The aim of the Excellence Strategy is to strengthen Germany’s position as an outstanding place for research in the long term and further improve its international competitiveness. It is designed to continue the development of German universities successfully begun with the Excellence Initiative in 2005 by supporting research of the highest standard, enhancing research profiles, and facilitating cooperation in the research system.
Full proposals for Clusters of Excellence can be submitted via the DFG’s elan portal beginning 8 January 2018. Proposals are upon invitation only and must generally be submitted in English and received by the cut-off deadline of noon on 21 February 2018.
On the basis of the administrative agreement reached by the federal and state governments on 16 June 2016, the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities will implement the Excellence Strategy in two funding lines:
1. Clusters of Excellence for project-based funding in internationally competitive fields of research at universities or university consortia
2. Universities of Excellence to strengthen universities as individual institutions or as university consortia in the long term and further develop their leading international role on the basis of successful Clusters of Excellence.
Information on the Excellence Strategy will be updated regularly on this site during the course of the programme. For direct access, use our quick link at
The DFG is responsible for developing and implementing the Clusters of Excellence funding line. Detailed information on proposal submission and funding requirements can be found in the Call for Proposals in the Clusters of Excellence Funding Line, which was agreed upon by the Committee of Experts for the Excellence Strategy at its inaugural meeting on 20/21 September 2016. The members of the Committee of Experts were appointed by the Joint Science Conference (GWK).
Proposals in the Clusters of Excellence funding line are reviewed and decided upon in an academically driven, two-stage competitive process (draft proposals and full proposals). Funding will begin on 1 January 2019.
The German Council of Science and Humanities is responsible for developing and implementing the Universities of Excellence funding line.
- Link to pdf Go to elan flyer (in German only) ( pdf | 727 KB)
- FAQ: Excellence Strategy (in German only)
- Link to pdf Schedule for the Excellence Strategy through 2019 ( pdf | 101 KB)
- Press Release No. 41 - 29.09.2017
- Forms and Guidelines in the Clusters of Excellence Funding Line
- Call for Proposals in the Clusters of Excellence Funding Line
- Open External Link in New Window Call for Proposals in the Universities of Excellence Funding Line (WR) (in German only)
- Programme Announcement: Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments – Clusters of Excellence Funding Line
- Open External Link in New Window Information on the Excellence Strategy from the Joint Science Conference (GWK) (incl. the Administrative Agreement from 16 June 2016) (in German only)
- Open External Link in New Window Members of the Committee of Experts – GWK Press Release (20 September 2016) (in German only)
- Open External Link in New Window Information on the Excellence Strategy from the German Council of Science and Humanities