graduates and research alumni in an ambassador strategy are therefore being pursued in all phases and at all levels of international marketing.
  • International trade fairs are used in a target group-oriented manner for recruitment at all levels and in a topic-oriented manner for research marketing.
  • The University of Jena is driving forward the establishment of the JenaVersum network, together with scientific institutions and companies engaged in research, based in the region and the city of Jena. Joint international marketing of the location is being developed with the JenaVersum as the key player. 
  • Participation in and evaluation of international rankings is increasingly used for benchmarking.


In order to support the initiation of cooperative partnerships and the acquisition of funds for international projects, collaboration between the Service Centre for Research and Transfer and the International Office will be intensified. Advisory concepts and formats will be coordinated.

Goal 2

Create an international, cosmopolitan campus — expand internationalization@home


Bilingual Campus

In order to promote multilingualism and linguistic diversity, a language policy will be developed and implemented, which will indicate ways to expand a bilingual campus (e.g. expanded range of foreign language teaching for all members and associates of the University).

Intercultural Competence and practical Experience

The University of Jena is designing an ›Intercultural and International‹ certificate programme as a further training measure to support employees from all areas in their daily work and in dealing with the requirements of an international and intercultur-ally oriented university. Stays abroad should also be offered as part of the programme.

The University of Jena prepares its students for the challenges of a constantly changing world by teach-ing language skills and offering them the opportuni-ty to gain intercultural and practical experience:

  • The range of international or cooperative degree programmes and English-language courses will be expanded. To this end, a structured potential analysis is to be carried out with the faculties and the disciplines.
  • The University of Jena will set up a visiting lecturer programme, designing it in an attractive
    way by making the stays more flexible in terms of time and by including virtual components. The integration of visiting lecturers into teaching provides students with international insights and, at the same time, it promotes in the cultivation and expansion of long-term cooperation with partner universities.
  • Students will be further encouraged to take advantage of stays abroad. To this end, the available options will be widely advertised and advice and support will be continuously available in the various disciplines. Care will be taken in design-ing the curricula to ensure that the structure of the programmes allows for mobility periods, so that time spent at a university abroad can easily be integrated into the standard period of study. A transparent system for recognizing qualifications ensures reliability.
  • The acquisition and transfer of practical experience will be supported through the expansion of structured internship offers at companies and organizations abroad (e.g. through the certificate programmes Zertikap and EC2U Career Certificate).

A Welcoming Culture

A welcoming culture is a prerequisite for international exchanges and for attracting excellent students, researchers, staff and visitors. Existing services will be expanded and structurally strengthened by creating networks within and outside the University. A university-wide coordinated welcome concept is being developed.

A Welcome Centre for international fellows will be created in the FORUM commu-nication centre (completion in 2024) in the immediate vicinity of the University Main Building. Flats are also planned for the accommodation of international visitors.

Together with the International Study Centre Thüringen and the Ernst Abbe Uni-versity of Applied Sciences, the University of Jena is creating the necessary framework for establishing a Jena Studienkolleg (institution providing university preparatory courses). This institution will expand the options for applicants who have acquired their university entrance abroad, by offering on-site courses, thus strengthening the direct ties of the Studienkolleg students to the University of Jena.

Internationalization - Digitalization 

A digital platform will be set up which will promote self-organized learning communities and language partnerships. This will support networking as well as sub-ject-related and social exchanges between students and, in particular, it will help international students to integrate better into everyday university life.

A Roadmap for Erasmus without Papers is being developed and will be imple-mented by 2025. This will provide students, researchers and staff participating in Erasmus programmes with quick and easy access to information and documents. The administrative processes will become more efficient.

Appendix: International Profile

The University of Jena has bilateral cooperation agreements with around 200 universities and scientific institutions in more than 50 countries. Through the European Union’s Erasmus programme and other exchange programmes, the University of Jena supports the worldwide exchange of students, researchers and staff with around 300 foreign universities. It belongs to a number of inter-national associations. In 2020, together with six Europe-an universities, the University of Jena formed the alliance ›European Campus of City-Universities‹ (EC2U), which is funded by the EU, BMBF-DAAD (Federal Ministry of Education and Research / German Academic Exchange Service) and the Free State of Thuringia as part of the European Universities initiative.

With its range of study programmes and support ser- vices, the University of Jena attracts students from all parts of the globe. Nearly one in six students at the University of Jena currently comes from abroad and more than 100 nationalities are represented among the students. The University offers more than 20 international degree programmes that specifically recruit students from abroad, such as the Max Planck School of Photonics with its integrated Master’s / Doctoral programme. Alongside attractive study conditions and services, students in Jena also appreciate the many opportunities to get together, for example at the International Centre ›Haus auf der Mauer‹ (House on the Wall).

Particularly noteworthy is the international focus of Jena’s graduate schools (e.g. Jena School for Microbial Communication, Jena School of Molecular Medicine, Abbe School of Photonics, Max Planck School of Photon-ics). Under the umbrella of the Graduate Academy of the University of Jena, the Jena Alliance Life in Focus (fund-ed by the Carl Zeiss Foundation) coordinates the interna-tional recruitment of doctoral candidates and connects the above-mentioned graduate schools in a network. Applicants from all over the world take part in the highly competitive procedures. The Graduate Academy also offers international doctoral candidates, who currently make up around 43% of the total, as well as post-docs, a
wide range of support and advisory services, and qualifications.

Scientists at the University of Jena participate in large international research networks and have coordinated 11 European projects within the Horizon 2020 programme. National programmes, such as the Excellence Cluster Balance of the Microverse, the iDiv research centre, and seven Collaborative Research Centres coordinated by Jena scientists, also help enhance the international visibility of the University of Jena. In recent years, there has been a stronger focus on appointments of professors from abroad. Between 2015 and 2020, 18 foreign professors were appointed by the University of Jena; their share of the appointments since then is 11.8%