The third funding category in the Excellence Initiative, “Institutional Strategies for Advancing Top-level University Research,” aimed at strengthening universities as holistic institutions and enhancing their international visibility and competitiveness. In order to be funded, a university had to develop a long-term institutional strategy that would advance cutting-edge research and the promotion of young scientists. The assessment of the institutional strategies took into account both the current research strength of the university and the additional potential that could be released with the implementation of the submitted strategy proposal.
As one of nine German universities, Freie Universität was successful in convincing the Excellence Initiative Grants Committee of its future concept, known by the title of the “International Network University.” This institutional strategy follows a topic-related management approach. The overall aim is to strategically establish clusters of expertise, systematically initiate productive international networks in research and higher education, and promote young researchers through the reshaping of graduate education.
The jury determined that with its innovative, dynamic approach that balances central strategic macro-management and individual responsibility, Freie Universität will be able to substantially enhance its research profile, its attractiveness to young researchers, and its international connectivity and competiveness. The establishment of central coordination- and service institutions was regarded as a particular asset in the university’s effort to foster interdisciplinary and international academic networks.