In 2005, the German federal government launched its “Excellence Initiative” in order to make Germany’s top universities more competitive internationally by highlighting and promoting outstanding achievement. Special emphasis was put on innovative graduate schools and thematic research “clusters” that were recognized abroad. In the initial phase of the program, funds were awarded to nine “excellence universities” to finance “future concepts.” The 1.9 billion Euro made available by the federal and state governments was a major incentive for many universities to hone their images and develop more prominent research profiles.
This photo shows three students – Elin, Andreas, and Andrea (from left to right) – proudly wearing their “We're first-rate” t-shirts in front of the auditorium of the University of Göttingen, one of nine “elite” institutions selected in a competition among German universities. Photo: Stefan Rampfel.