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Press Release No. 37 | 3 August 2009
Multimedia Top-level Research

Positive feedback about the DFG's Internet video portal on the Excellence Initiative

The new Internet video portal on the Excellence Initiative launched by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) early this year aimed to make it possible to experience top-level German research via multimedia. Eventually, all of the institutions at German universities funded under the Excellence Initiative will be presented in a short film lasting four to five minutes on www.exzellenz-initiative.de and www.excellence-initiative.com. A new film about another institution is added to the portal every Monday, accompanied by up-to-date news and material available for download as well as background information on the projects presented.

A good six months after the portal was launched in mid-January 2009, half of the total of 85 graduate schools, clusters of excellence and institutional strategies funded under the Excellence Initiative have now been presented on the Internet video portal - time to take stock, and it looks good in a number of ways.

"The portal shows, in a very concrete and graphic way, just how many promising ideas the Excellence Initiative has set in motion at German universities and research institutions", the President of the DFG, Professor Matthias Kleiner said about the portal. "Anyone who wants to find out which institutions and topics in German science are set to be the key international players in the years ahead can find some impressive examples here." The films that are available so far, Kleiner continued, portray an image of "a scientific community on the verge of something new - with exciting experiments, modern buildings and equipment and, first and foremost, a large number of researchers and scientists who are enthusiastic about their work and about telling everyone about it, making scientific excellence truly visible."

The interest in the multimedia insights into the top-level research work going on is immense. The most important figure, from the DFG's point of view, is that there are now over 300 of the four to five minute long videos being downloaded and watched by users of the portal each day, and the portal and the information it provides are also available via numerous links from other websites. The portal has also been very well received by the media, with several television broadcasters, both German and from abroad, making use of it for reports on science and research in Germany.

The production of the films, which are prepared and filmed for the DFG by the film maker and science author Lydia Goll in cooperation with the funding recipients, also got off to a very good start. "The cooperation with the scientists and researchers has run very smoothly, right through from writing the screenplays to the actual filming and the interviews and to the final approval and completion of the films", Lydia Goll emphasised. Her film teams include students from the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences, thus making the portal a contribution towards training future professionals in the film production industry, which is of particular importance to the DFG. Making these films, Lydia Goll explained, gives the film makers an opportunity to take a look behind the scenes of the most state-of-the-art laboratories and research institutions. "We get to know some very interesting people and never cease to be amazed at how well many of them are able to describe their work on camera." The finished films are also used by a number of institutions for their own press and publicity purposes, for instance at trade fairs and conferences, making the DFG portal on the Excellence Initiative an expression of the increased media appeal of science and of scientists and researchers in Germany.

The bilingual German and English portal is aimed at a general audience from Germany and abroad and is ideal for anyone interested in finding out about top-level research in Germany using Internet's capability to present information through various media. As well as the general public, the media and the scientific community itself, the portal was also aimed particularly at politicians in its early stages. "The portal was intended to stimulate the discussion about the continuation of the Excellence Initiative, which has now been agreed to by the heads of the federal and state governments, a fact that we are very pleased about", said the president of the DFG, Professor Kleiner. In the months ahead the portal and the information it offers will continue to be promoted actively to the general public, for example in schools. This is another area in which the portal has established good and consistent cooperation with the research institutions funded, the producers said in the summary of its success to date.

Further Information

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

and in English on:

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

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
  • Lydia Goll, aca-de-media, Tel. +49 6071 301898, goll@aca-de-media.de