Funding decisions announced for Germany's "Initiative for Excellence"

October 19, 2006

Brussels, 18 October 2006

Three German universities have been awarded the status of 'top class university' (Spitzenuniversität) as part of the government's 'Initiative for Excellence'. Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, the Technical University of Munich and Karlsruhe University were chosen by evaluators, while a number of graduate schools and clusters will also receive grants in the first round of funding. The recipients will receive €175 million between them.

The decision was announced by Germany's Minister for Education and Research, Annette Schavan, following a review of the proposals by German and international experts.

'This is a meaningful day for science in Germany. We have seen that numerous excellent graduate schools and excellence clusters were proposed for support. This indicates the high performance of our universities. The Initiative for Excellence has initiated much dynamism in universities, which will be for the good of the entire university landscape in Germany,' said the minister.

Some 88 proposals were received in response to the first call for proposals. Evaluations were based on the criteria of scientific quality, interdisciplinarity international prominence and the integration of regional research capacities.

Meeting prior to the final decision, the evaluators found no need to debate any of the proposals, finding that only truly excellent institutions or clusters had been put forward. 'In today's meeting there was consensus that for both rounds of funding, solely the criterion of scientific excellence is relevant for funding, regional aspects therefore play no role,' said Ms Schavan.

A second call for proposals began in September 2006, and in January a number of nominators will be asked to elaborate on their suggestions, submitting a full proposal.

Up to 10 universities will become 'top class universities' under the Initiative for Excellence. A precondition for funding is that the institution has at least one cluster and one graduate school approved for funding, as well as a convincing overall strategy for becoming an internationally recognised 'beacon of science'. On average, each selected university will receive €21 million from the government.

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