New ways for doctorates at HAW: Promotionskolleg NRW receives right to award doctorates

As a cross-university scientific institution of the universities of applied sciences (HAW) in NRW, the Promotionskolleg NRW will in future be able to conduct independent doctoral procedures and award doctoral degrees. Unlike in other states of Germany, there is thus a central quality-assuring authority and a qualification offer for doctoral students that encompasses all HAW.


Prof. Dr. Klaus Maas, Director Department Technology and Systems PK NRW; Prof. Dr. Jürgen Krahl, President TH OWL; Prof. Dr. Stefan Witte, Vice President Research and Transfer THOWL, inIT; Prof. Dr. Volker Lohweg, Institute Director, inIT of TH OWL; Prof. Dr. Jürgen Jasperneite, Head of Fraunhofer IOSB-INA and inIT; Prof. Dr. Holger Borcherding, Board iFE of TH OWL.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Witte, Vice President Research and Transfer THOWL, inIT; Prof. Dr. Jürgen Jasperneite, Head of Fraunhofer IOSB-INA and inIT; Prof. Dr. Volker Lohweg, Institute Director, inIT of TH OWL.

At HAW in NRW, doctorates were previously only possible in cooperation with a university. By granting the right to award doctorates to the Promotionskolleg NRW, Ina Brandes, Minister for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, has now cleared the way for another path: a doctorate in the profile of the HAW. This comprises application-oriented research that meets national and international standards as well as, especially in social work and the academic health professions, very important basic research.

"The universities of applied sciences are an important cornerstone of North Rhine-Westphalia's excellent scientific landscape. They tie together a practical range of courses, innovative research and close cooperation with regional industry. This makes them particularly attractive for young people who want to combine theory and practice," says Minister Brandes. "The awarding of the right to award doctorates to the doctoral college is a milestone for the further development of HAW in North Rhine-Westphalia. It gives an additional boost to application-oriented research and makes studying at an HAW even more attractive. I congratulate the Promotionskolleg NRW on this success and look forward to the first independent doctorates," said the Minister.

In the field of science, but especially in companies and organizations, the demand for highly qualified young professionals with doctorates from HAW is great. In order to achieve innovation goals and generate economic and social benefits, these areas depend on practical findings from science as well as on tapping the scientific and professional know-how of HAW graduates. The right to award doctorates also strengthens the profile of HAW, enables their further structural development and provides new impulses for applied research and educational equity in NRW.

At the Promotionskolleg NRW, qualified graduates from HAW and universities are prepared for their doctorate within a time frame of three to four years in a quality-assured manner within the framework of structured doctoral programs. They are supervised by a team of several university lecturers. The central structure of the Promotionskolleg NRW offers advantages for doctoral candidates, professors and the universities. Martin Sternberg, Chairman of the Board of the Promotionskolleg NRW, explains: "With our lean, optimally coordinated organization, we create a large offer for doctoral students from all over North Rhine-Westphalia, provide them as well as the professors with a cross-university research environment and uniform conditions for the doctorate. We relieve the universities considerably of the organizational and administrative tasks associated with doctoral studies. With their topics and projects, our doctoral students make an important contribution to solving global social challenges such as climate change and sustainability transformation. Particularly talented young scientists are paved the way for an academic career at HAW or universities."

On the part of HAW, the appreciation of the award of the right to confer doctoral degrees with a ceremony on November 17 is awaited. Bernd Kriegesmann, Chairman of the LRK and the Board of Owners of the PK NRW as well as President of the Westphalian University of Applied Sciences, appreciates the achievements of the HAW, which has been working towards this result for years: "In many German states, the doctoral process is on the move. Increasingly, universities of applied sciences are finally being given an independent role that takes account of their achievements and the special features of application-oriented research. North Rhine-Westphalia is taking its own path with the Promotionskolleg NRW, which is attracting a great deal of attention nationwide. It is good that the Science Council also sees this path as promising. As universities of applied sciences, we will take up the new opportunities and make even better use of the universities' potential."

The award of the doctoral degree was preceded by a comprehensive evaluation of the Promotionskolleg NRW by the Science Council. The positive result of the evaluation was announced in July of this year.