Excellence Initiative: Phase II
New funding mechanisms in LMUexcellent
“In this new phase of our Institutional Strategy, we plan to increase still further the resources devoted to cultivating excellence in research at LMU, focusing in particular on junior academics,” says LMU President Bernd Huber. “In designing additional measures in this area, we have been motivated by the idea that any of today’s young hopefuls could be tomorrow’s Nobel Laureate, if we can provide him or her - from the start - with an optimal research environment and clear perspectives for a career in research.” Hence every effort should be made to meet the real and present needs of junior academics, with due regard to their individual aspirations and the broad range of projects they wish to undertake.
”We have therefore decided that no cutbacks will be imposed on programs dedicated to the promotion of gifted young researchers.” This is particularly noteworthy, as LMU will be obliged to make significant cuts in projected expenditure during the second funding phase, which has just begun. Thus, the level of funding available for realization of the measures envisaged by LMUexcellent is almost 20% lower than anticipated. Precisely how the necessary savings will be achieved is still under discussion. However, it is already clear that the amount originally earmarked for the promotion of early career researchers will indeed be used for this purpose. “It is difficult to bring home to staff members who have accomplished so much that, in spite of our successes, we still need to husband our resources,” says Huber.
Two new funding mechanisms
The first fruits of the second phase of LMUexcellent are two dedicated endowments, the Investment Fund and the Junior Researcher Fund, designed to support promising research projects in all subject areas represented at LMU. The financial resources assigned to both Funds will serve to further enhance the conditions for first-class research. Moreover, both offer attractive perspectives for gifted young researchers. Other measures will follow, which will complement the very effective instruments and programs instituted during the initial phase of LMUexcellent.
”The common purpose of the two Funds is to assist scholars and scientists in getting highly innovative research projects off the ground – thus improving their chances of acquiring follow-up financing from extramural sources,” Huber explains.
The Investment Fund was set up to serve as a supplementary source of funding for the creation of optimal conditions for first-rate research. Over the coming 5 years, up to 18 million euros will be provided for investment in this area. Grants will be available for various types of measures that promise to facilitate the execution of a concrete research project, ranging from the provision of infrastructure to the financing of research visits.
In addition to being eligible for support from the Investment Fund, postdoctoral researchers can also apply to the Junior Researcher Fund, which has been devised expressly to cater for their particular needs. The latter has a total of 5 million euros at its disposal, and is intended to promote career development and give early career researchers the opportunity to put their own research ideas into practice.
“I strongly encourage intramural researchers, in all subject areas and at all academic levels, to avail of the resources provided by these Funds,” says Huber. “These support mechanisms create new opportunities, for established investigators as well as up-and-coming junior researchers, to carefully develop their research agenda and make their mark in their particular field.”
For further information on application procedures and evaluation criteria for the Investment Fund and the Junior Researcher Fund, see: www.en.uni-muenchen.de/about_lmu/excellence_initiative