Three Questions for Erasmus Alumna Geraldine Rauch

A brief interview with the President of TU Berlin
Reading time: 3 min.

You spent an Erasmus semester at Cardiff University in 2006 as part of your studies. What made you take this step? And how did your experiences there impact your subsequent career?

My goal has always been to gain an independent and diverse view of the world and of human knowledge. You can only develop a differentiated outlook if you know different viewpoints, cultures, sources of information and opinions. Spending time abroad during your studies can broaden your horizons in a really decisive way. My time with the Erasmus programme in Cardiff was different from that in Bremen, and it was an important experience for me to embrace new experiences, but also to appreciate what I have in my home country.

Spending time abroad during your studies can broaden your horizons in a really decisive way.
Geraldine Rauch

The Executive Board’s 100-Day Program defines as its goals internal training courses for university employees and the development of appropriate offers. What role do you think Erasmus+ plays in this with its diverse actions?

We are currently living in a world with escalating global political, health and climate crises and, as a result, increasing conflicts about the distribution of resources. Communication between cultures and people has rarely been as important as it is today. Digitalisation cannot replace this.

In these times, the DAAD’s funding is being called into question and countries are starting to close themselves off more and more. Just a few years ago, we were preoccupied with the question of whether Germany would show solidarity with the Mediterranean countries in regarding the distribution of refugees – today, the federal states within Germany are closing themselves off from each other. What happened to investment in humanity? If we know and understand each other, then hopefully we will no longer say: «My door remains closed. Maybe someone else will help you. »

Portrait picture of Professor Dr. Geraldine Rauch, President of the TU Berlin
© Philipp Arnold/TU Berlin

Geraldine Rauch studied mathematics at the University of Bremen. She completed her doctoral thesis with Roche Diagnostics GmbH in Penzberg. Between 2009 and 2016, she was a researcher and lecturer at the University of Heidelberg, where she acquired her venia legendi (right to teach at university) in medical biometry in 2015. In 2017, she took up an appointment as a professor of medical biometry at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf. Just six months later, she accepted the offer of a professorship at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. There, she was director of the Institute of Biometry and Clinical Epidemiology as well as vice dean of education (Life and Health Sciences) from 2020 to 2022. Geraldine Rauch has been president of TU Berlin since 1 April 2022. Her term of office is four years.

Climate change, energy transition and sustainable use of resources are just some of the major challenges society is currently facing. How can a university like TU Berlin help tackle these challenges?

Universities are places of teaching and research. In teaching, we are educating future generations – we are providing young people with skills and creativity so that together we can find solutions to our global problems. In research, we are working hard to develop future- oriented technologies. For years, TU Berlin has been promoting projects aimed at tackling climate change.

But what makes TU Berlin really unique is that the people here are not conformists – we have heated, controversial discussions and we question everything. Students do it, but so do researchers, professors and the many university committees. I have never experienced this at any other university and I’m convinced that this critical attitude is what will ultimately bring humanity forward.

Interviewer: Marcus Klein