Five researchers have gathered around a table and are discussing a redox flow battery.

Excellence Strategy

How the University of Jena strengthens its cutting-edge research
Five researchers have gathered around a table and are discussing a redox flow battery.
Image: Anna Schroll (Universität Jena)

One of the oldest universities in Germany, the University of Jena's was founded in 1558 in the spirit of the Reformation. The University of Jena has since shaped major literary periods, inspired new fields of research and industries, and overcame political appropriations.

Today, following the motto "Light, Life, Liberty – Connecting Visions", the University of Jena has established a dense network of national and international cooperation. It attracts scholars, scientists, and students of all disciplines from around the world. Together with its local and international partners, the University of Jena has achieved research excellence in its key profile research areas. In this respect, the University’s Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse" (funded since 2019) represents a hallmark project.


The Excellence Strategy adopted by the federal and state governments in 2016 promotes cutting-edge research at German universities. The aim is to sustainably strengthen Germany's position as a centre of science in international competition. The funding initiative is not only intended to enable top scientific results, but also to sharpen the profiles of the participating universities and provide impetus for cooperation in the science system.

There are two funding lines – the Clusters of Excellence, executed by the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the Universities of Excellence, executed by the German Council of Science and Humanities (WR).

More on the Excellence StrategyExternal link

The University of Jena is participating in the current Excellence Strategy call with two projects. The existing Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse" is applying for further funding. In addition, one of three new draft proposals was selected by an international panel of experts for the final round of the competition. Both projects now have until August 2024 to submit their full proposals. In May 2025, it will be announced which Clusters of Excellence will receive new or further funding.

Press release from 2 February 2024 

A flag with the slogan "Light. Life. Liberty" in front of the main university building
University of Excellence
If both Cluster of Excellence proposals are successful, the next step will be for the Friedrich Schiller University to apply to become a University of Excellence.
  • Excellence Cluster Balance of the Microverse Jena
    Image: Anna Schroll
    Cluster of Excellence "Balance of the Microverse" The cluster is dedicated to microorganisms and has set itself the goal of researching the dynamic balances of microbial communities from the molecular level to complex ecosystems.

    Spokesperson: Prof. Dr Kirsten Küsel
  • Researchers from the Cluster of Excellence initiative "Imaginamics" sit and stand around a table and work together on a flipchart.
    Image: Anna Schroll
    Planned Cluster "Imaginamics" The humanities and social sciences project "Imaginamics. Practices and Dynamics of Social Imagination" aims to contribute to a better understanding of social conflicts and debates.

    Spokesperson: Prof. Dr Johannes Grave
    Co-Spokesperson: Prof. Dr Christina Brandt
    Co-Spokesperson: Prof. Dr Joachim von Puttkamer

Researching Together

The University of Jena nurtures a distinctive culture of collaboration that drives discoveries vital to our society, our health, and our cultural heritage. No other German city has more research institutions relative to its population than Jena (Städteranking 2022, IW Consult). From Leibniz Prize winner to undergraduate, all members of the University of Jena's community are engaged in the creation of knowledge.

Educating and Qualifying People

The University of Jena is devoted to excellence in teaching and research. Faculty, young researchers, and students are engaged in groundbreaking and interdisciplinary scholarship. With its Graduate Academy, the University of Jena plays a pioneering role in the promotion and support of early career researchers nationwide.

  • Three students are chatting on their way to the Ernst-Abbe-Platz campus.
    Image: Christoph Worsch (University of Jena)
    Studying and Teaching Diverse study opportunities, dedicated lecturers, early support for gifted students and innovative ideas
  • Young researchers analyse a water sample in front of one of the water basins at the central sewage treatment plant in Jena-Zwätzen.
    Image: Jens Meyer (University of Jena)
    Early Career Researchers From studying to professorship – top-notch support at all academic career stages

Shaping Transformation

The University of Jena connects researchers, teachers, and students with the common goal of shaping a thriving society. Members of the University community are agents of change and committed to finding new pathways to a healthier and sustainable future. In doing so, they are guided by shared values.

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Reflecting on Achievements

Continuously reassessing its international positioning, deriving impulses from data collection, and making success visible – this is how the University of Jena drives its strategic development forward. Its academic community as well as the city of Jena motivate the University to perform at the highest level.

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Office of the Vice-President for Research