The DFG and the German Science Council welcome agreement on the Excellence Initiative

06/29/05

Preparations for a rapid launch of the programme already made

This release is also available in German

The President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), Professor Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, and the chairman of the German Science Council, Professor Karl Max Einhäupl, have welcomed today's approval of the 'Excellence Initiative' by the German federal government and the states. As both leaders said, this is very good news and has been anxiously awaited by the universities and the German scientific community.

The 'Excellence Initiative' will make a significant contribution to strengthening science and research in Germany in the long term, improving its international competitiveness and raising the profile of the top performers in academia and research. The initiative aims both to promote top-level research as well as to improve the quality of German universities and research institutions in general.

The federal government and the states will provide the DFG with a total of €1.9 billion in additional funding for the initiative between 2006 and 2011 – on condition of the funds being made available by the legislative bodies – which will be split between three lines of funding:

  • Graduate schools to promote young researchers
  • Excellence clusters to promote world-class research
  • Plans for advancing top-level university research

    The universities themselves will be eligible to apply for the extra funding. Plans include the establishment of about 40 graduate schools, which are to receive €1 million each annually, and approximately 30 excellence clusters, which will receive annual funding of €6.5 million. The third line of funding is contingent on the successful establishment of at least one excellence cluster and at least one graduate school. This third line of funding will provide significant additional funding, which in some cases would be comparable to the additional funding provided for both of the other lines of funding.

    In addition to this, an additional supplement amounting to 20% of the funding will be provided to cover the indirect expenses arising in connection with the programme.

    The DFG will announce calls for proposals for all three lines of funding as soon as the legal requirements for financing the initiative have been put in place. The DFG and the Science Council will cooperate in running the initiative. Two rounds of funding are envisaged, with funding for the first round scheduled to begin in 2006 and the second round expected in 2007. The funding period for each round will be five years. There will be a two-stage proposal process (draft proposals and full proposals).

    Universities wishing to apply are requested to submit a declaration of intent by 1 August 2005. This should include the line of funding, the topic/subject in which the funding is being applied for and the proposed composition of the team of scientists and researchers.

    The precise funding regulations will be established by a joint commission appointed by the DFG and the German Science Council in August 2005. The criteria laid down by the federal government and the states (including scientific excellence, concepts for promoting young researchers and concepts for interdisciplinary networking and networking between universities and with non-university research institutions) will be taken into consideration. Once the regulations have been set, they will be sent to the universities. Draft proposals will be expected by late September 2005.

    Source: Eurekalert & others

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