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Decisions on the second round of the Excellence Initiative announced

Funding decisions for the second round of the Excellence Initiative have been made. Following evaluation and discussion of a total of 92 proposals for the three funding lines by international review panels and the Joint Commission of the German Science Council and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the Excellence Initiative Grants Committee has awarded funding to 21 graduate schools, 20 clusters of excellence, and six institutional strategies. The decisions were announced in Bonn by Dr. Annette Schavan, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, and, representing the German states, the Berlin Science Senator, Professor Jrgen E. Zllner, and the Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs of Saxony-Anhalt, Professor Jan-Hendrik Olbertz. The President of the DFG, Professor Matthias Kleiner, and the Chairman of the German Science Council, Professor Peter Strohschneider, explained the decision-making procedure and its outcome. Approximately one billion euros have been approved to fund initiatives at 28 universities in this, the second round of the Excellence Initiative.

The following awards were made (universities in alphabetical order by city):

Graduate Schools
University: Name of Graduate School

  • University of Bayreuth: Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies

  • Free University of Berlin: Muslim Cultures and Societies: Unity and Diversity

  • Free University of Berlin: Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies

  • Humboldt University Berlin: Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies

  • Humboldt University Berlin: Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences

  • University of Bielefeld: Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology

  • University of Bonn: Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy

  • University of Bremen: Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences

  • Technical University of Darmstadt: Graduate School of Computational Engineering "Beyond Traditional Sciences"

  • University of Gttingen: Gttingen Graduate School for Neurosciences and Molecular Biosciences

  • University of Heidelberg: Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences

  • University of Heidelberg: The Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology

  • University of Jena: Jena School for Microbial Communication

  • University of Kiel: Graduate School for Integrated Studies of Human Development in Landscapes

  • University of Konstanz: Konstanz Research School "Chemical Biology"

  • University of Leipzig: Building with Molecules and Nano-Objects

  • University of Lbeck: Graduate School for Computing in Medicine and Life Sciences

  • University of Mainz: Materials Science in Mainz

  • Saarland University: Saarbrcken Graduate School of Computer Science

  • University of Stuttgart: Graduate School for Advanced Manufacturing Engineering

  • University of Ulm: International Graduate School in Molecular Medicine Ulm

Clusters of Excellence
University: Name of Cluster of Excellence

  • RWTH Aachen University: Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass

  • Free University of Berlin: Topoi. The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations

  • Free University of Berlin: Languages of Emotion

  • Humboldt University Berlin: NeuroCure: Towards a Better Outcome of Neurological Disorders

  • Technical University of Berlin: Unifying Concepts in Catalysis

  • University of Bielefeld: Cognitive Interaction Technology

  • University of Bremen: The Ocean in the Earth System

  • University of Cologne: Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases

  • Technical University of Darmstadt: Smart Interfaces: Understanding and Designing Fluid Boundaries

  • University of Erlangen-Nrnberg: Engineering of Advanced Materials Hierarchical Structure Formation for Functional Devices

  • University of Frankfurt am Main: Formation of Normative Orders

  • University of Freiburg: Centre for Biological Signalling Studies From Analysis to Synthesis

  • University of Hamburg: Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction

  • University of Hannover: Centre for Quantum Engineering and Space-Time Research

  • University of Heidelberg: Asia and Europe in a Global Context: Shifting Asymmetries in Cultural Flows

  • University of Kiel: Inflammation at Interfaces

  • University of Mnster: Religion and Politics in Pre-Modern and Modern Cultures

  • Saarland University: Multimodal Computing and Interaction

  • University of Stuttgart: Simulation Technology

  • University of Tbingen: CIN Centre for Integrative Neuroscience

Institutional Strategies to Promote Top-Level Research

  • RWTH Aachen University

  • Free University of Berlin

  • University of Freiburg

  • University of Gttingen

  • University of Heidelberg

  • University of Konstanz

Preparation of the decision:

A total of 305 draft proposals were received last autumn for the three lines of funding in the second round of the Excellence Initiative, including 278 for graduate schools and clusters of excellence as well as 27 for institutional strategies. Following preliminary selection in January 2007, 44 full proposals were then submitted for graduate schools, 40 for clusters of excellence and eight for institutional strategies.

The 84 proposals for graduate schools and clusters of excellence were assigned to 29 specialised panels, reviewed by international groups of experts, and discussed by the Expert Commission appointed by the DFG. There were approximately 320 reviewers, about 80 percent of whom came from abroad and about 20 percent from Germany. Evaluations were based on the criteria of scientific quality, interdisciplinarity, international prominence, and the integration of regional research capacities.

The Strategic Commission appointed by the German Science Council was in charge of the eight institutional strategy proposals. Initially, proposals were reviewed locally by groups of international experts. To be eligible for institutional strategy funding, a university must have been approved for at least one cluster of excellence and one graduate school.

The Joint Commission, made up of members of both the Expert and the Strategic Commission, discussed the proposals and evaluation results. The relevant Grants Committee based its final decisions on the funding recommendations given by the Joint Commission.

The graduate schools and clusters of excellence approved represent an even cross-section of the disciplines, with the strong representation of the humanities and social sciences being particularly welcome.


Contact: Eva-Maria Streier
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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