15. Januar 2019 |

we move What you should know about the Excellence Strategy at TU Braunschweig

Technische Universität Braunschweig is applying to become an University of Excellence. For that purpose, a team of international evaluators will be visiting Carolo-Wilhelmina on 2 and 3 May. What is the evaluation procedure? What are the advantages of being an University of Excellence? What does our motto mean? Here are some of the key questions and answers about the Excellence Strategy.

What is the Excellence Strategy?

Through the Excellence Strategy funding programme, the Federal Government and the Federal States aim to strengthen universities for the long term. They want to promote top-notch performances in science, specialised fields and cooperative partnerships in the scientific world. The Excellence Strategy is a joint programme of the DFG research funding organisation and the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) and comprises two lines of funding:

  • Clusters of Excellence for project-specific funding of internationally competitive research at universities and university alliances; and
  • Universities of Excellence for the long-term strengthening of universities as institutions in their own right. 11 selected universities will receive approximately €10 million annually for seven years. The funds are to be used to develop and expand the universities’ international top-tier positions in research. To apply to be an University of Excellence, a university must have at least two Clusters of Excellence.

How was TU Braunschweig eligible to apply to become an University of Excellence?

TU Braunschweig was able to secure funding under the Excellence Strategy for two Clusters of Excellence, SE²A – Sustainable and Energy Efficient Aviation, dedicated to researching energy-efficient and low-noise aircraft, and QuantumFrontiers, working on quantum and measurement technologies (a joint Cluster of Excellence of TU Braunschweig and Leibniz Universität Hannover). This makes us one of the 19 universities in Germany that are eligible to apply. The two research projects, QuantumFrontiers and SE²A, will receive funding for seven years from 2019 onwards.

How much funding would TU Braunschweig receive as an University of Excellence, when would the funding begin, and how long would it continue?

Funding for Universities of Excellence will start on 1 November 2019 and will continue for seven years. TU Braunschweig has applied for a total of €75 million.

What does this have to do with me?

For those universities that are successful in their applications, the Excellence Strategy will unlock additional financial resources to further strengthen their areas of expertise. This will put them in a much better position in the bid for the best scientists, key projects and other funding – including after the period of Excellence Strategy funding. The funds that Universities of Excellence would normally have to use for those ends would be freed up for other projects.

The additional funding we will receive if our application is successful will give us leeway for new ideas and their implementation. Students and early career scientists will be able to participate in cutting-edge research projects. In addition to extra funding, the title will enhance our prestige. This is an advantage for our graduates, and for our early career scientists and managers interested in a career change.

Who will evaluate TU Braunschweig?

A team of 25 international scientists will come to TU Braunschweig for an on-site visit on 2 and 3 May. After that, a Committee of Experts made up of 39 members with proven research track records, representing the entire range of academic disciplines, will make the final decision. In addition, the Committee members will all have extensive experience in international environments, university management, teaching or the private sector.

What is the evaluation procedure?

The evaluation will follow a standardised procedure. There will be presentations, tours of various research centres, and interviews. Some 140 members of TU Braunschweig belonging to various groups will speak with the evaluators in English. Besides the university’s Executive Board and the Senate, this will include deans, professors, early career scientists and students, representatives of various committees, the Staff Council, the Administration, and Central Facilities. There will also be interviews with representatives of our cooperation partners and with the Mayor of Braunschweig.

How can members of the university community take part?

On 2 May, the first day of the evaluation, University Square will be transformed into a “Campus in Motion” and the entire university will celebrate our motto, “we move”. In six theme areas (Sports, Culture, Research, Innovation, Sustainability and Society), TU Braunschweig students and staff will present what they move, and what moves them, beginning at 11 a.m. There will be exciting activities including experiments, artistic performances and sporting challenges. At 5 p.m., the activities will come to an end so that the party can get started. From then until 10 p.m., we will eat, dance and celebrate together.

You can also join the opening event on 2 May. 400 seats in the Tentomax auditorium have been reserved for TU Braunschweig staff members. Tickets are available from the administrative offices of the Faculties and Administrative Units.

Which other universities are applying?

A total of 17 universities and two university alliances have submitted proposals. Besides TU Braunschweig, these are: RWTH Aachen University, Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), University of Bonn, Technische Universität Dresden, University of Freiburg, Universität Hamburg, Heidelberg University, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Kiel University, University of Cologne, University of Konstanz, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU Munich), Technical University of Munich (TUM), University of Münster, University of Stuttgart and University of Tübingen. The alliances are the three universities of Berlin (Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin) and the universities of Hanover (Leibniz University Hannover and Hannover Medical School). A maximum of 11 universities will be chosen.

When will the decision be made?

On 19 July 2019, the Excellence Commission’s funding decision will be announced. The Excellence Commission consists of the Committee of Experts and the Science Ministers of the Federal Government and the Länder.

Our proposal’s motto is “we move… limits in science, in minds, in structures”. But what does that mean?

Every single one of us moves things – and that’s what our motto stands for. Moving things big and small to make sure research, teaching and real-world application function at their best. It’s all about moving boundaries in science and creating new knowledge.

Where can I see the text of our proposal?

The text has been distributed to the institutes and facilities and can be reviewed there.

What will happen if our proposal is unsuccessful?

We have already won! Not only was TU Braunschweig able to secure funding for two Excellence Clusters but, in applying to become an University of Excellence, we have focussed on our intrinsic strengths, and we know which issues we want keep working on in the future. Our proposal is based on our aims and values and is a consistent continuation of our strategy, developed over the past 15 years. Together, we have formulated ideas for the future that will have an impact beyond this funding programme. Essentially, it is our very own Excellence Strategy. It is still a work in progress, but we will develop it further for each area at our university: research, teaching and student affairs, technology transfers, Central Facilities and the Administration. The motto “we move” will stay with us and accompany us to the 275th anniversary of Technische Universität Braunschweig in 2020.

We move… limits in science, in minds, in structures – no matter what!