A fruitful cooperationSouth African visit to Aalen University of Applied Sciences

Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur, Prof. Dr. Laetus Lategan and Pascal Cromm (from left) are delighted about the long-standing partnership between the university and CUT. Photo: Antje Discher

Th, 07. September 2023

The partnership between Aalen University of Applied Sciences and the South African Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein has existed for more than 20 years. The long-standing and intensive cooperation was recently continued with a visit from Prof. Dr. Laetus Lategan. Together with the International Relations Office and colleagues from Aalen University, future projects were discussed. Prof. Dr. Pamela Dube, the new Rector of CUT, has also announced her first visit to Aalen at the end of October in order to exchange ideas with University Rector Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel.

It all started with a misunderstanding. As Prof. Dr. Ulrich Holzbaur visited the Central University of Technology (CUT) in South Africa for the first time in 2002, the industrial engineer and amateur geologist was able to establish many contacts in the areas of technology and management. At the graduation dinner he asked for a geologist. He was introduced to Prof. Dr. Laetus Lategan - a theologian, as Holzbaur had been misunderstood. And although Lategan was not a geologist, the two quickly agreed that the two universities had a lot of common potential and that they would like to work on projects together - the two colleagues' common ground extends from scientific ethics to research management. This is how an intensive university partnership began, from which countless German and South African exchange students have now benefited. Lategan has been a permanent and reliable partner of Aalen University for more than 20 years, which he has visited a dozen times over the years. In addition to setting up an exchange program for students, the partnership also resulted in several joint publications and book projects with Holzbaur, such as the successful guide “Seven Imperatives for Success in Research” for academics at the start of their careers. The new edition of the guide was one of the core topics of his visit. Supplemented by new topics such as digitalization, globalization and sustainability, the new “Eleven Imperatives” will also show the way for future researchers in the coming year.

The topic of internationalization was also the main theme during discussions at the International Relations Office, where director Pascal Cromm welcomed the guest on behalf of the Rectorate. Joint projects and other partnership activities were planned here. There were also intensive discussions about new projects with fellow professors from the Faculty of Management and Business Studies, the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Optics and Mechatronics. Together with Prof. Dr. Ralf von Baer, the guest was able not only to plan projects in the area of ethics in medicine and nursing, but also to explore the many interfaces between the two universities in the areas of technology, management and medicine. This means that students also have exchange opportunities here.

 The partnership with CUT and the exchange of students with South Africa has developed over the past twenty years into a network in which all faculties at both universities are integrated. The intensity of the cooperation between the two universities is also a reason why the new Rector of the CUT, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Dr. Pamela Dube, will be visiting Aalen University at the end of October shortly after taking office this year. Together with Rector Prof. Dr. Harald Riegel would like to exchange ideas about future activities of both universities.