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Clusters of Excellence (Excellence Strategy)

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Clusters of Excellence (Excellence Strategy)

Clusters of Excellence support project-based funding in internationally competitive research fields at a university or university consortium.

This funding line, which was established under the Excellence Initiative (2005 – 2017), was further developed in the Excellence Strategy.

Clusters of Excellence are intended to form an important part of the strategic and thematic planning of the applicant university/universities, hone their profiles and promote prioritisation. They are also expected to create excellent training and career opportunities for early career researchers. Together with the Universities of Excellence, Clusters of Excellence serve to strengthen Germany's position as a research location in the long term and further improve its international competitiveness.

Additional information on Clusters of Excellence, including the programme objectives, eligibility requirements and proposal submission procedure, can be found in the call for proposals, which was agreed upon by the Committee of Experts at its inaugural meeting on 20/21 September 2016.

The Clusters of Excellence funding line envisages an academically driven, two-stage competitive process (draft proposals and full proposals), which will be implemented by the DFG.

Draft proposals for Clusters of Excellence must be submitted to the DFG Head Office by 3 April 2017.

To facilitate the planning of review meetings, universities and university consortia that intend to submit a proposal are requested to submit a non-binding letter of intent by 1 December 2016.

Funding will begin on 1 January 2019.

Detailed information on proposal submission and the review and decision-making processes is available in the programme guidelines (DFG form ExStra 100).

Additional Information


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

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