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Universities of Excellence Funding Line

The purpose of the Universities of Excellence funding line is to strengthen universities in the long term and develop their position as a leading international research institution on the basis of successful Clusters of Excellence.

The federal and state governments have agreed to provide a total of 148 million euros for up to 11 grants worth 10 to 15 million euros each annually (or up to 28 million euros for consortia) in this line for the first funding period (2019–2025). In the second funding period, set to begin in 2026, up to four new universities or university consortia may be approved for funding, thus increasing the maximum amount of grants to 15.

The main funding criteria for this line include previous outstanding scientific and institutional achievements as well as the coherence and quality of an overall institutional strategy aimed at extending the university’s position as a leading international research institution and further developing its research in core areas. This also involves dimensions like research-oriented teaching, research infrastructures, and knowledge transfer.

The overall institutional strategy should also touch on aspects like governance, capacity for innovation, support for academic career paths, and equal opportunity.

The Universities of Excellence will be subject to an independent and external evaluation of a selective nature every seven years. To continue receiving funding, the universities or university consortia must provide evidence that they have met the objectives of funding and produced outstanding research results in accordance with international standards. In addition, they must also continue to fulfill the eligibility requirements by successfully applying for the necessary Clusters of Excellence.