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Excellence Strategy

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.

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 voted to participate in the Excellence Strategy. This arrangement was agreed to by the General Assembly of the DFG and the Scientific Commission of the German Council of Science and Humanities at their respective meetings on 6 July and 7 July 2016. The two organisations will implement the new programme 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.

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).

The Clusters of Excellence funding line envisages 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 will publish a call for the Universities of Excellence funding line.


Further information

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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