A Tradition of Excellence

Bonn is Germany’s Preeminent University of Excellence

We have been one of eleven German Universities of Excellence since the summer of 2019. And we are the only German university in the Excellence Contest conducted by the federal government and German states (as part of their Excellence Strategy—ExStra) to receive funding for six Clusters of Excellence. This makes us the most successful University of Excellence in their Excellence Strategy. Find out more about the planning for our continuing future as a University of Excellence.

News from the Excellence Strategy
Greix-Decline in apartment prices mainly affects existing stock, new construction prices relatively stable

A comparison of apartment price trends by year of construction in Germany's largest cities reveals a notable pattern: While prices for new buildings have experienced a relatively modest decline from their peak, the value of existing properties has fallen by more than twice as much. This finding comes from a comprehensive data analysis conducted by the German Real Estate Index (Greix), a project of ECONtribute and the Kiel Institute. 

Cultivating Collaborative Excellence Across Borders

Producing sufficient food, feed, fiber, and fuel for our world population while simultaneously reducing the environmental footprint of agricultural production is a great challenge for humanity. DigiCrop.Net is a new platform of four leading research organizations from across the world who aim at supporting this endeavor with technology-driven approaches as key elements of possible solutions. Together, the partners seek to address central challenges and investigate novel ways for achieving sustainable crop production. 

Mongolia Honors Two University of Bonn Researchers

Two archaeologists from the University of Bonn have been presented with major awards in recognition of their many years of successful research work in Mongolia. At a ceremony held at the Ministry of Education and Science of Mongolia in the capital Ulaanbaatar, State Secretary M. Batgerel pinned the Order of the Polar Star - the highest honor that the country can award to a foreign citizen - onto Professor Jan Bemmann’s lapel. Susanne Reichert received the Friendship Medal. The two researchers are currently working in Mongolia as part of Research Unit 5438, “Urban Impacts on the Mongolian Plateau - Entanglements of Economy, City, and Environment,” which has recently secured funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG). 

Angkana Rüland to Receive Illustrious New Horizons Prize

The mathematician Prof. Dr. Angkana Rüland from the Hausdorff Center for Mathematics (HCM) Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn is to be presented with the illustrious New Horizons Prize for her outstanding work on applied analysis. The high-caliber $100,000 award is conferred by the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. The 35-year-old researcher and University of Bonn alumna was only appointed to one of its prestigious Hausdorff Chairs at the start of the year. In her research, she draws inspiration from problems encountered in the natural sciences.

This is what the "Excellence Strategy" is all about

The Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and German States was adopted in 2016 with the long-term aim of enhancing Germany’s standing and international competitiveness as a location for science and scholarship; implementation commenced in 2018. The associated grant program successfully rolled out in the earlier Excellence Initiative (of 2005-2017) forms the funding basis for the process of ongoing development at German universities. Roughly half a billion euros in funding is budgeted annually, three-quarters of which are put up by the federal government and one quarter by the German states. The goal: promoting research excellence by heightening the profile of the national higher education system and strengthening collaboration between its member institutions. The Excellence Strategy provides for two grant programs for which universities can apply:

What is a “Cluster of Excellence”?

Clusters of Excellence are formed as an instrument for providing project-specific funding to universities and university consortia for research in fields of importance in a context of international competition. In September 2018 the decision was made to allocate funding for applications connected to the University of Bonn for the current grant period, out of a total of 57 approved projects. The annual funding budgeted for Clusters of Excellence ranges between three and ten million euros, granted for an initial seven-year period. Both new and follow-on applications may be approved at the end of this period, subject to the limit of two funding periods for Clusters of Excellence.

What is a “University of Excellence”?

The grant program for Universities of Excellence is in place as a means to empower individual institutions and university alliances or consortia to make further gains as international research leaders. Annual funding of between 10 and 15 million euros is available for individual universities, and up to 28 million euros for university consortia. 
A new aspect to this grant program now is that universities of supra-regional stature are eligible for joint funding from both the federal and state governments on a non-temporary basis. For Universities of Excellence the condition applies that they must successfully pass a research evaluation every seven years. Decisions regarding funding for new and ongoing projects are to be made in 2026.

The University of Bonn's Future Concept

The Future Concept outlined by the University of Bonn was effective in convincing the evaluating judges to select the institution as one of eleven Universities (and university alliances) of Excellence. At the heart of this Future Concept lies a set of fundamental objectives: promoting transdisciplinary research, through the formation of Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs); “We invest in people”—creating high-profile professorships to attract scholars of excellence across the range of qualification levels; “We foster networks”—forming and strengthening research alliances; and “We create impact” by furthering knowledge transfer and communication within the research community.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© USGS on unsplash

Transdisciplinary Research Areas

The six existing Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) have touchpoints across the entire spectrum of academic inquiry at the University.

Exzellenzstrategie -  TRAs
© Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn

The ‘Future Concept’

Our strategy to deliver excellence in research and teaching is summarily expressed in the slogan: “We invest in people, we foster networks, we create impact.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Volker Lannert/HCM

Our Clusters of Excellence

The University of Bonn has six Clusters of Excellence, including alliances with the University of Cologne and the RWTH Aachen University.

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Volker Lannert/Uni Bonn

High-Profile Professorships

Excellence at our University is further enhanced by high-profile professorial chairs: the prestigious Hertz, Schlegel and Argelander professorships.


Avatar Hoch

Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Michael Hoch

Rector of the University of Bonn
Avatar Zimmer

Prof. Dr. Andreas Zimmer

Vice Rector for Research and Early-Career Researchers
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