Developing Excellence: University of Potsdam enters the Excellence Strategy competition with three applications

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In the new round of the "Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the German States," which has just been launched, the University of Potsdam is applying for funding with three cluster proposals. One application comes from ecology and biodiversity research. The aim is to draw a complex picture of ecological processes, and to focus on the role of single individuals as well as the interaction of many species in an ecosystem in order to more precisely determine the function of biodiversity. A second outline has been submitted by the cognitive sciences. Here, the complex coexistence of language and cognition, development and learning, as well as motivation and behavior, will be researched as a dynamic interaction, whereby cooperation with the educational sciences will also be pursued in order to consistently incorporate considerations about linked learning and educational processes. The third application from the geosciences and environmental sciences focuses on extreme and particularly severe natural hazards and processes such as floods and droughts. The researchers are investigating extreme events with a particular focus on their interaction with society in order to better assess the risks and damage associated with them and to be able to initiate measures in good time in the future.

"All three applications paint an excellent picture of our capabilities," emphasizes University President Prof. Oliver Günther, Ph.D. "The outlines impressively document our commitment, existing research excellence, and the potential of the University of Potsdam as a whole. The mere fact that three powerful consortia have come together in very different subject areas shows that we have taken a good step forward in recent years on our way to the top group of German universities."

The Vice President for Research, Early Career Researchers and Equal Opportunities, Barbara Höhle, sees the three applications as the result of the long-standing research strategy: "This has enabled us to provide targeted support for research areas within the university." Her thanks go "above all to the scientists for their great commitment over the past two years" and to the Ministry of Science, Research and Culture (MWFK). "The ministry strongly supported the university’s plans to participate in the new round of calls from the very beginning," said Professor Höhle.

The research strength achieved by Brandenburg’s largest university is also evidenced by a new high in third-party funding: 64 million euros in 2022. Particularly noteworthy are the funds acquired from the European Commission for the European Digital UniverCity (EDUC) and in DFG funding.

Currently, scientists are involved in five DFG-funded research groups and head two collaborative research centers. In addition, the university has several prestigious ERC grants. Within the Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe programs, scientists at UP have obtained two Starting Grants and two Advanced Grants in different research areas between 2018 and 2022.

The program was first announced in 2005/06 as the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments to promote science and research at German universities. Since 2019, the national funding line has been continued in a modified form under the name "Excellence Strategy." The program is intended to strengthen Germany’s position as a center of science in the long term, increase international competitiveness, and publicize cutting-edge research at German universities.

05-06-2023 / No. 057

Research Gate