cfaed Submitted One of Eight Draft Proposals for TUD Clusters of Excellence

Eight draft proposals for TUD Clusters of Excellence are on their way to Bonn

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TU Dresden’s rector hands over the draft proposals for the Clusters of Excellence to the Prime Minister and the Science Minister of the Free State of Saxony. Photo: Robert Lohse / TU Dresden

The long-distance race for the Federal and State Excellence Strategy has begun. Today, 3 April 2017, marks the submission deadline for the first “wave of applications” at the German Research Foundation (DFG) in Bonn. TU Dresden (TUD) has been one of eleven Universities of Excellence since 2012 and joins this race with eight draft proposals for the “Clusters of Excellence” funding line.

Staff and students of TUD have been briefed by Rector Prof Hans Müller-Steinhagen, in the presence of Saxon Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich and Saxon State Minister for Science and the Arts, Dr Eva-Maria Stange.

Stanislaw Tillich states: “Technische Universität Dresden, as an internationally renowned university and a „University of Excellence” has time and again displayed its strength and has provided significant, new stimuli for research and teaching. It makes a decisive contribution to Germany and to Saxony as a successful and innovative hub for science and the economy. The entire Free State benefits from the status of “University of Excellence”, as leading scientists and students from all over the world are attracted by the recognised, outstanding framework conditions. The state government is dedicated to the Saxon excellence. It is committed to supporting TU Dresden so that it can successfully bid for this title within its current Excellence Strategy.”

All eight cluster proposals are part of TU Dresden’s development planning and are tailored according to the interdisciplinary Research Priority Areas (RPAs):  Three cluster proposals are in the Health Sciences, Biomedicine and Bioengineering RPA, three are in the Smart Materials RPA and a further two are in the Information Technology and Microelectronics RPA. Since all five TUD Research Priority Areas are interdisciplinarily intertwined, virtually all scientific disciplines are involved in the cluster proposals.

TUD submits three of the eight proposals in alliance with other universities (Heidelberg University, Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, RWTH Aachen). The bar for the participation in the Excellence competition is set high. Excellent research projects are required, where recognised leading scientists and promising young researchers co-operate. Supporting structures and strategies of the clusters are evaluated as well as the entire university and location-specific environment.

“TU Dresden’s international research strength has been repeatedly proven in the last years. The funding within the previous Excellence Initiative has created structures at TU Dresden, which enabled cutting-edge research.  In the coming years, this world-class research must continue to be feasible as part of the new Excellence Strategy. It has advanced to the university research elite throughout Germany and has attracted pioneering scientists from all over the world to Dresden. This new strength and dynamism must come to fruition through the funding by the Excellence Strategy”, explains Minister of Science and the Arts, Dr Eva-Maria Stange, and adds: “I am keeping my fingers crossed that the first hurdle will be mastered successfully and that as many project drafts as possible will be invited to submit full proposals.”

Due to its status quo as a University of Excellence, its outstanding reputation as a university strong in research and its superb networking with extramural research and culture institutions within the DRESDEN-concept research alliance, TU Dresden considers to have good prospects in this competition.

“The competition for excellence will certainly be even tougher than in the past years. However, TUD does not have to shy away from this competition,” states Rector Prof Hans Müller-Steinhagen, evaluating TUD’s chances of success. “In the last five years, TUD has significantly improved the decisive development parameters such as publications, ERC-grants, rankings and awards. We do not compare ourselves merely on a national level, but most and foremost on an international level and by now, we are perceived globally as a leading university.”

From 2014 onwards, TUD has made a great leap forward in the international ranking (THE-Ranking), i.e. from positions 251-275 to presently 164. Furthermore, TUD is among the 20 most innovative universities in Europe (“Reuters Top 100: Europe’s Most Innovative Universities”). TUD’s third-party funding saw an increase of 136% from EUR 102.7m (2005) to EUR 243m (2015). Since the 1990s, the number of students has tripled and has been at a constant high level of around 35,000 students since 2005. TUD currently hosts 10 Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs), 21 ERC grant recipients, five large-scale BMBF projects (C3, Fast, Zik BCUBE, SYLBER, Protect ad) as well as two Clusters of Excellence as part of the Excellence Initiative, one Graduate School and the “Institutional Strategy”. In addition, there are seven Graduate Schools, three international Graduate Schools as well as three Graduate Schools integrated into the CRCs, which are all funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). Furthermore, 13 Graduate Schools are financed by foundations, science and industry partners. During the initial years of “Horizon 2020”, TUD has been one of the most successful universities in Germany with 62 company holdings and EUR 36.54m of third-party funding acquired (as of 31/5/2016). This provisional result ranks TUD third, after the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and TU Munich. Moreover, TUD was part of the state quality campaign “Teacher Training”.

The number of TUD’s “Web of Science” publications climbed from 1,304 p.a. in 2001 (888 with national and 416 with international partners) to 4,062 p.a. in 2015 (1,951 with national and 2,111 with international partners), totalling 38,792 publications in this time period.

On 28 September 2017, TUD will know how many of its draft proposals will be invited to be submitted as full applications. A year later, on 27 September 2018, it will be announced which Clusters of Excellence were successful. These will then be funded, for an initial period of seven years, from 2019 onwards. If at least two TUD-Clusters of Excellence are selected, TUD shall be eligible to apply for the second funding line “University of Excellence”, for which the submission of applications is scheduled for mid-December 2018.


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Kim-Astrid Magister
Tel: +49 (0) 351 463-32398


(Press release of TU Dresden, 3 April 2017)

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