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Research 'made in NRW' presented in the state parliament

With 14 clusters of excellence, North Rhine-Westphalia is leading nationwide / Exhibition in the Citizens' Hall.

Top researchers from North Rhine-Westphalia presented their work today, June 12, in the Citizens' Hall of the Düsseldorf State Parliament. North Rhine-Westphalia is currently the most successful state in the national excellence strategy. Of the 57 already funded clusters of excellence, 14 are based in North Rhine-Westphalia.

Science Minister Ina Brandes: "The diversity and excellence of the research landscape in North Rhine-Westphalia is unique: 14 of the 57 clusters of excellence nationwide are based in North Rhine-Westphalia. Here, the brightest minds are working to tackle the major challenges of the future, such as the fight against widespread diseases, intelligent mobility solutions, and resource-efficient energy use. The state government supports universities to the best of its ability in their applications for clusters of excellence. With research and teaching at the Champions League level, we strengthen North Rhine-Westphalia as a scientific location."

Prof. Dr. Johannes Wessels, Rector of the University of Münster and Chairman of the State Rectors' Conference of Universities in North Rhine-Westphalia: "I am filled with gratitude and a certain pride that the universities of North Rhine-Westphalia are performing so well in the current funding round. Top-level research does not happen on its own. It requires a collective and ongoing effort to provide highly attractive conditions at our universities and thus attract excellent scientists from home and abroad to NRW. We have achieved this excellently, also with the support of the state. Now we hope that six more clusters will be added soon - the prerequisites for this have been created."

State Parliament Vice President Berivan Aymaz: "We currently have 14 clusters of excellence here on the Rhine, Ruhr, and Weser. That is impressive. And it clearly shows that top-level research is at home in North Rhine-Westphalia. Decoupling our society from fossil resources, unprecedented networking, and the transformation towards climate neutrality are only possible thanks to the work of researchers. North Rhine-Westphalia is a unique scientific landscape in Europe - this is where the future is being shaped."

All 14 clusters of excellence from North Rhine-Westphalia will also apply for another seven-year funding period in the next round. In addition, the universities of Aachen, Duisburg-Essen, and Cologne, as well as Bonn, Dortmund, and Siegen, have jointly submitted six more applications for new clusters of excellence (submission deadline is August 22). The prerequisite for project funding as a cluster of excellence is outstanding performance in internationally significant research fields. This also includes excellent training opportunities for young scientists and opportunities for young researchers to distinguish themselves. The universities in North Rhine-Westphalia have so far managed this better than any other state. Clusters of excellence are funded for seven years and receive three to ten million euros per year.

The German Research Foundation oversees the selection process in which the applications are reviewed. The decision on which clusters will be funded will be made on May 22, 2025. The funding begins on January 1, 2026. The selection also impacts the excellence universities: universities that aim to achieve the title of "excellence university" must have at least two clusters, and university alliances must have three.

In North Rhine-Westphalia, RWTH Aachen and the University of Bonn hold the coveted title of excellence university. There are eleven excellence universities or university alliances nationwide. In the next funding period from 2027, the number could rise to 15 universities.

As part of the federal and state excellence strategy, the scientific location of Germany is to be sustainably strengthened, and its international competitiveness further improved. Annually, up to 533 million euros are available until 2025, and from 2026, 687 million euros will be provided, with the funds coming from the federal government and the respective host states in a 75:25 ratio.

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Prof. Matthias Geyer (left), Prof. Anja Schneider (center) and Dr. Catherine Drescher (right) presenting the ImmunoSensation rollup in the state parliament NRW.
© MKW, Mark Hermenau

Press contact:

Christian Voss

Phone: 0211  896– 4790

E-Mail: presse@mkw.nrw.de

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