Crème de la Crème: Six More German Universities Anointed for 'Elite' Funding
A panel in Bonn has picked a handful of German institutions to receive hundreds of millions in extra research money. Critics say it's the wrong way to boost achievement -- and geographically biased, too.
The University of Constance was one of six new 'elite' universities announced by a panel in Bonn on Friday.
"We wrote a new page in the history of science today," Education Minister Annette Schavan told the DPA news agency.
The idea is to advance German research by focusing money where it can do the most good. Not everyone thinks it's the best way to go. "The money will be invested in infrastructure and locations, not directly in people," Bamberg University sociologist Richard Münch told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "But the leaders in any field who really promote research aren't all concentrated in one university, but spread over a number of places."
The selection is sure to be controversial. Of the nine schools, seven are in southern Germany -- and four of those in one German state, Baden-Württemburg. Only Berlin and Göttingen represent the country's northern half, and there isn't a single university from former East Germany included in the list. (The Free University was founded in West Berlin.)
Münch said the losers will end up second-class citizens in the nation's higher-education system. "It'll just further separate teaching and research, getting us further from where we need to be," he said.
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