BERLIN—They're celebrating today in Dresden, Berlin, Bremen, Cologne, and Tübingen. The universities in those cities have been awarded an extra share of the €2.4 billion in Germany's Excellence Initiative—and have earned the title "elite university" in the German press. The initiative, administered by the DFG German funding agency and the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat), awards funding in three categories: graduate schools, research clusters, and a university's overall "institutional strategies to promote top-level research."
Six years ago, the first round of funding singled out the Technical University Munich and the Ludwig Maximillian University, both in Munich, as well as the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology for their institutional strategies. Members of the trio were immediately dubbed "elite" universities by the German press. The next year added RWTH Aachen University, Free University of Berlin, University of Freiburg, University of Göttingen, University of Heidelberg, and University of Konstanz to the ranks of top schools. This year's awards, which run through 2017, added the Technical University Dresden, Humboldt University Berlin, University of Bremen, University of Cologne, and the University of Tübingen. Left out of this funding round—at least at the university-wide level—were Göttingen, Freiburg, and Karlsruhe.