Second phase of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments: JGU joins the competition between universities

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz submits initial proposals for two graduate schools, four clusters of excellence, and a future concept


The Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) is competing with other German universities in the second program phase of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments, 2012-2017. Under its maxim "The Gutenberg Spirit: Moving Minds - Crossing Boundaries," Mainz University has placed its proposals before the German Research Foundation (DFG): These relate to all three funding lines and concern 2 graduate schools, 4 clusters of excellence, and a university-wide future concept. The JGU is also endorsing proposals by the University of Frankfurt am Main for a graduate school and by the Technical University of Kaiserslautern concerning a cluster of excellence.

"The latest developments at the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz focus on the definition of outstanding key profile areas in research and on enhancing our governance and supervision throughout the institution. Our proposals for graduate schools of excellence and clusters of excellence relating to the first two funding lines represent a consistent continuation of this profile-forming strategy," explains the President of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Dr. Georg Krausch. "Our future strategy aims to establish a university steering system focused on excellence. A milestone in this strategy was the establishment of the Gutenberg Research College (GRC) as a consultation and funding structure focusing solely on the concept of excellence. We intend to systematically build on this strategy in coming years and extend it to all areas of activity within our university. This university-wide philosophy of the active management of change is reflected in our maxim "Moving Minds – Crossing Boundaries".

Being the only higher education institution in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate with full university status, the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz offers a range of subjects spanning almost every academic discipline, including the arts. With its over 34,000 students and approximately 480 professors, it is one of the ten largest universities in Germany and, when the University Medical Center is also taken in account with its approximately 9,000 employees, it is also the second largest employer in Rhineland-Palatinate.

The success of its approach is highlighted by the facts that it has achieved outstanding places in both national and international rankings and has received numerous prizes and awards. The quality of research, for example, is demonstrated by the JGU's position in the "Academic Ranking of World Universities" (also called the 'Shanghai ranking'): The JGU has continuously moved up the rankings over the past 5 years, and registered 8th place among German universities in 2009. Moreover, the JGU has also established its position among the top ten leading German universities according to the Leiden ranking, which compares universities in Europe and throughout the world on the basis of bibliometric indicators (such as publication activity and rate of citations). In 2008, the JGU was honored by the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany as one of only two German universities for its uniquely systematic approach to quality assurance (the so-called "Mainz model").

Projected excellence programs

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has submitted the following initial proposals as part of the second program phase of the Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments:

Graduate schools to support young academics
The construction of meaning as a cultural process - historical perspectives

(Historical Cultural Sciences)
Translational medicine

(Medicine and Natural Sciences)

Clusters of excellence to promote top-level research
Earth and the Anthropocene

(Earth System Sciences)
Media Convergence

(Media Studies)
Molecularly Controlled Non-Equilibrium

(Materials Sciences)
Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter

(Particle and Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Chemistry)
Future concept for project-based expansion of top-level university research
The Gutenberg Spirit: Moving Minds - Crossing Boundaries

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz will also be endorsing proposals for the "Graduate School of Economics, Finance, and Management" at the University of Frankfurt am Main and the "Cluster for Advanced Spin Engineering" Cluster of Excellence at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern.

Follow-up proposal for the "Materials Science in Mainz" Graduate School of Excellence

Materials Science in MainzThe new draft proposals submitted by all universities are to be assessed by expert reviewers by March 2011. The Joint Commission of the DFG and the Council of Science and Humanities will be meeting in March 2011 to make a preliminary selection of submissions, and will invite the universities in question to tender their detailed proposals by 1 September 2011. Until then, universities will be able to submit renewal proposals for the funding of projects that were successful in the first phase of the Excellence Initiative. The JGU thus plans to submit a follow-up proposal for continued sponsorship of the "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ) Graduate School of Excellence.

The decision on which projects will receive a slice of the nearly €2.7 billion available to sponsor them from 1 November 2012 for the following 5 years will be made in June 2010 by the Grants Committee of the Joint Commission and the federal and state ministers responsible for science and research.