• Brain City Berlin

Congratulations: The “Berlin University Alliance“ receives funding of the Excellence Strategy

19.07.2019 | Together we are stronger. And also more successful. As the Berlin University Alliance, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin applied for the title of Excellence University with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The decision was made today: An international panel of experts has now selected the Berlin University Alliance for funding within the framework of the German Excellence Strategy (ExStra) of the German federal and state governments. Great news for Brain City Berlin!

 

Dr. Stefan Franzke, Managing Director of Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH

"Universities are powerful engines of Berlin as a business location."

At the end of 2018, a total of 17 universities and two university alliances applied for the title University of Excellence, which was advertised nationwide as part of the Excellence Strategy (ExStra). Only eleven were able to win. Today, the names of the winners selected by an international panel of experts were officially announced. The Berlin University Alliance was one of them. The merger of the Technische Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin, and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin to form an alliance is something special because the idea of cooperation is also typical of the cosmopolitan Brain City Berlin.
 
Already today, Berlin has international appeal as a science location. Top researchers and top talents from all over the world are attracted to the capital city. Here they can exchange ideas freely and at a high level on the pressing topics of our time and work innovatively to open up important new research areas in an interdisciplinary manner. In short, the Berlin University Alliance's award of the title of Excellence is also an award for the entire Berlin top research community. Berlin's business community will also benefit enormously from the award. Congratulations!

Interview

3 questions for Dr. Stefan Franzke, Managing Director of Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH

1. Dr. Franzke, the Berlin University Alliance has been selected for funding within the framework of the federal and state excellence strategy. What does this speak for?
 
First of all, I congratulate the universities participating in the Berlin University Alliance, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin on their well-deserved success. The fact that the Berlin University Association was selected for funding within the framework of the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments speaks for the outstanding scientific achievements that are achieved in the capital on a daily basis.

The funding within the framework of the Excellence Strategy makes Berlin's cutting-edge research visible to the outside world. It also underlines the high quality of research in Berlin as a science location.
 

2. What significance do the universities have for Berlin as a business location?

The universities and colleges are strong engines of Berlin as a business location. The transfer of knowledge and innovation between Berlin companies and universities, which takes the form of joint projects, increases the capital's international innovativeness and competitiveness in many areas.

This applies above all to promising sectors such as health care and life sciences, energy technology and mobility. Added to this is the high number of innovative spin-offs from universities. The many talents who are optimally trained in a broad spectrum of subjects at Berlin's universities and colleges also make a decisive contribution to the success of Berlin's economy with their know-how.
 

3. What opportunities does the alliance of the four  universities of the Brain City Berlin offer?
 
The merger of Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin to form an alliance was a courageous step: Apart from the Berlin Alliance, only one other university alliance applied nationwide as part of the Excellence Strategy competition. The fact that Berlin's universities can work well together has already been successfully demonstrated in a number of research projects.

The strategy has thus worked. In its implementation, the alliance will facilitate interdisciplinary project cooperation and pave the way for innovative approaches and knowledge transfer in industry and society. Together, the scientists involved will meet the challenges of our time. This approach is not only contemporary, but also characteristic of Berlin. At the same time, the merger facilitates the integration of topics from Berlin science into capital city marketing.

In this way, the network also strengthens the international appeal of Brain City Berlin.
 

 

What does winning the title of Excellence mean for the Berlin University Alliance?

First of all, a permanent grant of 15 to 28 million euros per year. In total, the eleven selected universities have an annual sum of around 148 million euros at their disposal. Each grant is co-financed at a rate of 25 percent by the respective federal state.
 
Prior to this, the Berlin University Alliance acquired seven interdisciplinary collaborative research projects as so-called Clusters of Excellence within the framework of the excellence strategy. This was also the prerequisite for applying for the title of excellence. The currently approved funding will give a qualitative boost to the interdisciplinary research of the three participating universities and inspire new projects. One example is the recently established Centre for Climate Research.

This is where the Berlin University Alliance intends to pool its expertise in order to develop solutions to one of the greatest global challenges. The focus is on networking. The universities are already holding talks with representatives of the Fridays for Future movement to think about possible forms of cooperation. A link with the Scientists for Future movement is also in the pipeline. Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Science and Research, welcomed the project as an "outstanding initiative that will take climate research in Berlin to a new level" and emphasized: "Our universities are repeatedly demonstrating the great potential that they can unleash through intelligent cooperation".
 
The excellence funding of the network, which is to begin at the beginning of November 2019, will open up opportunities for the entire Berlin top research community. It will bring more jobs, better laboratory equipment and a new quality of cooperation. In addition, it will release fresh energies. (vdo)