Excellence Strategy goes into final round

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The Rectorate, headed by  Johannes Wessels (right), and numerous other represent

The Rectorate, headed by Johannes Wessels (right), and numerous other representatives welcomed the international experts this morning. © WWU - MünsterView

The University of Münster is delighted to be welcoming a high-level group of visitors today. As part of the so-called Excellence Strategy commissioned by the national and regional state governments in Germany, an international committee of experts will be spending today and tomorrow appraising the University. Their visit will include numerous discussions with the Rectorate, members of the Board of Governors, deans, heads of department and other members of staff. Starting off the proceedings, the Rectorate this morning gave a presentation in the auditorium of the Schloss on its application in the “University of Excellence” funding line.

The background details: The Excellence Strategy consists of two funding lines. In the first one - “Clusters of Excellence” - the University of Münster was last year awarded two outstanding research associations: “Mathematics Münster” and “Religion and Politics”. Having the minimum two Clusters, the University thus fulfilled the requirements for submitting an application in the second funding line - the “Universities of Excellence”. In this latter category, the principal objective is to present the University, as a whole, as an organisation worthy of receiving funding.

Several appraisers have arrived from the USA and the UK, one comes from India, another from Canada. To mark the event, the Prime Minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Armin Laschet, and the state’s Minister of Science, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, will be coming to Münster on Thursday to be present at the appraisal of the University. There will also be local and regional support: taking part in one of the rounds of discussions held in the Schloss, for example, will be the Mayor of Münster, Markus Lewe, District President Dorothee Feller and the Auxiliary Bishop of Münster, Dr. Stefan Zekorn.

The University of Münster made its application with a concept entitled “Excellence integrates”. The central idea being that research, teaching and the transfer of knowledge to society must be seen as an indivisible whole. The focus is on three University museums (the Geomuseum, the Archaeological Museum and the Bible Museum), located in Pferdegasse, as a so-called “transfer area”. The University Rectorate is also convinced that all teaching staff play a key role in the transfer of knowledge.

The University, the Clusters of Excellence and many other institutes and central departments have been preparing for months for the appraisers’ visit. The two-day appraisal will include not only a series of discussions but also several campus tours with the appraisers, during which members of the University will explain its 132-page application - at central locations such as the Museum Quarter, the “MEET” Battery Research Centre and the “PAN Centre”, a medical teaching building.

In North Rhine-Westphalia Bonn, Cologne, Aachen, Bochum and Münster have qualified to apply for the title of University of Excellence - the award of which entails additional funding of 12 to 15 million euros a year. Observers expect a maximum of eleven universities in Germany to be awarded the coveted title. In North-Rhine Westphalia - the most heavily populated state in Germany - three, or perhaps four, universities are likely to be selected. The decision will be announced on 19 July.

: Norbert Robers / Translation: Ken Ashton