Joint Press Release – Clusters of Excellence Pave the Way for Excellence Consortium

Major success for Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) and Hannover Medical School (MHH) in the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments: The projects PhoenixD (Photonics, Optics, and Engineering – Innovation Across Disciplines) and QuantumFrontiers (Light and Matter at the Quantum Frontier: Foundations of and Applications in Metrology), led by LUH, have been confirmed as Clusters of Excellence. The existing Cluster of Excellence Hearing4all (Research for personalised treatment of hearing deficits), which started in 2012 and is led by University of Oldenburg in cooperation with LUH and MHH, was reconfirmed. The MHH cluster RESIST (Resolving Infection Susceptibility) on infectious diseases has been awarded funding for a period of seven years.

This paves the way for a joint proposal as an Excellence Consortium in the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments. An essential prerequisite for this was the approval of at least three Clusters of Excellence at the participating universities.
The joint proposal must be submitted in December 2018. The focus is on “Health and Technology”, which will enable both universities to strengthen their cooperation in future research fields. “Universally educated and focussed”, that is the approach of both presidents. By forming an Excellence Consortium and by establishing an umbrella brand, Professor Volker Epping and Professor Christopher Baum aim to increase the national and international appeal of both universities.

The cooperation of the institutions has a long-standing tradition and goes back to the seventies. The Lower Saxony Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Implant Research and Development (NIFE) is a flagship project and an excellent example for joint infrastructures. Joint doctoral programmes and interdisciplinary projects in research and teaching are already an inherent part of the cooperation. LUH and MHH intend to expand and institutionalise their collaboration at all levels, as well as to determine the contents of their joint activities. The aim is to encourage innovativeness and interdisciplinary exchange, to create structures that increase the appeal of the location for top international scientists, as well as to offer additional value to students.

Both universities are currently working on the joint proposal. Based on the status quo, the consortium must demonstrate its efficiency and present a strategy for the development of outstanding research areas and the consolidation of their leading international position. This includes joint governance, as well as joint administrative structures in selected areas.

The purpose of the Universities of Excellence funding line is to strengthen universities as institutions or as University Excellence Consortia in the long term by consolidating their leading international role in research on the basis of successful Clusters of Excellence. The consortium must be based on shared strategic objectives within a framework of long-term institutional cooperation.

The application deadline is set for December; the inspection by an international group of experts will take place by the end of March 2019. The decision will be announced on 19 July 2019, funding will be allocated from 1 November 2019. A total of approximately 148 million euros per annum will be available in the funding line for all Universities of Excellence and Excellence Consortia. In addition to the Hannover Excellence Consortium, only one further Consortium in Berlin will apply.

Note to editors:
For further information, please contact Mechtild Freiin v. Münchhausen, spokesperson of Leibniz University Hannover and head of Communications and Marketing (Tel. +49 511 762 5342, Email ) and Stefan Zorn, spokesperson of Hannover Medical School (Tel. +49 511 532 6773, Email ).

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