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Berlin: "Super-Foundation" Instead of "Super-University"


Instead of a super-university, a foundation is being set up to promote academic excellence in Berlin. Its aim is better networking of Berlin's higher education and research institutes.

Super-foundation instead of super-university Jürgen Zöllner (SPD), Senator of Education, Berlin
The Council for Science, German Rector's Conference (HRK) and Kultusministerkonferenz der Länder (Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic - KMK) welcomed the newly established foundation for the promotion of academic excellence in Berlin. According to the newspaper "Berliner Tagesspiegel", the HRK praised the approach of bringing research groups from universities and non-university institutions in Berlin closer together. It said it was important, however, not to limit the strategic capability of the centres of higher education. There will be no "super-university", as Science Senator Jürgen Zöllner had envisioned.

The four universities in the capital, the Senate and the non-university research organisations represented in Berlin agreed on the model for a foundation on 9 June 2008. The foundation is to be set up by the end of the year under the name "Berlin International Forum for Excellence". The Federal State of Berlin is planning to provide it with 160 million euros by 2011.

International academics to come to Berlin

The aim is to network the centres of higher education and research institutes in the capital and help them to attract international top academics to Berlin. Zöllner was unable to implement his initiative - which was controversial among the universities - for an independent institution carrying out strategic research planning and with the right to award doctorates.

The foundation will only be able to give recommendations on development prospects for Berlin as a research location. Although there will be Master's and Ph.D. courses in the key research areas promoted by the foundation, the awarding of degrees and doctorates will remain in the hands of the parent universities.

Forschung & Lehre :: August 2008