Excellent Institutions

A modern, efficient science system needs different types of universities with differing profiles, since universities and university consortia all have different strengths. The Excellence Strategy has helped institutions identify and further develop their potential to gain worldwide visibility for top-level research.


Competition regularly leads universities to take a critical look at their strengths and weaknesses and further develop their structures in all research-related areas. This has resulted in the science and research system receiving a dynamic boost, as can be seen in improvements in the institutional and financial framework conditions of university research, the situation of scientific personnel, academic career paths and research-oriented teaching, as well as in the expanded interdisciplinary forms of cooperation both within and between institutions. Some of the main overall effects of this include increased performance, institutional strategic capability and international visibility of universities, as well as greater functional differentiation within the German science system as a whole.

The capacity to carry out excellent research also depends on institutional prerequisites and framework conditions. The Excellence Strategy has resulted in significant improvements here: collaborative initiatives among universities have been and continue to be established and expanded, while infrastructures and funding measures have been set up that are geared entirely towards the needs of top-level research. This creates new opportunities for science and research, helping to establish internationally outstanding research areas. Expertise and capacity are effectively combined across the disciplinary structure of the faculties and far beyond the boundaries of the universities themselves. Moreover, through the creation of infrastructural and thematic priorities, excellence funding has often contributed to the development of regional science and research hubs. The programme has had an impact on the universities’ appointment and staffing policies, too, which in many cases have been and continue to be strategically realigned. The funded universities have established tenure-track models and expanded structured programmes for the supervision of doctoral students, while also extending measures to improve the compatibility of family and an academic career and enhance the career prospects of dual-career couples.

Funded Universities of Excellence – an Overview

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Excellent Research

One result of the Excellence Strategy is the increase in the performance of the German research system.

Keys to Success

Networks and cooperation, diversity and early career support as well as science communication are keys to success of the Excellence Strategy.