The Tuttlingen University model

A Region becomes the Campus

The region of Tuttlingen has one of the strongest economies in the state and across Germany. Industry is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises mainly in the medical engineering, mechanical and plant engineering, metal-working, precision tool engineering, machine tools, sensors and control technology and automation and production engineering sectors. 

The university campus in Tuttlingen came into existence as a result of the needs of these industries. To remain sustainable and competitive, highly-skilled workers are needed and an academic institution supports these demands. This is the motivation behind the idea of setting up a completely new type of university institution: one which is unique in terms of sponsorship, organization and teaching.


The idea of founding a technical university in the Tuttlingen area was already being discussed in the 1990s. Tuttlingen presented its ideas to the Ministry of Education within the framework of the state "Hochschule 2012" programme which recognized the high demand for more study places.

The Tuttlingen companies were prepared even then to help found a university in the area. The outcome, the so-called "Tuttlingen model", is an institutionalized connection between university and business.

The cooperation contract to found the campus was signed on 18 July 2008 by members of the Ministry of Education, Furtwangen University and the Friends of Tuttlingen Campus.

University Campus in Tuttlingen ahead of the rest of Germany

The university campus in Tuttlingen was set up as a Public Private Partnership (PPP). This new educational model, which is unique in Germany, is a cooperation between university, business and government. The model approach can be seen in the form of sponsorship, the organization and the curriculum.

New Sponsorship Model

On the university campus in Tuttlingen the long-demanded solidarity between industry and state has been implemented in the curriculum. Three partners bear the costs: the State of Baden-Württemberg, the Friends of Tuttlingen Campus e. V. and the Town and Region of Tuttlingen.

Model Nature of the Organization

Industry is involved in the planning and implementation of the degree programmes, in a manner which is unique in Germany. Representatives from industry sit on the advisory committees for study programmes and are involved in their further development. They are also involved in the selection of professors.

One example of the close partnership between university and industry on the university campus of Tuttlingen is the development of the curricula in study programme advisory committees which are made up of university members and company representatives in the Development Association. The unanimous wish of the initiators from industry is that all programmes in Tuttlingen should have the following three characteristics:

  • solid and broad-ranging training in the principles of engineering
  • development of independent, self-directed learning skills
  • workplace-related teaching using modern methods

Model Curriculum

The course content benefits greatly from the "Public Private Partnership" model. Industry is actively involved in various ways throughout the study programmes:

Practicals are not only held in university labs, but also directly in the companies themselves. Company tours, mentoring by specialists and management, lecture series with experts from industry and project work are all standard in the programme. Suggestions of topics for electives are also made by industry, so that areas of research focus, development requirements and trends are all covered on the course. Students have close contact with companies from the first semester on.

The University Campus in Tuttlingen as a Research Institute

An important goal of the university campus in Tuttlingen is to provide regional industry with sufficient skilled labour in the area of engineering. Research activities in applied research and development also play an important role in accordance with the mandate of a university.

The Innovation and Research Centre (IFC) of Furtwangen University, which will be completed in 2018, represents a milestone in research. This flagship project is positioned in the centre of the medical technology industry. As an extension of Furtwangen University, it also supports companies in their research activities. The building will provide facilities for small and medium-sized companies in the region to strengthen their innovative abilities. The remit of the IFC are R&D projects, entrepreneurship, »Industry on Campus«, and networking and further education.

A strong campus with strong partners

More than 100 companies, the town and the Tuttlingen region belong to the Friends of Tuttlingen Campus. The support of state and private investors has made a modern, high-performance university campus possible.

The Friends association has decision-making rights regarding the curricula. The degree programmes which have been set up by the University as a result have a very strong workplace relevance and offer graduates excellent career perspectives.

The Town of Tuttlingen provided the facilities for the university campus. Renovation of the main building cost over €10.5m, two-thirds of which was paid for by the Town and one-third by the Region. Two further buildings have been renovated since October 2013. The costs of approximately €1.2m were borne by the Friends of Tuttlingen Campus association.

Under the current contract, the Friends association will also continue to provide €2.5m annually for the facilities and equipment and the maintenance of the buildings on the Tuttlingen Campus until 2029.