Monday, October 14, 2019:
Rector's Reception and Keynote speech by Pier Luigi Sacco

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On October 14th, 2019 the jubilee week in commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the University of Innsbruck began. For this occasion the International Services, led by Barbara Tasser, organised a very special programme dedicated to the international representatives of the partner universities. Twenty-seven delegations from all over the world, from Canada to Brazil, from France to Italy, from Israel to Ukraine, from Russia to Thailand – just to name a few – took part in these events.

On this first day of the celebration, which took place in the historic Kaiser-Leopold-Saal of the Theology Building, the Rector of the University of Innsbruck, Tilmann Märk, gave a reception to officially welcome all attendees. This was followed by a keynote speech delivered by Pier Luigi Sacco, Professor of Cultural Economics at the IULM University in Milan, on the new European Agenda for culture and its new opportunities for research and policy design. Representatives of the partner universities and of the University of Innsbruck – such as Rectors, Faculty Directors, Deans of Studies, members of the Senate and of the University Council – as well as the Ambassador of Thailand, the Honorary Consuls of Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Luxembourg, Philippines, Poland, and Portugal were in the audience.

In his welcome address, Rector Märk underlined the importance of internationalisation in connection to research, student mobility and exchange: Out of over 27.000 students, around 11.400 students of the University of Innsbruck come from over 100 different countries. Moreover, from its approximately 300 partner universities, the University of Innsbruck hosts around 510 people as part of exchange semesters every year. Internationalisation is a key factor not only within the University of Innsbruck but also in the successful relationship between the university itself and the Region of Tyrol and the City of Innsbruck. Sophia Kircher, member of the Tyrolean Parliament, and Uschi Schwarzl, City Councillor for Cultural Affairs, represented both institutions at the opening ceremony.

A very central part of the evening was Pier Luigi Sacco’s keynote speech. In his talk, he presented the main characteristics of the New European Agenda for Culture and illustrated its potential as a source of new research questions and opportunities and as a policy document that can open up a new perspective for culture as a driver of social impact. In this sense the Agenda for Culture furthers meaningful problem solving on the basis of cultural ramification through active and inclusive participation. He also provided some examples from his own recent research work and discussed future perspectives and openings in the content of the inclusion of culture as a new thematic cluster in the forthcoming Horizon Europe programme.

In the end, a question and answer session followed by a mixer and a buffet gave the attendees time and space for interaction and exchange.

  Video of Pier Luigi Saccos Keynote Speech (Youtube: Universität Innsbruck)

Tuesday, October 15, 2019:
"Question the Future – Insights into the University of Innsbruck" with short presentations, Campus Tours and Reception and Commemorative Ceremony of the 350th anniversary celebrations of the University of Innsbruck

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"Question the Future – Insights into the University of Innsbruck"

This second day of the jubilee week started in the Aula of the University of Innsbruck with the presentation titled "Question the future. Insights into the University of Innsbruck".

In order to deepen the debate with our international guests and present the latest scientific developments within different promising fields of research, we invited six professors of the University of Innsbruck to present their academic work. Under moderation of Andreas Oberprantacher they covered areas from stem cell research, to climate research, from migration studies to digital transformation, quantum information and digital accesses to cultural heritage.

Stem Cell Research and Aging: Frank Edenhofer, founding president of the Austrian Society of Stem Cell Research, Speaker of the Life & Health Science Cluster Tyrol and member of the extended board of the German Stem Cell Network, explored the emerging revolution of biomedicine and answered questions concerning the expectations and hopes directed towards the future of stem cell research. His research group is currently focussing on harnessing the potential of patient-specific brain cells for biomedical application particularly for Alzheimer’s disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Climate Research: Gina Moseley spoke about Geology and its contribution towards tropical, alpine and polar cave research. As one of the University of Innsbruck’s foremost experts on climate change, she focuses on the evolution of the Earth's climate and sea levels as well as understanding the response of permafrost to rapid warming. Gina Moseley has been working at the University of Innsbruck since 2011, first as a postdoctoral researcher, since 2015 as an Austrian Science Fund Hertha Firnberg Fellow, and from 2018 onward as an Ingeborg Hochmair Professor.

Migration Studies: Silke Meyer, professor of European Ethnology at the University of Innsbruck, focuses on the crossroads of European Ethnology and Trans-European migration, within the conflicting or contradictory experiences that come with changes due to migration and refuge. In her post-doc research project on the "Indebted Self. Narrative handling of private insolvency", she analysed stories of personal debt as a way of morally liberating oneself from residual debt. Currently, she is investigating remittances – transfer of money by migrants to people from their countries of origin – and investigating how these funds can also be interpreted as a social practice of participation, influence and nostalgia.

Digital transformation: Rainer Böhme illustrated the opportunities and risks of digital transformation, especially in regard to the future of information security. Moreover, he presented the gaps in research that his work on the strategic approach to cyber risk is promising to close. For his interdisciplinary perspective on information security and privacy, Rainer Böhme enjoys international recognition, and as such, he shapes the technology policy debate in the areas of cyber risk management and cyber insurance.

Quantum Information: Award-winning Barbara Kraus’ main research focuses on fundamental problems within Entanglement Theory und Quantum Information Theory. With her research team, she is working on the development of new theoretical tools in order to characterize entanglement and the complexity of properties in multipartite systems. In the context of her presentation, Barbara Kraus answered the big question regarding the practical consequences and applications that one can expect from theoretical quantum physics in the near future, especially in respect to the field of quantum information theory.

At the end of this first session, Rector Tilmann Märk explained how such projects are reflected in research and teaching at the University of Innsbruck and gave an overview of the organisational framework and conditions that the University offers in order to help scientists realise their research projects. Moreover, he demonstrated his expectations toward the future, especially as far as institutionalized cooperation to further university research is concerned.

After this first session, the group moved to the Historic Reading Room where Günter Mühlberger held the last presentation of the debate.

Access to Cultural Heritage: Günter Mühlberger, who works as Senior Project Manager of the Digitisation and Digital Preservation group at the Department for German Language and Literature at the University of Innsbruck, illustrated the advantages that can be gained from the digital development of cultural heritage. Cultural Heritage and Research Infrastructures for (Digital) Humanities are of particular importance in this context since their shared aim is to create the conditions for Digital Humanities to become reality and for Cultural Heritage to become accessible to an interested public.

Campus Tours

In the afternoon, the team of the International Services accompanied the guests on a University of Innsbruck campus tour. In this way, they gained insight into the different faculties and departments, which are spread out all over the town.

The tour started in front of the main university building, where the law faculty and the office of the Rector is located, and made a stop at the "CCB-building", the Center for Chemistry and Biomedicine of the University of Innsbruck and the Medical University of Innsbruck. There, the Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy, Hubert Huppertz, gave an interesting overview of the building and talked about current research projects.

The tour continued to the technical campus of the university, where the Dean of Studies at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Hans-Peter Schröcker, explained which institutes are located at the campus and gave inside information on several current research projects.

Next stop on the tour was the sports campus called "USI" – the University Sports Institute. Just like the technical campus, the sports campus is located outside the city centre. Thus, there is a lot of room for soccer fields, racetracks, multiple sports halls and an indoor swimming pool.

The last stop of the campus tour was the "SOWI" campus, where Faculty of Business and Management, Economics and Statistics, as well as the Social and Political Sciences are located.

The Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management, Matthias Bank, told the guests from the International partner institutions about the building itself, different teaching programs, new research platforms and some current projects that are carried out with partner universities in different parts of the world. The Dean of Studies, Martin Messner, gave a tour through the "SOWI" campus and showed the guests lecture halls, the computer room and the library.

Last but not least, there was time for an informal get-together at the cafeteria. Refreshments and snacks were provided by the team of the business and management faculty and the guests had time to exchange views and talk about the different facilities, which they had visited this afternoon.

