With its numerous diverse networks, Freie Universität is a modern, future-oriented university setting directions on the national and international levels. The university’s institutional strategy, rewarded by the German Excellence Initiative in 2007 and 2012, builds on the strength of these networks, a strength which is enhanced through the interaction of first-class partners. Intensive networking in research and teaching – on the regional, national, and international levels – has been fundamental to Freie Universität Berlin from the start.
In the context of the Excellence Initiative, Freie Universität is able to expand these networks further and to offer researchers comprehensive support: various proven and innovative ways and means of supporting young researchers, and promoting internationalization and research help to make the University even more effective as a location for research and as a network partner. Thus, in the second program phase Freie Universität is pursuing the work it successfully began during the first phase.
Since its founding in 1948, the academic ethos of the Freie Universität has been determined by these three values, united in the seal of the University: truth, justice and freedom. Within the framework of the network concept, these core values are demonstrating their effectiveness as guiding principles for the academic challenges of the 21st century. They are an expression of a liberal conception of the university, which views the intellectual claim to truth, social commitment and intellectual autonomy as the basis of modern, top-level research.
Cooperation with regional and international research institutions is also governed by these key concepts. Gender equality at all levels also plays an important role in the University’s conception of itself. The successful practice of equal opportunity, diversity management and internationally-oriented gender studies, which are connected in the GenderNet Freie Universität, constitute an additional feature of university excellence.
In keeping with its core values, the Freie Universität relies on flexible, open-ended networks in which researchers conduct their research collegially and responsibly. Such partnerships are not created on the drawing board, but grow with the research interests and activities of researchers. They range from close cooperations with non-university partners in the region of Berlin-Brandenburg to research collaborations with partners worldwide.
Through the three strategic centres that were established in the first phase of the institutional strategy, the Freie Universität will pursue the systematic development and support of its networks. Junior researchers derive a special benefit from these connections: in the framework of a career path model, junior researchers are provided with optimal support in the various phases of their training and work.
The Center for Research Strategy assumes key responsibilities in achieving strategic goals in providing support for young researchers - such as the Junior Research Groups - and provides guidance in the expansion of existing research networks, for example in the context of the Focus Areas of the Freie Universität.
The Dahlem Research School develops concepts for supporting structured doctoral studies and junior researchers at the Freie Universität, in the form of fellowships and manifold training programs.
The Center for International Cooperation provides various forms of support for international research collaborations in which researchers at the Freie Universität are involved. An important role is played in this area by the international liaison offices, which the University has set up in seven global regions. The Center also acts internationally in order to attract talented junior researchers and promotes tight-knit connections with top international universities through its Primary Partnerships network.