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DFG Meeting Urges for Excellence Initiative Continuation

Oct 16, 2014

With an urgent appeal to policy makers for a continuation of the Excellence Initiative, the largest meeting for clusters of excellence, graduate schools and institutional strategies has ended. The Cluster "Asia and Europe" was represented at the meeting by Director Prof. Axel Michaels and Scientific Project Manager Oliver Lamers.

At the invitation of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Science Council (WR), representatives of more than 100 institutions funded within the Excellence Initiative met for two days in Bad Honnef, Germany. Under the guiding question "Excellence Initiative - and then?", the general conditions and perspectives were discussed that make the competition promoting top-level research in Germany sustainable.

Unanimous conclusion of the numerous plenary sessions and workshops: The Excellence Initiative has given a boost to the German science system and has made German universities more visible and attractive as places for excellent research and a starting point for innovation on an international level. These successes must be carried on in sustainable ways. A prerequisite for this is a quick landmark decision by the German federal and state governments that top-level research will be funded beyond 2017 in an adequate manner.

In the final round of discussion with Minister Theresia Bauer (Baden-Württemberg), Prof. Dr. Sabine Kunst (Brandenburg) and Prof. Dr. Sabine von Schorlemer (Saxony), the member of parliament Alexandra Dinges-Dierig, and Dr. Ulrich Schüller from the Federal Ministry of Science, the participants formulated the main elements for a further development of the programme: The formats should continue to be open to new themes, ideas and candidates, the use of funds should remain flexible, and the duration of funding should be oriented on processes of scientific qualification. It was in principle agreed that the unconditional scientific quality standard must be maintained as well as the strictly science-driven selection.

On the initiative of Prof. Axel Haverich (Hannover), Prof. Helge Ritter (Bielefeld) and Prof. Axel Michaels, the Clusters of Excellence had formulated a statement in preparation for the meeting. With similar papers from the graduate schools and the institutional strategies, a joint statement to the Federal and State Governments calling for an advancement and continuation of the Excellence Initiative was agreed upon in Bad Honnef.

The Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" was represented in the meeting by Director Prof. Michaels and Scientific Project Manager Oliver Lamers. As a result of the meeting, various media such as the newspaper Tagesspiegel have reported about the topic.

Read the press release as well as the statement for further information.


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  • German Research Foundation (Image: DFG Press Photo)