Issue #101, October 2018

   New Website
   Excellence Clusters
   October Events

New Beginnings
Fall has finally arrived in New York. The temperature is cooler than a month ago; the air crisper. And just as the seasons are changing in the city, fresh starts are also underway at the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York.
On October 22 we relaunched our website, moving away from, our online home for the past 8 years, and to our new URL: The shift represents a major step toward greater integration among all five DWIHs worldwide. Included in this integration is our fresh new face, not as the GCRI New York, but as the DWIH New York, the Deutsches Wissensschafts- und Innovationshaus, which translates to the name you know and love: German Center for Research and Innovation.
And in the broader German research and innovation world, change has also been underway. On September 27, 2018, Germany selected the 57 Clusters of Excellence for 2019-2026. These Clusters of Excellence are university-based research projects that will receive a collective $3.1 billion over the next seven years.
For more information on the latest developments at the DWIH New York and in German research, continue reading below.
©DWIH New York

The German Center for Research and Innovation's website got a brand new look this month! You can now find us online at
Besides a more modern look and optimization for mobile, the new site features research and innovation news, an events calendar, a new mailings subscription system, and pages highlighting our focus topics and   research in both Germany and the U.S . Additionally, the site can now be viewed in German.

Map of 2018's Selected Clusters

Germany Pledges $3.1 Billion to R&D  Interview2018   

On September 27, 2018, the German Research Council and German Council of Science and Humanities selected the 57 Clusters of Excellence for 2019-2026. These Clusters represent not only the top research projects and institutions in Germany but also the strategic research areas which the country seeks to prioritize for the next seven years.

Collectively the Clusters of Excellence receive €385 million annually, 75% of which is provided by the Federal Government and 25% by the individual Federal States in which the Clusters are located. Thus, Germany has pledged to spend €2.7 billion, or 3.1 billion U.S. Dollars, on Research and Development over the next seven years.


In 2005 the German government began the Exzellenzinitiave, or the Excellence Initiative, which fundamentally reformed the education and research landscape in Germany. Since Germany's Federal Government is prohibited from investing directly into state-run public universities, the Excellence Initiative was designed as a temporary boost to the country's top universities and their research projects. The goal of the Excellence Initiative was to advance Germany's standing as a top destination for research and a source of cutting-edge innovation.

The Excellence Strategy, as the most recent iteration is called, is divided among two funding lines: Clusters of Excellence, which are projects in internationally-competitive research fields hosted by individual universities or a consortium of universities, and Universities of Excellence, which allows institutions or consortia to be strengthened in alignment with their Clusters of Excellence.

The German Research Council and German Council of Science and Humanities administer the Excellence Strategy. Excellence Clusters are decided upon in seven year rotations with the first cycle having begun in 2005. On September 27, 2018, the 57 Clusters of Excellence for 2019-2026 were announced.

Though these clusters cover nearly every academic discipline, the following topics were extremely well represented: optics and photonics, medicine and immunology, energy technology, data management and design for manufacturing. The 57 chosen clusters were selected from 195 original proposals and a short-list of 88. 

The chosen clusters are housed among 34 German universities located in 13 of Germany's 16 federal states. 40 of the selected Clusters represent a single university, while 14 represent two universities working together, and 3 are a consortium of 3 universities. 49% of the selected projects are continuations from the 2012-17 Cluster selection.

For more information on the Exzellenzinitative including a map of all selected Clusters of Excellence, visit the German Research Council website .

For a detailed analysis (in German) of the selection results, visit the blog of journalist Jan-Martin Wiarda.
(left to right) Dr.'s Christof Schütte, Michael Hintermüller and Martin Skutella, spokespersons for MATH+ 
© TU Berlin/Felix Noak

A Cluster in Focus: MATH+ Beitrag3

90% of the world's data was generated in the last two years. That amounts to roughly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created daily , and because of the Internet of Things, that number is steadily growing.

For the leaders of the Excellence Cluster Math+, the Berlin Mathematical Research Center, this ever-growing amount of data is neither a daunting nor ominous fact; it is an opportunity. Math+, lead collaboratively by Berlin's three premier universities, the Freie Universitaet, Humboldt Universitaet and Technische Universitaet Berlin as well as the Weierstrass Institute and the Zuse Institute Berlin, is developing practical ways to deal with massive data troves. This interdisciplinary and interinstitutional Excellence Cluster seeks to develop practical applications for math in areas like sustainable energy, individualized medicine and the analysis of social processes.

"MATH+ will open new horizons for cross-fertilization with a great variety of application fields: already established ones like technology and medicine, as well as new ones, e.g., from the social sciences and the humanities," said Dr. Uta Deffke, Head of Public Relations for Math+.

Math+ is a continuation of Matheon, a research center that has been supported by the Excellence Initiative since 2006. What sets this research group apart is their collaborative nature: of the 57 Excellence Clusters selected for 2019-2026, Math+ is 1 of only 3 that represents 3 universities.

In general, Berlin's educational scene is unique because their universities and research institutions frequently collaborate. The Freie Universitaet, Humboldt Universitaet and Technische Universitaet Berlin will submit a joint application as a Verbund, or network, in December 2018 when the applications for Germany's Universities of Excellence are due. The University of Hannover and the Hannover Medical School will be the only other joint application.

Berlin's decision to submit a joint application as Universities of Excellence owes a great deal to Math+. The Cluster's history and recent selection served as a role model pushing the institutions to work more closely together and recognize the many benefits of collaboration.

"MATH+ might encourage other sciences to collaborate across multiple disciplines and institutions. This trend can already be observed all over Germany," said Uta Deffke.

Leibniz Lecture - Oct. 23, 2018 
©Nathalie Schueller
Events will become more seldom as we near the holidays. Until then keep an eye on our brand new Events Calendar on our website to keep track of what we're up to.  

Oct. 30, 6:30 PM ET -  Museums in the Digital Age