Mainz University successful in Germany’s Excellence Strategy program: PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence approved

International Committee of Experts vote to award PRISMA+ EUR 64 million of funding for cutting-edge research in Mainz

27 September 2018

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has scored a great success in Germany's Excellence Strategy program: The Excellence Commission, consisting of 39 members of the international Committee of Experts appointed by the Joint Science Conference (GWK) and the research ministers of the German federal and state governments, has approved the PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence. The total funding is expected to amount to EUR 64 million over the next seven years.

"In view of the extremely tough competition among universities throughout Germany, we are thrilled that the international advisory committee of experts has approved funding for PRISMA+. I would like to congratulate and thank our physicists at JGU for their outstanding motivation and dedication," said the President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Georg Krausch. "This funding within Germany's Excellence Strategy is an exceptional confirmation of the international reputation of the Mainz particle and hadron physics research groups, as attested for many years by their publications, awards, and outstanding national and international rankings." In its 2018 Funding Atlas, the German Research Foundation (DFG) recently ranked JGU as number one in the natural sciences in Germany, explicitly mentioning its clear lead in funding in the area of physics.

PRISMA+ is the follow-up application of the Cluster of Excellence "Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter" (PRISMA), which was successful in the previous Excellence Initiative and has received funding since 2012. "We have succeeded in continuing to strengthen our position as one of the most prominent centers in particle and hadron physics in the world," said Professor Matthias Neubert from the JGU Institute of Physics, who is one of the Cluster's two spokespersons. "The long-term funding will allow us to make important contributions to research into the most exciting and pressing questions in the field of fundamental physics research." Professor Hartmut Wittig from the Institute of Nuclear Physics at JGU, the other spokesperson for the Cluster, summarized: "PRISMA+ is searching for new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics. The experts have recognized our unique approach, which combines innovative precision measurements, in particular using the new on-campus accelerator MESA (Mainz Energy-recovering Superconducting Accelerator), with leading contributions to large-scale international experiments." Furthermore, the broad experimental program is supplemented by groundbreaking computational methods in theoretical physics. The Mainz Institute for Theoretical Physics (MITP) augments this research by organizing workshops and a guest program for leading international physicists. The PRISMA Cluster of Excellence is well known in the city of Mainz, in particular for the public MITP lecture series Physics in the Theater in the Mainz State Theater and for the official Guinness World Record awarded for the world's largest magnetic ball accelerator achieved last year.

PRISMA+ is one of 57 awarded Clusters of Excellence

In the final round of funding, the German Research Foundation reviewed a total of 88 applications from 41 universities to become clusters of excellence, of which 57 were awarded – including the JGU PRISMA+ Cluster of Excellence. This makes the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz one of the 34 German universities being successful in Germany's Excellence Strategy program.