The Excellence Initiative aims to promote top-level research and to improve the quality of German universities and research institutions in general, thus making Germany a more attractive research location, making it more internationally competitive and focussing attention on the outstanding achievements of Germany universities and the German scientific community.
The Excellence Initiative is financed by the Federal Ministry of Research and is operated by the German Science Fund (DFG).
The Heidelberg University and the Faculty of Biosciences were very successfull in participating in the Excellence Initiative, as shown by these examples.
The faculty has joined forces with the Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS), Max-Planck-Institut for medical research and the Central Institute for Mental Health (ZI) to establish the CellNetworks Exzellenzcluster.
The faculty is heavily involved in the Heidelberg Biosciences International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS). This Graduate school focuses on the rapid developments in the life sciences and the resulting possibilities for medical and biotechnical applications. The school is operated by Heidelberg University, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and the German Cancer Research Center. HBIGS offers a doctoral programme taught in English; intensive scientific tutoring and teaching by renowned researchers ensure that students receive a solid interdisciplinary education. At present, the school counts more than 300 doctoral students from all over the world.
The DKFZ-ZMBH Alliance is a strategic alliance of the Research Program Cell and Tumor Biology of the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ, member of the Helmholtz Association) and the Center for Molecular Biology of Heidelberg University (ZMBH) with a main focus on basic research in the area of molecular life sciences. This concept combines advantages of both institutions and creates a particularly attractive research environment.
The Alliance is an essential element of the Concept of Excellence of the University of Heidelberg. Many of Principal Investigators are also members of the CellNetworks Cluster of Excellence and the HBIGS Graduate School, which were established thanks to the funding by the Exzellenz Initiative. Moreover, the Alliance is centrally embedded in the Molecular Life Sciences Campus of Heidelberg.
The molecular life sciences are an outstanding research area of Heidelberg University that enjoys high visibility both in Germany and abroad. The Heidelberg Molecular Life Sciences (HMLS) initiative was developed in order to intensify collaborations within the University and with strong non-university institutions in Heidelberg. Within the framework of this initiative, the University has established strategic networks in eight different research areas of the molecular life sciences; the resulting interdisciplinary and inter-institutional projects make an important contribution to modern biology and molecular medicine.
A Research Council serves as a cross-institutional platform that bundles and coordinates research developments in the life sciences and optimises the flow of information between all parties. The council consists of representatives of all institutions involved in the Excellence Initiative: besides the University, these include the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ). The Research Council also coordinates its activities closely with the "Cellular Networks" Cluster of Excellence and the "Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology“, both of which were established under the Excellence Initiative.