On 28 May 2019 Freie Universität Berlin and the Bavarian Research Alliance (BayFOR) organized a UnILiON Open Talk on the topic of „The German Excellence Strategy as from 2019: An Opportunity for University Research and Collaboration” in Brussels.
Around 50 Guests were given the possibility to get acquainted with the national university research funding in Germany by Dr. Oliver Wiegner, the Programme Director for Research Centers at the German Research Foundation (DFG).
The focus of the presentation was the aim of the Excellenc Strategy which concentrates on strengthening Germany’s position as an outstanding place for research in the long term and thereby improving its competitiveness. The strategy has two pillars: one are the Clusters of Excellence designed to support projects in an internationally competitive research field, the second is funding for institutions named Universities of Excellence which funds the development and expansion of excellent research at universities with at least two Clusters or Excellence.
During the Q and A session, Brussels stakeholders engaged in a lively discussion with the presenter. On the topic of whether the strategy was aimed at attracting junior researchers to long term stays in Germany, Dr. Wiegner explained that the German system rather promotes the researchers moving on and acquiring new experiences elsewhere. Additionally, the cooperation between the German Universities of Excellence and their counterparts nominated through other European Excellence initiatives was debated. Interestingly, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) supports the German Clusters of Excellence in this on a voluntary basis.
After the fruitful discourse the participants were able to engage in bilateral talks during a networking lunch.