Reception and Commemorative Ceremony

In the evening of October 15, 2019 the historic foundation day of the University of Innsbruck has been commemorated with an artistic and exclusive ceremony at the Tiroler Landestheater. During the celebration, which took place in five acts, different personalities from the political leadership congratulated the University of Innsbruck on its anniversary. While the highest representative of the Republic of Austria and Alumnus of the University of Innsbruck, Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, sent his honourable wishes via video message, other political representatives such as Iris Rauskala (Minister of Education, Science and Research), Günther Platter (Governor of Tyrol) and Georg Willi (Mayor of Innsbruck) held inspiring felicitation speeches. The evening concluded with a reception and a toast to our 350-year-old University.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019:
Individual Meetings with representatives of the University of Innsbruck and Unveiling of the Project/Object in honour of our partner universities


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"More than two years ago, when we were still only brainstorming about the 350-year celebrations of the University of Innsbruck, one member of staff of the International Services had a simple, yet brilliant idea", Barbara Tasser, head of the International Services, reminisced at the beginning of the unveiling of the project. "At our Christmas brunch we were thinking about a way to represent the international networks of our University in a public space. Ludovic Milot had the idea to have a colourful signpost installed, showing the distance to the universities we cooperate with worldwide."

Since then, the original idea has been taken to the Faculty of Architecture, where a professor opened up the possibility for students to participate in an ideas competition. Basis for their work was the signpost. Additionally, they were asked to think about ways of integrating digital media, the possibilities of exchange, and depicting the global network of the University of Innsbruck. Out of all the creative ideas, met these expectations the best. Konstantin Jauck and Fabian Venier presented their idea as a multi-facetted object, which is aesthetically pleasing and able to endure wind and weather as a visible monument of our cooperation.

On October 16, 2019 the time to unveil the finished project had finally arrived. It was the grand finale to the celebratory week we were allowed to spend with 49 representatives from 27 Universities, at home in 14 different nations.

Rector Tilmann Märk gave a heart filled speech for our international guests: "I really do hope you enjoyed the experience and that you leave Innsbruck inspired, with a backpack full of ideas." Subsequently, he helped City Councillor for environment, energy and mobility, Uschi Schwarzl, with the actual unveiling of the object. Both of them were declared patrons to, due to their continuous work for the internationalization of the City of Innsbruck, as well as its university.

Pharos means lighthouse in Greek and like the lighthouse of Alexandria, the youngest of the seven wonders of the ancient world, shines and signals our students the ways into the academic world. It also symbolizes a small home-port for our guest-students from all over the world. By means of analogue signposts as an interface to the digital world focuses on those partner institutions of the University of Innsbruck, with which there is a lively exchange of students and teachers. Two cubes represent the center of the earth and Innsbruck, while of the LED illuminated panels each represents a partner university. The length of each metal bar corresponds to the true-to-scale distance between the two universities. The lighting varies in color, depending on the current temperature at the respective location.
If the University of Innsbruck or one of the partner universities is mentioned on the social media channels Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, the corresponding panel will also light up.

As tokens of commemoration of this day, a sign of our continued and strengthened partnership, and to take into the world, the delegates from the partner universities were presented with a gift-plate, which resembles the ones shining on They depict the logo and coordinates of the University of Innsbruck and were handed to our honoured guests by Rector Tilmann Märk and City Councillor Uschi Schwarzl.

Thursday, October 17, 2019:
Trip to the Nordkette

In the course of the 350th anniversary celebration, the International Services offered a cable-car excursion to the Nordkette in Innsbruck. On Thursday, October 17, 2019 a group of international guests from the Ukraine (Drohobych Ivan Franko State Pedagogical University), the USA (University of New Orleans) and Austria went on a trip to the Nordkette up to the Hafelekar (2334 m / 7657 ft).

Eva Lavric, accompanied by two employees of the University of Innsbruck, guided the trip. The group took the cable car (planned and designed by star architect Zaha Hadid) in the center of Innsbruck and made its first stop at the Hungerburg where the guests could enjoy the view over Innsbruck. The weather was sunny and warm, a fact that made it a perfect day for a trip like this. After the first stop, the trip continued to the Seegrube (1900 m / 6350 ft) where the guests were able to enjoy an even better view and had time for some walks and a coffee. After taking many pictures and relaxing in the sun it was time for the last part of the trip. Again the group took the cable car and went up to the very top, the famous Hafelekar. Up there the guests had the opportunity to not only enjoy the view over Innsbruck but also look north towards the impressive vista of untouched mountainous nature.

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