FAQs about the Excellence Strategy
What does University of Excellence status mean for Universität Hamburg?
In 2019, Universität Hamburg was named a University of Excellence in the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments grant competition—one of only eleven German universities and/or university alliances to receive the honor. It may use the title until 2026.
All Universities of Excellence receive annual funding of up to €15 million in addition to their standard budgets. The money should be used to expand their top research profiles and to strengthen their institutions and alliances.
Universität Hamburg’s grant concept
Universität Hamburg applied for the grant with its flagship-university concept. This concept is based on the idea that the University, the largest research institution in northern Germany, plays a significant role in both the City of Hamburg and in the entire German university system. This role is especially clear in the numerous links to university and nonuniversity partner institutions.
Universität Hamburg—University of Excellence based its grant application on a comprehensive understanding of sustainability and in line with its motto “Innovating and cooperating for a sustainable future.”
Innovation capability, cooperation, and digitalization are major spheres of activity. The University aims to critically reflect upon, exploit, and further develop these activities.
Where do Universität Hamburg—University of Excellence funds go?
The funds received by Universität Hamburg—University of Excellence are used to fund the most various research projects, create new professorships and degree programs, and intensify knowledge-exchange activities, which benefits researchers, students, and the public at large.
When applying, the University already had to clarify the earmarking of funds connected with the excellence designation. It named roughly 20 measures in research, teaching, knowledge exchange, internationalization, and infrastructure.
The University is now realizing these measures step by step. Other measures, such as covering running costs or refurbishing buildings, may not be financed from the money granted in the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments.
What are clusters of excellence, and which ones are there at Universität Hamburg?
There are 4 clusters of excellence at Universität Hamburg. Clusters of excellence are interdisciplinary and cross-institutional research collaborations in which researchers work together in internationally competitive fields.
In September 2018, the German Research Foundation announced that these 4 research alliances under the aegis of Universität Hamburg had been selected on the basis of various funding criteria (PDF).
The German Research Foundation’s decision means that Universität Hamburg can use the additional funding to continue with research on 4 major issues until 2025. The University’s clusters of excellence focus on the future of the world climate, the origins of the universe, the development of new materials, and understanding written artifacts.
Every cluster of excellence receives funding of up to €10 million per year over 7 years.
Which research areas is Universität Hamburg cultivating in the hopes of developing new clusters of excellence?
Universität Hamburg’s research profile is distinguished by core research areas and emerging fields.
Core research areas at Universität Hamburg—University of Excellence Research
The core research areas are at the center of all research that takes place at Universität Hamburg. They are clusters of major research projects on specific topics with a common theme. They are characterized by internationally outstanding quality that becomes visible over a longer period of time and strong cooperation with other universities and nonuniversity institutions.
Clusters of excellence have emerged from 4 of the 5 core research areas at Universität Hamburg:
- Climate, Earth and Environment—Cluster of Excellence Climate, Climatic Change, and Society (CLICCS)
- Photon and Nanosciences—Cluster of Excellence The Hamburg Center for Ultrafast Imaging (CUI)
- Manuscript Cultures—Cluster of Excellence Understanding Written Artefacts
- Particle, Astro- and Mathematical Physics—Cluster of Excellence Quantum Universe
- The fifth core research area at Universität Hamburg is Infection Research.
Emerging fields at Universität Hamburg—University of Excellence
Emerging fields are research areas that should ideally develop into University core research areas, becoming the clusters of excellence of tomorrow.
The emerging fields at Universität Hamburg are:
- Health Economics
- Neurosciences and Cognitive Systems
- Law in Global Contexts
- The Early Modern World
- Grounds, Causes, Reasons.
How does the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments work?
The Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments is a national grant competition that promotes top research at German universities, strengthens Germany as a locus of science and scholarship, and improves its international competitiveness.
With a funding volume of roughly €533 million annually, the program is a heavyweight among Germany’s funding programs. In the past, it was called the Excellence Initiative.
First funding line: German Research Foundation selects clusters of excellence
The competition had 2 phases divided into 2 funding lines. In September 2018, the German Research Foundation granted funding to support clusters of excellence. Universität Hamburg was exceptionally successful. It received grant money for 4 clusters of excellence.
Second funding line: German Science Council names Universities of Excellence
Universities and university alliances that received grants for 2 or more clusters of excellence were eligible in the second phase or funding line for University of Excellence status. On 19 July 2019, the German Science Council selected 11 universities and university alliances based on various funding criteria (PDF). The deciding committee, which also granted the University of Excellence title to Universität Hamburg, consisted of 39 researchers, the science ministers of the federal German states, and the then federal minister for research and education, Anja Karliczek.
Confetti shower: Numerous staff members and guests celebrated the announcement on 19 July 2019 that Universität Hamburg was named one of eleven German universities of excellence.
Rejoicing at the decision to grant clusters in the Excellence Strategy on 27 September 2018 The University’s president, Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Lenzen, and Hamburg’s mayor, Peter Tschentscher, celebrate after the German Research Foundation announces that Universität Hamburg has received funding for all 4 clusters of excellence.