First Rate: Universität Hamburg now a University of Excellence!

Photo: UHH/Ohme  Universität Hamburg is now a University of Excellence!

Photo: UHH/Ohme Universität Hamburg is now a University of Excellence!

Today in Bonn, the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, announced which German universities will be funded through the Excellence Strategy - Universität Hamburg is one of the selected few and will belong, as of November 2019, to the Universities of Excellence group.

The Excellence Strategy of the Federal and State Governments, "ExStra" for short, is a funding competition for top-level university research. ExStra aims to strengthen Germany’s scientific standing and improve its international competitiveness. Universities of Excellence thus serve as Germany’s flagships in the international flotilla of higher education institutions. In this vein, the Universität Hamburg proposal was submitted under the slogan "A Flagship University: Innovating and Cooperating for a Sustainable Future."

University president Dr. h.c. Dieter Lenzen:

"Mission accomplished: we did it! For the first time in the history of its existence, there can be absolutely no doubt about it: our University is certified top class. First of all, I want to thank the many members of the University, from the researchers to the coordinators and management staff, who contributed to this accomplishment. In addition, I also want to thank those members whose daily work facilitated such a triumph: From our HR staff to our building service teams, to our student assistants and lab technicians, our professors and our research associates. Starting today, I never again want to hear Universität Hamburg is "at best average." That is now proven to be straight-up "fake news." The German Council of Science and Humanities has seen the sharp increase in performance over the past five years, which along with our shared concept of a flagship university, was the reason for our success. All crew members and passengers on this great journey ahead of us will work closely together to safely navigate our way to further success, and to continue to serve the City of Hamburg. This journey will simply be first-rate!"

Universität Hamburg’s excellence proposal contains 24 measures to be implemented over the next seven years using the funds granted. The University will appoint eleven new professorships with top-level researchers, invite numerous visiting scholars to come to Hamburg to conduct research and teach, and will launch additional funding instruments such as a fund to provide quick and unbureaucratic support for research projects. The entire University will profit immensely from these 24 measures.

Universität Hamburg already achieved sensational success with its application for four clusters of excellence in late 2018 as all four applications were approved. Since then, Hamburg has been considered a hot candidate for University of Excellence funding.

Universities granted two or more clusters of excellence in the first phase of the competition were eligible to submit proposals in December to become Universities of Excellence. Some universities chose to form consortia for this purpose. Universität Hamburg is among the seventeen eligible universities and two university consortia that have submitted proposals to become Universities of Excellence. In total, there will be about ¤148 million in funding annually available for distribution among the ten universities and one university consortia announced today. Initial funding runs until 2026, after which the institutions will be evaluated. If the evaluation is positive, the grant will be extended for at least seven more years.

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, including an on-site visit. A 20-person delegation made up of researchers from around the world visited Hamburg in late January to appraise the status quo and the University’s planned measures.

Based on these reviews, a committee of experts, made up of 39 scholars, the Federal Minister for Education and Research (with sixteen votes), and the ministers of science and research from the sixteen Federal States (each with one vote), made their decision today, 19 July 2019.

Read more about Universität Hamburg in the Excellence Strategy. Press release as PDF

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