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Press Release No. 2 | 19 January 2009
DFG Launches Internet Video Portal on the Excellence Initiative

New Multimedia Site Enables General Public to Experience Top-level Research in Germany

Making it possible to experience top-level research in Germany using multimedia is the aim of the new internet video portal on the Excellence Initiative, launched by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) on 19 January 2009. Each of the facilities at German universities funded under the Excellence Initiative will be presented in a short film, accompanied by up-to-date news and background information, on www.exzellenz-initiative.de and www.excellence-initiative.com. The portal, which is available in German and English, is aimed at the general public, both in Germany and abroad, and is the biggest project to date publicising the Excellence Initiative, which has seen the German government and scientific community join forces to promote outstanding research projects and institutions.

"The Excellence Initiative has led to an overwhelming spirit of optimism that is far greater than anything we expected. The universities have come up with a multitude of innovative and promising ideas and projects that will help German science take a big step forwards on the international playing field, and from which the country as a whole, its economy and its society will profit. We want to present this wealth of ideas and this dynamism in an innovative way on our internet video portal," explained Professor Matthias Kleiner, President of the DFG, at the launch of the new multimedia site. At the institutions that have received Excellence Initiative funding there are already many changes to be seen, said Kleiner, "exciting experiments, state-of-the-art research labs and equipment and, first and foremost, a lot of researchers and scientists full of enthusiasm to put their ideas into practice. The users of the portal will be able to follow these developments in a truly palpable way on the new portal."

At the core of the portal are short films about each of the 85 institutions that have been selected for one of the three funding lines of the Excellence Initiative and which will receive a total of 1.9 billion euros in funding between now and 2012. A portrait of each of the 39 graduate schools, each of the 37 clusters of excellence, and each of the nine institutional strategies is presented in a film lasting between four and five minutes. The films were produced for the DFG by the film maker Lydia Goll, who has made a name for herself in recent years with a large number of scientific films and was also a professor of film and television production at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

On the day of the launch just18 films were available on the portal, 17 presenting institutions and one providing background information on the Excellence Initiative. A new film about another facility will be added to the portal every Monday over the next few months.

These films will be backed up by up-to-date information about the institutions funded under the Excellence Initiative, including initial results generated by the research projects, publication data, announcements of events, and even job vacancies, which will all go to make the work done by these leading research institutions visible in a rich and multifaceted way. There are also links from the institutions and from the portal back to their own sites.

Finally, the portal is rounded off by background information and details on the aims and objectives of the Excellence Initiative, which was established by the German federal and state governments to promote top-level research at German universities and to strengthen German's position as a centre of science and research. The Excellence Initiative is run by the DFG and the German Science Council.

From the outset the portal is fully bilingual, with all of the information being available in German and English. "The Excellence Initiative has also generated a lot of interest internationally and has helped to improve Germany's image as a country full of forward-looking ideas," Kleiner continued. "That is why we also want to reach as many people as possible abroad, to encourage their interest in the institutions funded under the Excellence Initiative and for science and research in Germany."

The DFG sees presenting Germany's leading research institutions, ideas and projects to a broad audience as very important, also in view of the plans to continue the Excellence Initiative after the end of its current funding period. "The heads of the federal and state governments have already agreed in principle to extend the Excellence Initiative beyond 2012," said Matthias Kleiner. "How it will work in practice needs to be agreed on by the politicians and the scientific community very soon though, ideally in the next few months. The DFG's internet video portal is an impressive demonstration of the potential of the Excellence Initiative and the institutions funded by it."

Further Information

The DFG's internet video portal on the Excellence Initiative can be found in German at:

and in English at:

For further information about the portal from the DFG, please contact

  • Marco Finetti, Press and Public Relations Office, Tel. +49 228 885-2230, Marco.Finetti@dfg.de

Detailed information about the Excellence Initiative and the institutions funded is available from: