The University of Heidelberg's Law Faculty cuts an excellent figure in the latest "Focus" ranking. In its 12 September issue the news magazine puts legal studies in Heidelberg in second place overall, a cause for immense gratification on the part of Heidelberg's Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff, himself a business lawyer: "The Law Faculty is one of the shining lights of our University. In the new Focus ranking we have once again made an excellent showing." Hommelhoff sees the Focus verdict as confirming the Rectorate's unremitting efforts to put Heidelberg right out in front among German universities.
In its new issue, Focus presents the second part of its assessment of the German higher education system, worked out in conjunction with experts from the Federal Statistics Office, the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research and Thomson Scientific. In a total of six instalments, 20 of the major subjects are scrutinised with reference to 86 universities. In the overall outcome Heidelberg ranks fourth behind the two Munich universities and Freiburg. "For us fourth place in Germany is cause for immense gratification and in future we greatly look forward to competing with Freiburg, my own alma mater," said Hommelhoff. At the same time he sees this showing as an incentive to take a closer look at the weaker subjects and overhaul various sectors of the University. "In this there is total agreement between the Rectorate, the University Council and the Senate," Hommelhoff asserts, going on to repeat that at the end of his term of office he will be more than willing to have his achievements as Rector gauged by the question of whether Heidelberg has managed to become on of Europe's top universities by that time.
The new ranking clearly indicates that last year's top ten universities have improved their standing throughout and have extended their lead against the rest of the field. A group of four universities is well out in front, the two in Munich, Freiburg and Heidelberg. Focus finds this somewhat alarming, a view not shared by Hommelhoff: "It is patently obvious that the Initiative for Excellence launched by the Federal Government and the federal states after being propagated by us for so long has spurred on specifically the research-intensive universities to do even better."
In the first part of the Focus ranking published last Monday, Heidelberg was shown to have maintained and consolidated its front-runner position in biology with even better results in the ISI Citation Index, Thomson Scientific's count of the number of times a scientific or scholarly publication by a university department is referred to on an international level. The Heidelberg biology department was also able to increase its external funding quota. In medicine and chemistry Heidelberg achieved second place and came third in psychology.
Please address any inquiries to
Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff
Rector of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542318, -15 or -16, fax: 542147
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317