Press Release 101/2012

“KIT Will Continue along Its Path“

Disappointment after the Excellence Initiative – KIT Succeeds with Proposals for the Two Graduate Schools for Elementary Particle and Astroparticle Physics as well as for Optics and Photonics
KIT geht weiter: Vizepräsidentin Elke Luise Barnstedt, die Präsidenten Eberhard Umbach  und Horst Hippler sowie Vizepräsident Detlef Löhe (Foto: Sandra Göttisheim)
KIT will continue along its path: Vice President Elke Luise Barnstedt, Presidents Eberhard Umbach and Horst Hippler, and Vice President Detlef Löhe. (Photo: Sandra Göttisheim)


Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was not successful in the second phase of the Excellence Initiative due to the failure of both proposals in the second funding line for Clusters of Excellence. “Nevertheless, KIT will continue along its path,” emphasize KIT Presidents Professor Eberhard Umbach and Professor Horst Hippler. “We will realize many of our plans, but not as quickly as we have hoped. We are determined to continue along the promising path started by the first and still unique merger of a university and a national research center in Germany.” KIT was successful in the competition for Graduate Schools, for which two proposals were approved: For Elementary Particle and Astroparticle Physics and for Optics and Photonics.

 The Excellence Initiative Grants Committee, consisting of the joint commission of the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities as well as of the federal and state ministers responsible for science and research announced the results of the Excellence Initiative II in Bonn today.

“Of course, we are very disappointed today. Still, we are convinced of KIT. We have achieved the merger into KIT much more rapidly and created far more synergies than we deemed possible,” say the KIT Presidents Professor Eberhard Umbach and Professor Horst Hippler. “With the help of the elements outlined in our Institutional Strategy II “Advancing KIT”, we will continue to sharpen our profile within the limits of the funds remaining. “Among others, it is planned to establish an Institute of Technology Futures (ITZ). The ITZ will enhance the interaction of the humanities, economics, law, and social sciences with natural sciences and engineering groups at KIT and focus on the acceptance of technology by our society, for instance. In addition, cooperation with Heidelberg University under the “Heidelberg Karlsruhe Research Partnership” (HeiKA) will be intensified in selected areas of research (e.g. organic electronics, synthetic biology, etc.). Moreover, promotion of young scientists and research-oriented teaching will play a central role.


Successful Proposals:


By KSETA, Ph. D. students are integrated in interdisciplinary large-scale projects, for instance, at CERN. (Photo: Markus Breig)

By KSETA, Ph. D. students are integrated in interdisciplinary large-scale projects, for instance, at CERN. (Photo: Markus Breig)

Graduate Schools for the Promotion of Young Scientists
(First Funding Line)

The Karlsruhe School of Elementary Particle and Astroparticle Physics: Science and Technology (KSETA) – Elementarteilchen- und Astroteilchenphysik: Wissenschaft und Technologie is a central component of the KIT Elementary Particle and Astroparticle Physics Center KCETA. Doctoral students in physics and engineering are to cooperate in theoretical studies and at large-scale research facilities for fundamental research and modern technologies. The Ph. D. students are integrated in interdisciplinary projects all over the world, in which KCETA partly assumes a leading role. Among others, these are the Pierre Auger Observatory for cosmic rays in Argentina, the CMS Particle Detector at the Large Hadron Collider LHC of CERN, the Karlsruhe Tritium Neutrino Experiment KATRIN, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) on the international space station ISS, and the underground detector EDELWEISS searching for dark matter. KSETA offers specialized education, builds bridges between physicists and engineers, and represents an excellent basis for their joint research.

Spokesperson: Professor Johannes Blümer

Funds applied for: EUR 14 million


KSOP offers first-class training in the field of optical technologies. (Photo: Andrea Fabry)

KSOP offers first-class training in the field of optical technologies. (Photo: Andrea Fabry)

The Karlsruhe School of Optics & Photonics (KSOP) meanwhile has turned into an established first-class training and research institution in the field of optical technologies with 14 professors, more than 75 active Ph. D. students, more than 40 alumni, and an international master program. Optics and Photonics (O&P) are the keys to numerous industrial high technologies and stimulate fundamental research in physics, chemistry, life sciences, and engineering. The master and Ph. D. programs of KSOP are implemented by the four KIT Departments of Physics, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Chemistry and Biosciences, as well as Mechanical Engineering. KSOP research activities concentrate on photonic materials and components, modern spectroscopy, biomedical photonics, and optical systems. KSOP is planned to grow quantitatively and qualitatively in the second funding phase. The scope of disciplines covered will be extended by integrating other KIT institutes, for example, the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research. Due to the central role of O&P for the use of solar energy and the latter’s high industrial and societal relevance, activities in the field of solar energy will be pooled and intensified in a new, fifth research area.  

More information:

Spokesperson: Professor Ulrich Lemmer

Funds applied for: EUR 11 million


Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 10,000 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 22,800 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

lg, le, 15.06.2012

Margarete Lehné
Chief Press Officer (acting)
Phone: +49 721 608-41105
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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Contact for this press release:

Margarete Lehné
Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41157
Fax: +49 721 608-41157
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