The Excellence Initiative aims to promote top-level research and to improve the quality of German universities and research institutions in general, thus making Germany a more attractive research location, making it more internationally competitive and focussing attention on the outstanding achievements of Germany universities and the German scientific community.
After the Excellence Initiative was passed by the German federal and state governments in 2005, the DFG was given responsibility for running the initiative together with the German Science Council.
Final Decisions in the Second Phase of the Excellence Initiative
On Friday, 15 June 2012, the Joint Commission of the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities decided which projects will be funded in the second phase of the Excellence Initiative. 45 graduate schools, 43 clusters of excellence and 11 institutional strategies to promote top-level research at 44 universities will be funded with more than €2.4 billion.
The aim of the Excellence Initiative is to make Germany a more attractive research location, making it more internationally competitive and focussing attention on the outstanding achievements of German universities and the German scientific community.
In June 2009 the federal and state governments approved continuing the Excellence Initiative for another five years (2012 through 2017), allocating €2.7 billion in funding.
Before a cluster of excellence or a graduate school is approved the project is examined and evaluated in a two-stage process.
Graduate Schools play a key role not only in developing internationally competitive centres of top-level research and scientific excellence in Germany but also in increasing their recognition and prestige. They serve as an instrument of quality assurance in promoting young researchers and are based on the principle of training outstanding doctoral students within an excellent research environment.
Clusters of excellence will enable German university locations to establish internationally visible, competitive research and training facilities, thereby enhancing scientific networking and cooperation among the participating institutions.
The Excellence Initiative provides funding for institutional strategies that are aimed at developing top-level university research in Germany and increasing its competitiveness at an international level.