The Excellence Initiative at RWTH Aachen

Female and male researcher conducting an experiment Peter Winandy

The international expert panel appointed by the Joint Science Conference of the Federal and State Governments (GWK) has approved three funding proposals for Clusters of Excellence submitted by RWTH on September 9, 2018.

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For the first time there is a longterm agreement for the sustainable financing of universities, including by the federal government. This means the federal government will institutionally co-finance some universities. An agreement was also reached on a science-driven process for decisions regarding funding. The funding volume amounts to 533 million Euros annually – with a 75 percent contribution from the federal government and 25 percent from the states.

Now the Excellence Strategy will be continued in two funding lines – Excellence Clusters or EXC and Universities of Excellence or EXU. First the EXC was determined. Funding will be focused on them – 385 million Euros per year.

88 proposals submitted by 41 universities have been reviewed, and 57 proposals from 34 universities have been approved for funding. As a result, RWTH will now receive funding for its proposals "The Fuel Science Center – Adaptive Conversion Systems for Renewable Energy and Carbon Sources," "Internet of Production," and "ML4Q – Matter and Light for Quantum Computing," the latter developed in collaboration with the University of Cologne and the University of Bonn. Here you find more information about the clusters.

These clusters will be funded for an initial period of seven years, receiving between three and 10 million euros in funding annually. According to the German Research Foundation DFG, the Excellence Strategy seeks to strengthen Germany as a hub of outstanding research and further improve its international competitiveness.

The longerm funding of the Universities of Excellence by the federal government does not have a time stamp. However it will be regularly evaluated. There are to be a total of eleven Universities of Excellence.

In June 2012, RWTH Aachen entered the second phase of the Excellence Initiative. It is represented in all three funding lines: with the graduate school Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science, AICES, both the Excellence Clusters Integrative Production Technology for High-Wage Countries and Tailor-Made Fuels from Biomass, TMFB, and the Institutional Strategy II.

The institutional strategy is titled "RWTH 2020: Meeting Global Challenges. The Integrated, Interdisciplinary, Technical University." It contributes to RWTH's development as one of the best integrated, interdisciplinary, technical universities worldwide. The decision at the time to continue to the Excellence Initiative at RWTH reinforces the Aachen university's leading role in Germany and its international position.

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