German Excellence Strategy

Information about the national competition to support research in Germany

In order to further strengthen top-level university research, the federal and state governments in Germany have set up a successor program to the Excellence Initiative (2005 through 2017). The German Excellence Strategy is an open-ended program to promote outstanding research clusters and universities. It is initially endowed with a total of 533 million euros annually. Of this money, 75 percent comes from the federal government and 25 percent from the states where the universities are located. Universities and associations of universities in Germany are eligible to apply within the Excellence Strategy. The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities (WR) carry out the academic assessment and selection process.

In the first funding line, 50 clusters of excellence for project-based funding in internationally competitive fields of research will each receive three to ten million euros annually. There are two funding periods of seven years each. Approval and re-approval are dependent on external reviews.

The second funding line, Universities of Excellence is intended to strengthen universities or associations of universities. Depending on the proposal, the funding for universities will amount to 10 to 15 million euros annually, for associations up to 28 million euros annually. Pending a positive review of the universities every seven years, this funding line will go on indefinitely. In the first round of proposals, 11 universities or university associations were selected as universities of excellence.

The funding period for Excellence Clusters within the Excellence Strategy began January 1, 2019, and for the Universities of Excellence begins November 1, 2019.

Further Information

More Information about the German Excellence Strategy

  • Information from the German Council of Science and Humanities