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Excellence Initiative: University of Freiburg Qualifies for Champions League

The Albert-Ludwig University of Freiburg Receives Green Light for its Institutional Strategy

Freiburg, 19.10.2007

The grants committee has reached its eagerly awaited decision in the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments for the promotion of science and research at German universities: The Albert-Ludwig University has been given a green light to realize its Institutional Strategy. The university has thus reached the highest possible level of funding and can now officially refer to itself as an „excellence university.” In addition, the committee approved funding for one Cluster of Excellence. The university will receive a total of 132 mill.  euros in funding for the next five years.

The decision was received with great enthusiasm at the University of Freiburg. The rector of the university, Professor Dr. Wolfgang Jäger, sees the committee’s decision as „a clear indication that the excellent research and instruction at the University of Freiburg qualifies it to play in the Champions League.”

This great success puts the University of Freiburg in the position to realize its Institutional Strategy and attract highly qualified young academics and internationally renowned researchers and visiting scholars, thus further increasing the excellence in research at the university. With an international research school for top-level international and German researchers, the „Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies“ (FRIAS), Freiburg aims to establish itself among the best research universities worldwide. Instead of days on end of obstacles, filled with applications for third-party funds, commission work, and bureaucracy, scholars will be given the freedom they need to conduct excellent research. FRIAS will focus initially on four disciplines: literature and linguistics, history, materials research, and life sciences.

To receive funding for its Institutional Strategy (third line of funding), universities also had to have their proposals for the first and second lines of funding approved. For the Albert-Ludwig University, the committee approved the proposal for the Cluster of Excellence Centre for Biological Signalling Studies“ (bioss).

The initiative began in June 2005. Freiburg is among the ten top universities which reached the final stage of the first round of the competition in all three lines of funding. The university has thus yet again demonstrated its top position among German universities, already documented in nationwide rankings. With this honor in the „Excellence Initiative,” an internationally recognized decision has been made in favor of Freiburg.

The following proposals submitted by the University of Freiburg were successful:

The Spemann Graduate School for Biology and Medicine, which was selected in the first round, is already among the graduate schools receiving funding from the Excellence Initiative.

Cluster of Excellence Line of Funding:

Cluster of Excellence „Centre for Biological Signalling Studies“ (bioss)

Many human diseases are caused by defective or deregulated signaling, and a better understanding of these processes will have major impact on medical research and practice. The Cluster of Excellence „Centre for Biological Signalling Studies“ (bioss) will investigate the molecular foundations and principles of biological signal processing by developing and testing a new, highly interdisciplinary approach.

Institutional Strategy Line of Funding:

Institutional Strategy „Windows for Research“, “Third line of funding”

Excerpt from the summary of the Institutional Strategy (available in full on the Web):

The Institutional Strategy of the University of Freiburg encompasses three main objectives:

1   creating „windows for research“ for its own scholars and young researchers in Freiburg itself,

2   fostering a „new universitas“ through communication between the disciplines in order to open up innovative potential at the interfaces between them,

3   furthering its own „inner internationalization,“ i.e. establishing an international teaching and research community and assessing performance and quality on the basis of international standards.

The University of Freiburg pursues all three objectives on the basis of a broad spectrum of high-performing disciplines. The planned measures for achieving these objectives are:

1   The founding of a „Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies“ (FRIAS) to provide windows for research in four outstanding research fields designated as „beacons of learning.“ For the first six-year period, the chosen fields are: (a) Historical Studies, (b) Language and Literature, (c) Life Sciences, and (d) Soft Matter Science. The members of FRIAS will be internationally renowned senior fellows of the University of Freiburg, external senior fellows, and mainly external junior fellows.

2   The establishment of a program for promoting groups of young researchers („Research Group Program“), primarily to improve performance in research areas not yet represented in the FRIAS which wish to form a new school in the future.

3   The furtherance of the „new universitas“ through a program of research centers which transcends the boundaries of the disciplines by promoting transdisciplinary centers for the development of innovative areas of excellence and by encouraging them to also form new schools for the FRIAS.

4   The expansion of the „International Graduate Academy of Freiburg,“ which supports doctoral students by providing structures, quality standards, and opportunities for acquiring professional qualifications.

5   The establishment of a central „Science Support Centre“ to provide professional support and assistance to researchers applying for and managing projects backed by third-party funds.

Further information:

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