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11 December 2003

University of Heidelberg Front Runner in Research Ranking

CHE, the think tank of the German higher education landscape, rates Heidelberg as one of the top research universities—Hommelhoff: "We are on the right road"

The Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) has published a new survey that confirms the outstanding status of Heidelberg as a research university. "We are overjoyed to hear that once again independent raters—in this case the think tank of the German higher education landscape—have confirmed that Heidelberg is one of the leading research universities in Germany," said the Rector of the University of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff. He went on to say that this outstanding showing was not only a confirmation but also an incentive to persevere with the policies pursued so far and unite all the members of the University in a joint bid to make Heidelberg an even more telling force in research and research-oriented teaching.

In its second comprehensive survey, the CHE experts evaluated research activities in the humanities, economics, the social sciences and the natural sciences, focussing on a total of 13 different subjects. Positioned fourth in the overall rating, the University of Heidelberg is up among the front runners in terms of research activity.

The aim of the CHE survey is to make university research endeavour transparent at a national level and to pinpoint Faculties with a particularly outstanding research record. The ranking criteria are external funding and the number of doctorates, publications and citations. "These are indeed the most important yardsticks for core competence," said Hommelhoff.

Last year's ranking was restricted to Faculties in the humanities, economics and the social sciences. This year, biology, chemistry, pharmacy and physics were also included in the rating. This means that the "classical" science subjects have been scrutinised in this connection for the first time. These research areas are a pivotal feature in the profile of the University of Heidelberg. Regarded in isolation, they would in fact put the University of Heidelberg in second place. "Here, the University of Heidelberg is a high-ranking competitor at the international level as well," said Hommelhoff.

Of the 11 Heidelberg subjects rated, the CHE designates 7 as "strong on research". This is equivalent to 63.6%. The departments in question are educational studies, German studies, law, economics, biology, chemistry and physics.

Hommelhoff: "Research at the University of Heidelberg derives a significant part of its strength from the impulses it receives from a non-university research environment that includes the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the German Cancer Research Centre, the Max Planck Institutes and numerous companies in the Rhine-Neckar triangle."

"The ranking shows that there are only a few universities in Germany with a record of research excellence in a broad range of subjects," said Prof. Dr. Detlef Müller-Böling, head of CHE, when announcing the results. This was the same in other countries, but in Germany there had been too much reliance on the fiction of the equality of all universities. The CHE ranking had put an end to this illusion. The seven universities at the head of the list have outstanding research records in at least half of the subjects rated.

For background information and the complete results of the CHE ranking go to .

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

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