UA Ruhr News Center

02. 02. 2024

University Alliance Ruhr: Important step towards excellence

With combined strength, the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) has reached the second round in the Excellence Strategy competition: scientists from Ruhr University Bochum, TU Dortmund University and the University of Duisburg-Essen are involved in a total of four research projects that can now submit a full proposal as a Cluster of Excellence. This promising result underlines the potential of the cooperation between the three universities in the Ruhr area to jointly apply as Consortium of Excellence in the coming year.

On 2 February, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat) announced that 41 of the 143 draft proposals for Clusters of Excellence submitted nationwide had been admitted to the second application stage of the Excellence Strategy. The universities have now until mid-August to submit full proposals for these research projects, as well as for the renewal of a total of 57 currently funded clusters. The seven-year funding period will reach from 2026 to 2032. The UA Ruhr partners are now pursuing two new large-scale projects for cutting-edge research and also want to continue the extremely successful work of the two Clusters of Excellence “RESOLV” and “CASA”.

The research program "REASONS - River Ecosystems in the Anthroposcene - sustainable scientific SOlutioNS" was convincing in the latest selection round. Here, the University of Duisburg-Essen wants to develop a new, sustainable concept for the management of water bodies with the participation of scientists from Ruhr University Bochum and other partners. Researchers from TU Dortmund University were also successful with the "Color meets Flavor" project from the field of particle physics. In cooperation with the University of Bonn, the University of Siegen and Forschungszentrum Jülich, they want to search for new phenomena in the interaction of elementary particles.

The universities of the UA Ruhr have also already declared to the German Research Foundation that they will submit two renewal proposals. The Cluster of Excellence "RESOLV - Ruhr Explores Solvation" will apply for a third time to understand, predict and control solvation processes. In this cluster, scientists from Ruhr University Bochum and TU Dortmund University are conducting research with the participation of colleagues from the University of Duisburg-Essen and other partners. The Cluster of Excellence "CASA - Cyber Security in the Age of Large-Scale Adversaries" is also seeking further funding in order to strengthen the essential security of our digital society in the long term. Ruhr University Bochum is the managing institution here; researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen are also involved.

Prof. Dr. Martin Paul, Rector of Ruhr University Bochum, says: "We congratulate all scientists involved on their success in this stage of the Excellence Strategy. As UA Ruhr, we have a promising starting position to further develop our cooperation at university level and to apply together as a Consortium of Excellence in 2025." The Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Prof. Dr. Barbara Albert, emphasizes the many years of close cooperation within the alliance, which is now paying off: "The three partner universities have jointly set their strategic scientific priorities in the UA Ruhr since 2007. With the state funding for the Research Alliance Ruhr, we have been developing a unique environment for our joint cutting-edge research since 2021. This is why we can jointly address major and particularly difficult research questions in the alliance and find innovative answers that society needs." Prof. Dr. Manfred Bayer, President of TU Dortmund University, underlines the role that the three universities play in the transformation of the Ruhr area: "The UA Ruhr is of great importance for the Ruhr area as a knowledge region, which actually forms Europe's densest university landscape. Together, we make essential contributions, also to strengthen education and research in the region, but above all to address urgent research questions at an internationally visible and effective level. To this end, we have strategically interlinked closely."

Following the funding of the Research Alliance Ruhr by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, this success is the next important step for the UA Ruhr on the path to excellence. According to the current timetable, the Excellence Commission will decide in 2025 which scientific project proposals will actually be funded as Clusters of Excellence. This will determine which universities or university alliances meet the necessary requirements to be able to apply for the second funding line as a University of Excellence or Consortium of Excellence. An alliance of universities that has acquired at least three Clusters of Excellence, whereby each of the partner universities must contribute at least one, can apply as a Consortium of Excellence. To date, ten individual universities and one consortium are represented in this funding line.