The Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments


On June 23, 2005 the German federal and state governments agreed on an initiative to promote top-level research at German universities, with the longterm goal to strengthen science and research in Germany on a sustainable basis.

The total funding budget of the Excellence Initiative is 1.9 billion Euros for the first 5-year period between 2006 and 2011; the second funding period will be decided on in 2012.

Funding is divided into three funding lines:

  • Graduate Schools to enhance the education and training of young researchers
  • Clusters of Excellence to promote world-class research
  • Institutional Strategies to promote top-level university research.

In the first round of the Excellence Initiative, the federal and state governments approved of 39 Graduate Schools with a funding volume of 1 million Euros per year each, 37 Clusters of Excellence with a funding volume of 6.5 million Euros each, and nine Institutional Strategies.

In June 2009 the federal and state governments approved continuing the Excellence Initiative for another five years (2012 through 2017), allocating €2.7 billion in funding.

In June 2012 funding was awarded for 45 graduate schools, 43 clusters of excellence and 11 institutional strategies.

For detailed information on the funding programme, please visit the pages of the German Research Foundation and the German Science Council.