University Alliance Ruhr
Important step towards excellence
With combined strength, the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) has reached the second round of the Excellence Strategy competition: scientists from Ruhr-Universität 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 application as a Cluster of Excellence. This promising interim result emphasises the potential of the cooperation between the three universities in the Ruhr region in order to jointly apply as a Cluster of Excellence in the coming year.
The German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities announced on 2 February that 41 of the 143 outlines for clusters of excellence submitted nationwide have been admitted to the second application stage of the Excellence Strategy. The universities have until mid-August to submit full proposals for these research projects, as well as for the continuation of a total of 57 previously funded clusters. This involves seven years of funding from 2026 to 2032, with the UA Ruhr partners now pursuing two new large-scale projects for cutting-edge research and also wanting to continue the extremely successful work of the two Clusters of Excellence RESOLV and CASA.
The research programme "REASONS - River Ecosystems in the Anthroposcene - sustainable scientific SOlutioNS", in which 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-Universität Bochum and other partners, was able to impress in the current selection round. Researchers from TU Dortmund University were also successful with the "Colour meets Flavour" project from the field of particle physics. In cooperation with the University of Bonn, the University of Siegen and the Jülich Research Centre, 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 continuation applications. The Cluster of Excellence "RESOLV - Ruhr Explores Solvation" will apply for a third time in order to understand, predict and control solvation processes. Scientists from Ruhr-Universität Bochum and TU Dortmund University are conducting research in this cluster 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-Universität Bochum is in charge of this project; researchers from the University of Duisburg-Essen are involved.
Prof Dr Martin Paul, Rector of Ruhr-Universität Bochum, says: "We would like to congratulate all those involved on their success in the preliminary round of the Excellence Strategy. As UA Ruhr, we have a promising starting position to further develop our cooperation at university level and to compete together as an Excellence Network in 2025." The Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen, Prof. Dr Barbara Albert, emphasises 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, Rector of TU Dortmund University, emphasises the role that the three universities play in the transformation of the Ruhr region: "The UA Ruhr is of great importance for the Ruhr knowledge region, which 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 future issues 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 fulfil the necessary requirements to be able to apply for the second funding line as a University of Excellence or Cluster of Excellence. A consortium 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 an excellence network. To date, ten individual universities and one consortium are represented in this funding line.
About the UA Ruhr
Since 2007, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, the Technical University of Dortmund and the University of Duisburg-Essen have been working closely together strategically under the umbrella of the UA Ruhr. By joining forces, the services of the partner universities are systematically expanded. Under the motto "better together", there are now over 100 co-operations in research, teaching and administration. With more than 120,000 students and almost 1,300 professors, the UA Ruhr is one of the largest and most productive research centres in Germany.
More about the Research Alliance Ruhr:
Astrid Bergmeister, Head of Press, Press Officer