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  Zollverein School established

International institution that aims to link management and design starts work

Essen. The Zollverein School of Management and Design gGmbH has officially been founded at Zollverein, the former coal mine industrial complex and current world heritage site. The Zollverein School is an institute of teaching and research with an international orientation that seeks to link design and management in various areas of application. It is also a cornerstone in the transformation of the world heritage site into a vibrant location for business and design. The University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Wuppertal and the Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet [Ruhr initiative] are all partners in the Zollverein School GmbH.

With its special blend of theoretical and practical tuition, the Zollverein School is aimed at professionals from both the business and creative sectors. The school's first Master's degree course (Business Design) will be organised with the University of Witten/Herdecke is due to get underway next year. The first students are expected to enrol in autumn 2004. They will have the option of doing a part-time course that will allow them to continue working during their studies. 'Professional Development and Training' and 'Research Projects' will form the Zollverein School's two main business areas.

Prof. Dr. Ralph Bruder is both president of the Zollverein School and managing director of the eponymous non-profit-making GmbH (a form of limited liability company). As its founding president, Prof. Bruder has played a major role in developing the Zollverein School's course contents and overall orientation since April 2002.

A board of trustees and a scientific advisory council assist the company in its work. Both bodies - which are made up of personalities from the fields of science, business, culture and politics - will advise the Zollverein School on matters of quality assurance for teaching and research, and come up with proposals for its annual programme.

The involvement of the Universities of Duisburg-Essen and Wuppertal goes far beyond their role as partners: their Design and Art departments are also developing a joint degree course with the Zollverein School. The Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet provided major support during the establishment phase and acted as a trust company for the involvement of the private sector in the Zollverein School. As the body that represents the school's economic interests, the Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet has access to companies in the region that the school hopes to involve in future projects.

The € 7 million start-up capital for the Zollverein School is made up of funds from the European Union, the Land of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Essen. At the end of the publicly-funded start-up phase, which will last until 2006, the Zollverein School will be run as a public-private partnership.

The school's new name "Zollverein School of Management and Design gGmbH" reflects both its link to business and its location at Zollverein. The Zollverein School GmbH is the continuation of the design school zollverein d/s/z, which has to date been run as a project by the EGZ-Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft Zollverein [Zollverein Development Association]. This means that the EGZ has successfully completed one stage of its programme: a key element in the Zollverein site restructuring programme has gone independent.

About Zollverein School gGmbH's partners:
The recently merged University of Duisburg-Essen is represented by its new vice-chancellor Prof. Dr. Lothar Zechlin. The University of Wuppertal is represented by its vice-chancellor Prof. Dr. Volker Ronge.
The Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet Verwaltungs GmbH is represented by its managing director Dr. Eckhard Albrecht. A total of 57 large companies from around Germany and Europe have subscribed to the goals of the Initiativkreis Ruhrgebiet. These companies support the work of the initiative in the form of active involvement, ideas and funding. The initiative is represented in public by its managers and personalities from public life. Since 1989, the initiative has completed numerous projects that have given a decisive impetus to the process of structural change in the region and have boosted the image of the Ruhr.

About Zollverein School gGmbH's managing director:
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ralph Bruder was born in Bad Homburg v.d.H., Germany, on 11 May 1963. He studied electronic engineering at the Technical College in Darmstadt, where he was awarded a doctorate in 1992 for his dissertation on the application of artificial intelligence in industrial science. Following several different teaching posts and projects with partners from industry and administration, he became of a university professor for Ergonomics at the University of Duisburg-Essen and head of the Institute for Ergonomics and Design Research, which he established himself. He has conducted research in numerous cities including Helsinki, Paris and London. From 1998 to 2002 he was dean of the department of Design and Art at the University of Essen.

Editorial teams should note that photos are available!

Press contact
Zollverein School, Gelsenkirchener Straße 181, Halle 10.1,
D-45309 Essen, Germany. Dr. Katia Glaser,
Tel.: +49 (0)201 8543 320, Fax: +49 (0)201 8543 301,
[email protected], zollverein-school.de