28 Jan 2009   |   News

DFG shows off Excellence Initiative as talks go on to extend it beyond 2012

An internet video portal on the R&D Excellence Initiative has been launched by the German Research Foundation to give a flavour of its top-level research.

A new internet video portal on the R&D Excellence Initiative has been launched by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) to give a flavour of top-level research in Germany.

Each of the facilities funded under the Excellence Initiative will be shown in a short film, accompanied by up-to-date news and background.  The portal, available in German and English, is aimed at the general public both in Germany and abroad, and is the biggest advert to date for the Excellence Initiative, in which the government and scientific community are joining forces to promote outstanding research projects and institutions.

“The Excellence Initiative has led to an overwhelming spirit of optimism that is far greater than anything we expected. The universities have come up with a multitude of innovative and promising ideas and projects that will help German science take a big step forwards on the international playing field, and from which the country as a whole, its economy and its society will profit,” said Matthias Kleiner, President of the DFG, at the launch. “We want to present this wealth of ideas and this dynamism in an innovative way on our internet video portal.”

There are already changes to be seen at the institutions that have received Excellence Initiative funding, said Kleiner, “Exciting experiments, state-of-the-art research labs and equipment and, first and foremost, a lot of researchers and scientists full of enthusiasm to put their ideas into practice. The users of the portal will be able to follow these developments.”

In total 85 institutions that have been selected for one of the three funding lines of the Excellence Initiative and which will receive a total of €1.9 billion between now and 2012. A portrait of each of the 39 graduate schools, each of the 37 clusters of excellence, and each of the nine institutional strategies is presented in a film lasting between four and five minutes. The films were produced for the DFG by the filmmaker Lydia Goll, who has made a name for herself in recent years with a large number of scientific films and was also a professor of film and television production at the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences.

On the day of the launch 18 films were available on the portal. A new film about another facility will be added to the portal every Monday over the next few months. These films will be backed up by information about the institutions funded under the Excellence Initiative, including initial results, publication data, announcements of events, and job vacancies.

The portal is rounded off by background information and details on the aims and objectives of the Excellence Initiative, which was established by the German federal and state governments to promote top-level research at German universities and to strengthen Germany’s position as a centre of science and research.

All information is available in German and English. “The Excellence Initiative has also generated a lot of interest internationally and has helped to improve Germany’s image as a country full of forward-looking ideas,” Kleiner said. “That is why we also want to reach as many people as possible abroad, to encourage their interest in the institutions funded under the Excellence Initiative and for science and research in Germany.”

The DFG sees presenting Germany’s leading research institutions, ideas and projects to a broad audience as very important, especially in view of the plans to continue the Excellence Initiative after the end of its current funding period.

 “The heads of the federal and state governments have already agreed in principle to extend the Excellence Initiative beyond 2012,” said Kleiner. “How it will work in practice needs to be agreed on by the politicians and the scientific community very soon though, ideally in the next few months. The DFG’s internet video portal is an impressive demonstration of the potential of the Excellence Initiative and the institutions funded by it.”

The DFG’s internet video portal on the Excellence Initiative can be found in German and  English.

Never miss an update from Science|Business:   Newsletter sign-up