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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, metalworking, 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 link 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.

In February 2016 the Minister for Education, Theresia Bauer, and the contract partners from the Town, the Region, Furtwangen University (HFU) and the Friends of the University Campus Tuttlingen signed the cooperation contract.

In summer 2018 the campus was expanded with the completion of the new Innovation and Research Centre (IFC).

The University Campus Tuttlingen schreitet deutschlandweit voran

The University Campus Tuttlingen is based on the concept of "Public Private Partnership (PPP)": here a new form of cooperation between University, business and state has been set up, one which is unique in Germany. The model nature of the approach is reflected in the sponsorship, the organization and the teaching.

Model sponsorship

On the University Campus in Tuttlingen the long-demanded connection between industry and state has been implemented in the curriculum. Three partners share the costs: the state of Baden-Württemberg, the Friends of the University Campus Tuttlingen and the Town and Region of Tuttlingen.

Model organisation

Industry is involved in the design and implementation of the study programmes. This is unique in this form in Germany. Thus representatives from industry are represented in the study programme committees and are involved in the further development of degree programmes. Industry is also involved in the appointment of professors.

One example for the close, cooperative partnership between the University and industry on the University Campus Tuttlingen is the setting up of the curricula of the various study programmes in working groups (Study Programme Committees). These are made up of members of the University and representatives from companies from the Friends society. In line with the unanimous wish of the initiators from industry, the courses offered in Tuttlingen should meet three requirements:

  • a broad and solid grounding in engineering principles
  • provision of know-how on how to work in an independent and self-responsible manner
  • practical teaching using modern methods

Model teaching

The concept of the "Public Private Partnership" offers enormous advantages for teaching. Industry is actively involved from the first to the last semester in various ways:

Practicals take place not only in the University's own labs, but also directly in the companies. Visits to companies, mentoring by specialists and management, a lecture series with experts from industry and  project work are a standard part of the programmes. Suggestions for topics for electives are also made by industry in order to ensure that research focuses, development needs and trends are dealt with effectively. Students have close contact with companies throughout their degree programme.

The University Campus Tuttlingen as a research institution

One of the most important goals of the University campus is to ensure the provision of qualified engineers for regional industry. Besides teaching, research also plays a central role. The activities centre on applied research and development, in line with the guidelines set for the University.

A milestone in research is the new Innovation and Research Centre (IFC) Tuttlingen of Furtwangen University, which was completed in 2018. This flagship project builds on the core growth area of medical technology. It extends Furtwangen University and supports companies in their research activities. The building aims to provide a setting where the innovation capabilities of small and medium-sized enterprises in the region can be strengthened. The IFC focuses on research and development projects (R&D), start-up activities, »Industry on Campus« and networking and professional development.

A strong campus with strong partners

More than 100 companies, the Town and the Region of Tuttlingen belong to the Friends of the University Campus Tuttlingen.  State support and private investors have made a modern, high-performance university campus possible.

The Friends Society has voice and decision-making rights as regards teaching. In this way, the University has implemented an academic curriculum which is particularly workplace-oriented and which offers excellent perspectives.

The Town of Tuttlingen has provided the University with all the University buildings. The renovation cost of the main building was over €10.5m, two-thirds of which was covered by the State and one-third by the Region. Two further buildings have been renovated since October 2013. The cost of almost €1.2m was covered by the Friends Society.

The Friends Society sponsors the upkeep of the facilities of the University Campus Tuttlingen to the amount of €2.5m annually. The Friends Society is contractually obliged to provide this support until 2029.