Letter of Intent for Universities of Excellence funding line submitted along with nine full-scale applications for research clusters within the German government’s new competition

Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin are entering the Excellence Strategy competition together. On February 21, 2018, the three universities submitted their letter of intent to the German Council of Science and Humanities in Cologne. Taking note of the unique academic environment and great variety of disciplines in Berlin, they emphasize the vibrant and diverse culture of cooperation. In the Clusters of Excellence funding line, researchers from the named institutions submitted a total of nine full proposals, as invited by the German Council of Science and Humanities and the German Research Foundation (DFG) in September 2017.

The Berlin institutions see the letter of intent as the logical implementation of the cooperation for this competition that they entered into in the summer of 2016. The variety of academic disciplines in the humanities, natural and social sciences, life sciences, and engineering along with the innovative strength in Berlin can be utilized to promote cutting-edge research and make it more visible internationally. For more than ten years an increasingly comprehensive, vibrant, and diverse culture of cooperation has evolved with numerous joint research projects and more collaboration in teaching and promoting young talent as well as everyday use of shared infrastructures.

The cluster projects reflect the high degree of cooperation already in place among the Berlin institutions:

Contestations of the Liberal Script (SCRIPTS)
Designated spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Tanja Börzel (Freie Universität Berlin), Prof. Dr. Michael Zürn (Freie Universität Berlin/ Berlin Social Science Center, WZB)
Applicant university: Freie Universität Berlin

Matters of Activity: Image Space Material
Designated spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schäffner (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Applicant university: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

MATH+ The Berlin Mathematics Research Center
Designated spokespersons: Prof. Günter M. Ziegler (Freie Universität Berlin), Prof. Michael Hintermüller (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Prof. Martin Skutella (Technische Universität Berlin)
Applicant universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin

NeuroCure: Comprehensive approaches to neurological and psychiatric disorders – from mechanisms to interventions
Designated spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Schmitz (Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin)
Applicant universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

SCIoI - Science of Intelligence
Designated spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Oliver Brock (Technische Universität Berlin)
Applicant universities: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin

Shaping Space - Converging Art, Science, Technology
Designated spokesperson: Prof. Dr. -Ing Christoph Gengnagel (Berlin University of the Arts), Prof. Dr. Stefan Weinzierl (Technische Universität Berlin)
Applicant universities: Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin University of the Arts

Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective
Designated spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Anita Traninger, Prof. Dr. Andrew James Johnston (Freie Universität Berlin)
Applicant university: Freie Universität Berlin

Topoi. Stability and Instability in Ancient Civilizations
Designated spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Monika Trümper (Freie Universität Berlin), Prof. Dr. Gerd Graßhoff (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Applicant universities: Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Unifying Systems in Catalysis (UniSysCat)
Designated spokespersons: Prof. Dr. Matthias Driess, Prof. Dr. Arne Thomas, Prof. Dr. Peter Hildebrandt (Technische Universität Berlin)
Applicant university: Technische Universität Berlin

Four of the nine cluster initiatives build on existing Clusters of Excellence. The decision as to which projects will be funded will be announced on September 27, 2018. The winning clusters will then be supported for seven years beginning January 1, 2019. After that, there will be an opportunity to apply for a second funding period.

The decision in the Universities of Excellence funding line will be announced on July 19, 2019. The winning universities will receive funding for seven years beginning November 1, 2019. After seven years and a successful evaluation, they can receive funding for another seven years.

Interview with the heads of the institutions about the letter of intent

Cluster proposals

Berlin University Alliance


Press release

Goran Krstin
Press Spokesperson for the President
Freie Universität Berlin
t: +49 30 838-731 06

Hans-Christoph Keller
Spokesperson, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Head of the Office of Press and Public Relations
t: +49 30 2093-2345

Stefanie Terp
Spokesperson, Technische Universität Berlin
Office for Press, Public Relations and Alumni
t: +49 30 314-23922

Manuela Zingl
Deputy Press Officer
CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin
t: +49 30 450 570 400

Go back