The University of Hamburg became the only third-level institution in north Germany to win the Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments (ExStra), and outdid 19 nationwide finalists, a press release said Friday (July 19, 201). The University of Hamburg now ranks among Germany’s eleven best teaching institutions. Last autumn, the University of Hamburg was granted funding for four clusters of excellence, which laid the foundation for this new award. The award-winning universities now have around EUR 148 million per year at their disposal. Around EUR 10 to 15 million annually will be available per university until 2026 initially.
“Flagship University” concept
ExStra is a funding competition for top-level university research and aims to strengthen Germany’s scientific standing and its international competitiveness. The University of Hamburg had submitted its application under the concept “A Flagship University: Innovating and Cooperating for a Sustainable Future”. Dr. Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg, commented: “The university presented itself in its centennial year to international reviewers as a state-of-the-art research and teaching institution. As the 'flagship’ of Hamburg’s scientific institutions, it can advance the quality of studies, research and the transfer of scientific findings to politics, business and society.” Its success is based on “the steep improvements in performance since 2014”, Tschentscher noted while Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Lenzen, University President, hailed the concept of “flagship university”.
Four clusters of excellence
The University of Hamburg had earlier applied successfully for four clusters of excellence, which form the basis for the University of Excellence funding. The German government and states have set aside EUR 533 million annually for ExStra. Of this amount, the German government is funding 75 per cent while the state will pay the remaining 25 per cent. Over the next seven years, the university is expected to receive around EUR 164 million euros for the four clusters of excellence. The eleven universities of excellence are expected to have a total of EUR 148 million at their disposal per annum.
Visit by Science Council
The development and execution of the University of Excellence funding line was undertaken by the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat, WR.) This included a review of participating universities and an on-site visit. A 20-strong delegation consisting of researchers from all over the world visited Hamburg in late January to appraise the status quo and the 24 measures planned by the university. These include the appointment of eleven additional professors and a fund for the “uncomplicated” funding of research projects.