The Excellence Initiative (2005-2017), with which the federal government and the federal states provided project-related funding for internationally competitive research fields at universities and in university networks, was followed by the Excellence Strategy. The Excellence Strategy is a funding programme of the federal government and the federal states to sustainably strengthen top-level research and the international competitiveness of German universities. It combines the promotion of cutting-edge research with long-term and strategic investments in the higher education system. The Excellence Initiative was decided by the federal government and federal states in 2016. Decisions on the two funding lines were made in 2018 and for 2019 (see points 1. and 2.).
The Excellence Strategy programme is run jointly by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities (WR). It comprises two funding lines:
Clusters of excellence for the project-related funding of internationally competitive research fields at universities and in university networks. The funding decision in the first round of calls for proposals for the Clusters of Excellence funding line was made in September 2018. Further information can be found on the DFG website.
Universities of Excellence to permanently strengthen universities as institutions or as a network of universities and to expand their leading international position in research on the basis of successful clusters of excellence. The funding decision for the Universities of Excellence funding line was made in July 2019. The German Science and Humanities Council is responsible for the development and implementation of the procedure for the Universities of Excellence funding line as well as its evaluation, which takes place every seven years.
Detailed information on the Excellence Strategy is available here: