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In order to strengthen its universities, Germany’s federal government as well as the country’s states (Länder) have jointly launched two new initiatives. One of them is the Innovative University , the other one a programme supporting junior researchers. They are meant to complement a recent „excellence initiative‘ in support of university-based research.
The Innovative University initiative is to boost innovation, knowledge and technology transfer of small and medium-sized higher education institutions, particularly the universities of applied science (Fachhochschulen). With a budget of 550 million Euro over 10 years, it remains somewhat below expectations. The programme in support of young researchers is worth one billion Euros, over a period of 15 years. It is meant to improve the predictability of academic careers, according to many one of the main weaknesses of the German research system. The key element is the introduction of tenure-track professorships. The final green light for the programme is expected to be given at a meeting of the heads of the German Länder and Chancellor Merkel on 16 June.