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Press Release No. 53 | 8 December 2016
DFG Announces Winners in Second Round of International Research Marketing Competition

Two universities and one non-university research institution to receive 100,000 euros to implement their strategic ideas / Special start-up prize to be awarded for the first time

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) today announced the winners of the second round of an ideas competition in international research marketing. Awards will go to the Humboldt University of Berlin, Goethe University Frankfurt and the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam. The three institutions will each receive prize money of 100,000 euros to implement their research marketing actions. In addition, a special start-up prize was offered for the first time this year, designed for recipients who want to establish research marketing at their institutions. This special award, worth 75,000 euros, will go to the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. The prizes are funded from special funds of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The award ceremony will be held in Potsdam on 16 February 2017. This year 19 universities and research institutions took part in the competition.

The ideas competition is designed to promote activities that enhance the visibility and attractiveness of German research abroad and attract highly qualified researchers, either to participate in collaborative projects with German researchers or to visit Germany for research purposes. “We believe that the role of international research marketing at higher education institutions is more important now than ever before and that universities must be supported in developing structures to enhance this area,” said DFG Secretary General Dorothee Dzwonnek. “The competition for the best minds is getting more difficult worldwide. It is becoming increasingly important to boost Germany's visibility as an outstanding place of research in the global research system and to attract highly qualified researchers to Germany. For this reason, strategic international research marketing will become more and more significant for German research institutions,” Dzwonnek continued.

The winning ideas impressed the international selection panel, consisting of research managers and experts in internationalisation, communication and marketing, through their bold approaches and successful focus on individual institutional competence. The proposed activities were found to be very tangible and represent genuine partnerships between research and administration within the universities and research institutions, strongly anchored at the leadership level. In addition, the actions no longer merely focus on individual institutions, but on regions and their core research areas:

The focus of the research marketing proposal submitted by the Humboldt University of Berlin is a journalist-in-residence programme. Together with the Technical University of Berlin, the Charité and the Einstein Foundation Berlin and with the support of the Wissenschaft im Dialog initiative and Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH, talented young journalists from North and South America and Asia – regions where the Humboldt University has strategically developed its international network – will be invited to visit Berlin. They will have the opportunity to get to know Berlin as a hub of research, including its clusters of excellence and graduate schools, and report on their impressions back home.

The idea presented by Goethe University Frankfurt is based on the university’s core research area in ubiquitin and autophagy research (UBAUT), which came about through the Collaborative Research Centre “Molecular and Functional Characterisation of Selective Autophagy”. The aim is to network UBAUT research in the Rhine-Main region with leading universities in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Boston area. To this end, a fellowship programme will be established and a convention for German and US researchers will be organised on the US West Coast.

The joint research marketing idea designed by the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences and the Geo.X network focuses on two regions: Russia and the Middle East. This clear regional focus is intended to help maintain bilateral dialogue through research and promote scientific collaboration in regions where little has been done to date in this area. The GFZ will organise summer schools and workshops specifically for early career researchers. Networking opportunities will also be offered through “Geoscience Days” at the German embassies in the chosen regions.

The special start-up prize, offered for the first time in 2016, will go to the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. Through a proposal entitled Kaiserslautern Research Matching (KAREMA), the university is taking its first systematic steps in international research marketing. It intends to recruit international postdoctoral researchers in the following core research areas: optics and material sciences; mathematical modelling in the engineering sciences; and biology and biotechnology. In the jury’s view, this project could provide inspiration for other smaller institutions.

The International Research Marketing project is a joint initiative of the DFG, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG). These organisations promote Germany as a place to carry out research through the “Research in Germany” brand. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the initiative “Promote innovation and Research in Germany”.

Further Information

For more information about the DFG ideas competition “International Research Marketing”, visit:

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