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This Wednesday, 6 September 2023, around 20 representatives of the Leipzig Science Network (LSN) met with the Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, to discuss the Clusters of Excellence proposed by Leipzig University and its scientific partners in the current round of the German federal and state governments’ Excellence Strategy. More than three months after the three draft proposals were submitted to the German Research Foundation (DFG), the research projects, which address a wide range of social and environmental issues, continue to grow and draw attention to Leipzig as a centre of science and research, and to the wider region of Central Germany.

In addition to the universities of the Halle-Jena-Leipzig Central German University Alliance, the proposed clusters – “New Global Dynamics: Worlds in Crisis?”, “Breathing Nature: Linking Biodiversity, Climate and Human Activity”, and the medical project on clinical metabolic research – involve thirteen non-university research institutions, including many members of the LSN, which is chaired by the Rector of Leipzig University, Professor Eva Inés Obergfell.

“Leipzig University has entered the competition with three proposed clusters in which its top researchers, together with numerous scientists from the Leipzig Science Network, the Universities of Halle and Jena and other research institutions, will cross disciplinary boundaries to gain groundbreaking, world-changing new insights,” said Rector Obergfell. Mayor Burkhard Jung added: “Thematically, the three draft proposals address highly topical and existential issues that affect the whole of humanity and that also shape my actions as Mayor of Leipzig: health, climate change and biodiversity, and the global multi-crisis.”

“We have a unique research landscape in Leipzig. Scientific institutions work closely together and we have highly effective networks. People are taking more and more notice of this, and we want to use this to our advantage to move forward together and attract even more attention. Success in the Excellence Strategy would raise Leipzig’s profile as a centre of science and research even further, both nationally and internationally – something that would ultimately benefit us all. I expect that the synergies created will also have a positive impact on non-scientific areas in the city and region, and in particular on local businesses,” said Rector Obergfell. Mayor Jung also emphasised: “Leipzig is a city of science. Science is a defining factor for any location. It is a key driver of urban development. That is why Leipzig University’s participation in the Excellence Strategy is also of great importance to us. The City of Leipzig fully supports the application. Let us all work together to make this application a success for Leipzig as a centre of science and research!”

With its proposals under the Excellence Strategy, Leipzig University is putting into practice the basic idea of the Leipzig Science Network, namely to intensify inter-institutional cooperation in Leipzig as a centre of science and thus to further raise its profile on the national and international stage. “We have worked hard together to develop innovative ideas that not only cross the boundaries of our disciplines, but also bridge the gap between the University and the city. Indeed, we firmly believe that true excellence can only be achieved by joining forces and acting together,” said Rector Obergfell.

On 1 February 2024, it will be decided which proposed clusters will be invited to submit a full proposal. Until then, the draft proposals will be reviewed by the Joint Commission of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities (WR).