student representatives warn of an unjust distribution of research funds – with a view to more Elite universities.

“universities, which need funds for their development, are neglected,” laments about the General students ‘ Committee (Asta) of the Hamburg University in a jointly authored opinion. This could lead to a Two-tier System. Student representatives of other universities also fear through the targeted promotion of research, the teaching may come too short. High school principals and the German research Foundation (DFG) reject these Concerns.

The strategy for Excellence of the Federation and the länder for the continuation of the 2005/06 launched the excellence initiative. With funding in the amount of almost 2.7 billion euros over a period of seven years for outstanding research will be awarded to projects that will help universities strengthen their Profile and internationally competitive. In September, the Federal government and the States had awarded 57 so-called cluster of excellence at 34 universities. Among the topics of the research projects climate change, precision medicine, and computer-based. In the coming year, additional facilities for outstanding future to be named concepts to “universities of Excellence”.

the President of The University of Hamburg, which was acquired in September, funding for four projects and to the excellence of Status applies, does not see the danger of a Two-class system. “If anything, it is a differentiated System with different tasks,” says University President Dieter Lenzen.

student representatives criticize the strategy of Excellence that professors put too much energy into the work on funding applications. For the doctrine to little time to stay there often. Be granted funds, would be exempt outstanding scientists, often of the teaching and the seminars and events of graduate students directed. “It is a purely research designed to promote. As the students around benefit maybe around many corners, but it’s actually not,” says the consultant for higher education policy at the student Union of the University of Bonn, Tobias Eisenach.

Elite universities, according to University President Lenzen but also benefits for the students: There are more opportunities with Top scientists to collaborate, as well as the opportunity to write a doctoral dissertation to a highly current topic. “To resume the studies at a University with areas of Excellence is not expected to be at least harmful,” says Lenzen. Also, the German research Foundation assumes that “excellent research in the universities” a positive impact on the teaching of broadcasts, such as DFG-speaker Marco Finetti says.

At the Cologne University, may 2012 “University of Excellence”, in the daily study a little operation to see, says Asta spokesman Florian Puttkamer. He had already studied there, as the Uni does not have still belongs to the Elite. “I’ve since noticed quite honestly no difference,” he says. Still, funding for the approximately 50 000 students missing at all corners.

The best solution to improve the Situation at universities would be from the point of view of Asta-Referent Eisenach an all around better financing: Only this, and a sensible higher education act could ensure that the teaching, get as much priority as research. Or is it an excellence initiative for teaching? “I will sign it immediately,” says his Cologne-based colleague Puttkamer.


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Teodora Torrendo is an investigative journalist and is a correspondent for European Union. She is based in Zurich in Switzerland and her field of work include covering human rights violations which take place in the various countries in and outside Europe. She also reports about the political situation in European Union. She has worked with some reputed companies in Europe and is currently contributing to USA News as a freelance journalist. As someone who has a Masters’ degree in Human Rights she also delivers lectures on Intercultural Management to students of Human Rights. She is also an authority on the Arab world politics and their diversity.


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