What Is ExStra?
German universities perform top-level research, and selected universities receive support from the German federal and state governments. To further strengthen the international competitiveness of research at German universities, the federal and state governments have established the Excellence Strategy (ExStra) as a permanent funding programme. Researchers and universities enjoy a completely free choice of research fields and profile areas. The annual budget for selected Clusters of Excellence and Universities of Excellence is currently EUR 533 million p. a., with the overall budget having been increased to EUR 687 million per year from 2026 onwards.
The key objective of the Excellence Strategy is to strengthen top-level research in areas that are internationally competitive, to institutionally strengthen German universities, and to advance the development of the German higher education system. To do so, the Excellence Strategy comprises two separate but intertwined funding lines.