Interdisciplinarity, practice orientation and social accountability are the decisive factors that shape the University’s guiding principles in the areas of teaching and research. Over the years, these original founding objectives of the University of Bremen have been expanded by gender equality, ecological accountability, and the internationalization of teaching and research. These main goals of the University were formulated in the year 2000 and are to be understood against this background. Today, some references may seem less up-to-date, important associated objectives have been largely implemented, and some of the above principles are by now firmly anchored in the University's repertoire.
At the end of 2017, the University defined its future development and concrete objectives for the coming ten years in its policy statement “Strategy 2018-2028”.
The highest aims in teaching and research are high quality and specialist competence. To achieve these aims, the University of Bremen a long time ago introduced internal measures for student evaluation of its teaching, as well as external evaluation and accreditation of its study and research programs. Multifaceted specialist competence and fundamental research form the basis for finding interdisciplinary solutions to problems. Fundamental research and applied research are mutually enhancing in the search for new insights.
At the University of Bremen, science is not confined to an "ivory tower". Rather, it aims at finding concrete and sustainable solutions to societal issues. In its teaching and research, the University of Bremen comes to grips with the practice phenomena of politics, the economy, culture and society as a whole. Examples of this are: Environmental protection via resource-efficient production processes, the development and deployment of new technologies in industry and the service sector of the economy, teaching future-oriented qualifications in academic studies and continuing education. Continual contact to the practice and social integration belong to our notion of science, and include lectureships for practitioners, cooperation projects with private enterprises, internships and practical semesters for our students.
The instructional staff and students of the University of Bremen must be dedicated to the fundamental values of democracy, human rights, and social justice, which in many areas have become topics of teaching and research. They will continue in future to focus on the consequences of research for the economy, politics and culture, and on the possibilities for the environmentally-friendly application of research findings (e.g. anticipatory technological and economic policies, no armaments-related research). The University’s social commitment begins in the region, i.e. a firm commitment to the sustainable development of the State of Bremen. It also stretches to issues of social justice in general and underdevelopment (North-South divide).
Technical, social, ecological and cultural issues are multifaceted and often in many ways closely intertwined. They can only be dealt with adequately in cooperation between different disciplines and research institutions. The University of Bremen therefore offers a wide spectrum of subjects in the humanities and social sciences as well as in the natural and engineering sciences. It has created courses of study, research programs as well as research institutions across the disciplines. Studying in teaching projects and learning communication skills and teamwork foster this interdisciplinary cooperation. Students become involved in research at an early stage and studies are progressively research based.
Science traditionally has a global orientation. In today’s world it is only possible to adequately prepare students for future career fields and to research complex topics across national borders via intensive cooperation with international partners. The University of Bremen is committed to the declaration of Bologna, which aims towards the creation of a European university space. It fosters the exchange of students within the frame of international programs and partnerships on all continents of the world. Aspects of internationalization are taken into account in the development of study programs; for example, new forms of study (delivery of lecture classes in a foreign language, study modules), degree awards like Bachelor and Master, as well as courses of study with an international orientation and stays abroad.
These international study programs are mostly run in cooperation with partner universities in other countries. The cooperation with Jacobs University Bremen will in future open up further possibilities for cross-border teaching and research and strengthen Bremen’s position as a science location.
Women are also disadvantaged in research careers. Therefore, with support from the State of Bremen, the University develops measures and programs designed to promote equal opportunity in research and the administration. The University of Bremen has designed organizational forms which enable continual efforts towards the equal treatment of women in teaching and research.
Gender equality is of course not only an issue for universities but for the whole of society. For this reason questions of gender ratios and equal opportunity are also core topics in teaching and research and dealt with in cooperation with diverse disciplines.
Our lives and livelihoods are increasingly coming under threat from pollution of the air and water and the overexploitation of our natural resources (forests, oil and mineral resources, human health). Research has to come up with adequate cross-border and cross-disciplinary solutions for these problems. The University of Bremen is committed to Agenda 21 and its guiding principle of sustainable (ecologically compatible) development. Within the frame of multiple projects, its researchers carry out research on resource conservation and sustainable development on regional, national and international levels (e.g. in the fields of ocean and climate research). Interdisciplinary aspects of environmental issues are also an integral topic of studies and continuing education.
The University of Bremen also makes its own contribution to ecologically compatible activity: Within the context of an environmental audit it documents activities in the areas of energy saving, conservation of natural resources via recycling, environmentally compatible working materials and behavioral rules: This has already brought some impressive results. The introduction of an environmental management system will strengthen the University’s efforts towards ecological orientation in research, teaching and studies.