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Information for Researchers No. 43 | 11 July 2016
Programme Announcement: Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments – Clusters of Excellence Funding Line

DFG passes resolution to implement programme

On 6 July 2016, the General Assembly of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) agreed to the DFG’s participation in implementing the tasks described in the Administrative Agreement between the Federal and State Governments in Accordance with Article 91b Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law on the Funding of Top-Level Research at Universities – Excellence Strategy of 16 June 2016.

The Excellence Strategy consists of two funding lines: 1. clusters of excellence for the project-based funding of internationally competitive fields of research in universities and university networks, and
2. universities of excellence to strengthen universities as institutions and university networks in the long term and further develop their leading international role on the basis of successful clusters of excellence.

In accordance with the administrative agreement between the federal and state governments and the decision of the General Assembly, the DFG will be responsible for the development and implementation of the programme in the clusters of excellence funding line. For the overall programme it will cooperate with the German Council of Science and Humanities, which will develop and implement the programme for the universities of excellence funding line.

As part of the programme implementation, a Committee of Experts for the Excellence Strategy consisting of 39 researchers from various areas of science and the humanities will be formed, as will an Excellence Commission comprising this committee and the federal and state research ministers. The Committee of Experts will decide on the organisation of the funding programme at its inaugural meeting on 20/21 September 2016. The resulting guidelines will then be published.

The clusters of excellence funding line will use a two-stage competitive and science-driven process (draft proposals and full proposals). Funding will begin on 1 January 2019. A total of approximately 385 million euros per year will be available for clusters of excellence.

For the universities of excellence funding line, please refer to the programme announcement released by the German Council of Science and Humanities.

Graduate schools, clusters of excellence and institutional strategies funded through the Excellence Initiative on the basis of the Excellence Agreement II may apply for bridge funding for a maximum of 24 months with funding to begin on 1 November 2017, up to an annual maximum of the level of funding approved for the last 12 months. Bridge funding for graduate schools and clusters of excellence will end if and when they secure new funding as clusters of excellence (1 January 2019).


This text is available at Interner Linkwww.dfg.de/en/research_funding/announcements_proposals/info_wissenschaft_16_43/. Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item.

Further Information

The Excellence Strategy programme is designed to continue and further develop the efforts begun with the Excellence Initiative to strengthen universities by supporting research of the highest standard, enhancing their research profiles, and facilitating cooperation in the research system. The aim is to bolster Germany's position as a research location in the long term, further increase its international competitiveness, and continue the successful development, which aimed to nurture the very best research and make Germany an even better place for research and study.

Further information about the Administrative Agreement between the Federal and State Governments in Accordance with Article 91b Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law on the Funding of Top-Level Research at Universities in the version dated 16 June 2016 can be found at:

Brief, informal proposals for bridge funding must be received by the DFG's Head Office by 1 November 2016 (cut-off deadline). These proposals will not be reviewed; instead, awards will be approved based on the concrete organisation of the bridge funding to be defined by the Committee of Experts.

For more information about the programme, visit:

Website of the German Council of Science and Humanities:

DFG programme contacts:

For the overall programme:

For the clusters of excellence funding line: