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Third Place for the Universität Heidelberg in German Research Foundation’s Funding Ranking

9 09 2009
Humanities up from tenth to second place

Heidelberg University is up among Germany’s front runners in terms of external funding. In the new Funding Ranking of the German Research Foundation (DFG) published today, the University has maintained its outstanding third place among the 159 higher-education institutions successful in obtaining funding awards from the Foundation from 2005 to 2007. “We are proud that we have managed to defend our position among the top ten German universities with an outstanding record in external funding acquisition,” said Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University. In comparison with the previous ranking Heidelberg achieved an increase in external funding awards from 106.1 to 215.4 million Euros. Especially gratifying for Professor Eitel is the fact that, according to an internal evaluation by the university, Heidelberg’s humanities departments have improved their position from tenth to second place in terms of funding from the DFG.

In a classification geared to major research areas, the life sciences in Heidelberg come second overall, while medicine leads the field in Germany. The humanities on their own have moved up to second place, but in the DFG Funding Ranking they are grouped together with the social and behavioural sciences. Within this constellation Heidelberg ranks fifth overall. For the natural sciences Heidelberg comes sixth. Within this sector, however, Heidelberg’s chemistry department achieved an outstanding second place. Most of the front runners in the Funding Ranking are universities that also did well in the Excellence Initiative competition. This latest ranking is the first to take account of resources from that competition in the evaluation of the DFG awards.

Alongside the DFG’s own awards the Foundation’s ranking also provides an overview of funding from the German government and from the European Union. Here Heidelberg University comes fifth and sixth respectively, again figuring among the top ten higher-education institutions in Germany. Heidelberg shows up particularly well in terms of funding from the German government for large-scale apparatus required for basic research in physics (first place).

Professor Eitel noted that since 2007 Heidelberg University’s external funding record has also “developed in an extraordinarily positive way overall”. In comparison with the previous year external funding expenditure in 2008 (not counting medicine in Heidelberg and Mannheim) rose by about 28 percent. This dynamic development is not due solely to the Excellence Initiative. Even without the resources from that quarter, external funding increased by almost 11 percent. The Rector went on to add that a further increase in external funding expenditure can be expected for 2009. “In view of the stagnation in bedrock funding for higher education, the resources from competitive programmes are becoming more and more important,” he said. “They play a significant role in strengthening the university’s research profile.”


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