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10 July 2000

Rector Prof. Dr. Jürgen Siebke: "German Research Council Confirms Heidelberg University's Top-Ranking Status"

Who gets the most research funding? The German Research Council reports on awards to higher education and non-university institutions from 1996 to 1998 – University of Heidelberg comes fourth in the ranking, receiving 165 million marks in all – Rector: "The keen competition from the technical universities makes our success even more notable"

The University of Heidelberg is up among the front runners when it comes to the funding it receives from the German Research Council. In the period from 1996 to 1998 Heidelberg ranked fourth overall in this respect, following the University of Munich and two technical universities. "The German Research Council confirms the top ranking of the University of Heidelberg," said Rector Prof. Dr. Jürgen Siebke. With fierce competition from the technical universities, which are structurally much more application-oriented and hence not strictly comparable to a more traditional university like Heidelberg, "our success is doubly remarkable." (Siebke)

The report of the Research Council was based on the analysis of some 40,000 decisions on grants taken in the years 1996 to 1998. The research awards involved ranged from grants of a few thousand marks all the way up to funding amounting to several million. The total value of these research monies topped the six-billion mark.

A comparison with the last report of this kind (in 1997 and referring to the period 1991 to 1995) shows that the ranking has been astonishingly stable. The distribution among the various disciplines does however display some differences. In the years 1996 to 1998 the biggest single chunk of funding (over 1 billion) went to medicine (17% of total), followed by biology and engineering with nearly 950 million marks each (16%).

Looking at funding in terms of its ratio to the number of professors a university has gives rather a different picture. Biology and engineering not only come out near the top in absolute figures, they also make a very good showing in terms of the number of scientists working in those fields. From this specific vantage, medicine is one of the more average disciplines.

DFG funding an important research success indicator

"For a fully-fledged university ranking system, as large a number of criteria as possible would have to be taken into account," the Research Council report concedes. "But the volume of funding secured in competition with other universities is still a very reliable indicator of research success."

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 07.08.2000


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