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Excellence Initiative: 143 Proposals for the Final Round

Competition between projects already receiving funding and new projects / Decisions due in June 2012

The second phase of the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments is entering its final stage. The German universities have submitted their full proposals for the competition between projects that are already receiving funding and new projects. By the deadline on 1 September, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) in Bonn had received 143 proposals in total, 84 of which were from projects that have already been receiving funding since 2006 or 2007 in the first round of the Excellence Initiative and 59 of the 143 proposals received were for projects that successfully completed the preliminary selection of the second phase in March 2011. In terms of the three funding lines of the Excellence Initiative, 63 of the 143 proposals submitted were for graduate schools (38 of which are already receiving funding & 25 new projects), 64 for clusters of excellence (37 already receiving funding & 27 new) and 16 for institutional strategies to promote top-level research (nine already receiving funding & seven new).

In total, the universities eligible submitted proposals for 143 of the 144 projects that qualified for the competition. Only one graduate school that is already receiving funding did not apply for continuation of its funding, as it is being integrated in a cluster of excellence, as had already been announced previously.

The proposals submitted will now enter the review process. The 63 proposals for graduate schools and the 64 proposals for clusters of excellence will be reviewed between November and the end of February 2012 by 37 panels made up of about 480 researchers under the guidance of the DFG. The 16 proposals for institutional strategies to promote top-level research will be evaluated on site by review panels under the guidance of the German Council of Science and Humanities. Around 200 experts have been recruited to serve on these review panels. Around 80% of the reviewers are from abroad and are familiar with the German higher education and science system from an international perspective.

Funding decisions will then be made on the basis of the reviews in June 2012. Following consultation by the Expert Commission of the DFG and the Strategic Commission of the German Council of Science and Humanities (initially separately) and the Joint Commission of both organisations, the final decisions will be made on 15 June by the Grants Committee for the Excellence Initiative, on which the federal and state Ministers responsible for science and research as well as the Joint Commission are represented. Funding of the approved projects will begin in November 2012 and will last for five years. A total of over €2.5 billion has been made available for these projects, 75% of which will come from federal funds and 25% from the states where the projects are located.

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