On 15th December, the partner platform Technology and Society Forum of Graz University of Technology (TU Graz) celebrated its 20th anniversary. in 2002, the then TU Graz Rector Erich Hödl initiated the idea of a forum in which TU Graz would cultivate long-term cooperation with partners from industry and business. Furthermore, the larger goal was to master the challenges of technical progress in the future knowledge society through specialist information, discussion and cooperation.
On the website of the Technology and Society Forum you can find out more about events as well as publication and networking activities of the TU Graz platform for companies and institutions.
Basis for stable corporate partnerships
“Partnership-based and long-term strategic cooperation with industry and business is in the DNA of our university (...) At the same time, we successfully rely on a partnership portfolio that ranges from corporate membership in the Technology and Society Forum, career services and scholarships for the specially talented to endowed professorships,” says TU Graz Rector Harald Kainz, emphasizing the importance of the partner platform on the occasion of the awarding of a prize for university fund raising.
Network of players for research and teaching
Today, the partner platform brings together 40 members, including the strategic partner companies of TU Graz – Siemens, MAGNA STEYR Fahrzeugtechnik, AVL List, the Mondi Group, SGS, voestalpine Metal Engineering, Infineon Technologies Austria and Anton Paar. Around 2,200,000 euros have been raised as genuine fund raising from sponsoring companies since 2012. Another 2,500,000 euros or so have flowed into the alumni network since 2002 as membership fees for the social mission.
On a social mission
In addition to cultivating relationships, the Technology and Society Forum has dedicated itself to the social mission of strengthening confidence in technology and science and making its social relevance visible through activities in the alumni network. This mission runs thematically through the Forum’s seven-volume series of publications to date and is lived out in a variety of activities. So far, the Forum has held sponsorship awards for theses with special social relevance 19 times at TU Graz, and 153,000 euros in prize money has been awarded to a total of 80 outstanding graduates. At 120 lecture evenings as part of the public event series “TopThink”, “ForumAkademie”, “Industriedialog Forschung” and individual special events, speakers and interested parties have discussed the challenges of technical progress for society. Also, the new WomenCareers event series brings female graduates of TU Graz onto the stage and shows their career paths and the associated hurdles and successes – all this is an impressive balance of what the Forum has set in motion over two decades.
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From 2002 to 2022
Kurt Friedrich, then managing director of the alumni association alumniTUGraz 1887 and since 2009 honorary senator of TU Graz, established the Technology and Society Forum from 2002 onwards together with Wolfgang Wallner, then as now secretary of alumniTUGraz 1887. In 2012/13, under the rectorate of Harald Kainz, the corporate fund raising of TU Graz was reorganized in the Fund Raising and Sponsoring strategic project, in the process of which the role of the Forum was consolidated. As a section of alumniTUGraz 1887, it is now coordinated by four people: Rector Harald Kainz for TU Graz, Gerald Murer as spokesperson for the Company Advisory Board, Christoph Adametz from the Research and Technology House of TU Graz, who cultivates corporate relations in the Forum and heads the Career Info Service of TU Graz, and Wolfgang Wallner as the link to the people contacts in the alumni and contact network and the person responsible for the successful series of events, publications and the Forum’s sponsorship award. The Company Advisory Board is the body of all the representatives of the now 40 sponsoring companies. The Rector and vice-rectors report on new developments at TU Graz and discuss opportunities for joint research, teaching and technology transfer in this high-profile round every six months.