In 2005, the German federal and state governments agreed on an initiative to promote top-level research in Germany. The Excellence Initiative aims at strengthening science and research in Germany in the long-term, improving its international competitiveness and raising the profile of the top performers in academia and research. Thanks to the Excellence Initiative funding, universities can make cutting-edge research projects a reality and boost their representation in the international scientific community.
The Excellence Initiative is jointly run by the German Research Foundation and the German Council of Science and Humanities and started with a first phase in 2006/07 till 2012. In June 2009, the German federal and state governments decided to continue the Excellence Initiative, providing a total of €2.7 billion for the second five-year period from 2012-2017.
Having been successful in all three funding lines of the Excellence Initiative (clusters of excellence, graduate schools and institutional strategy) TUM became one of the three first institutions to be awarded the status of “elite university” among German universities. The TUM Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS) was the cornerstone of the 2006 institutional strategy “TUM. The Entrepreneurial University”. It has set international standards for scientific excellence, inspiring and encouraging next-generation scientists and bolstering the university as a whole. Its basic aim is to provide a lively, cross-generational, international environment for industry and academia where creativity can flourish. The TUM-IAS believes that dedicating time, freedom and resources to a high-risk research agenda is the best way to achieve advances in science and technology.
After serving as interim director in the early days of the institute, in July 2008, the TUM President, Wolfgang A. Herrmann, appointed Prof. Dr. Patrick Dewilde, Electrical Engineer and IEEE Fellow, as the director of the TUM-IAS. Since October 2010, the scientists and staff of the TUM-IAS have a new address on the Garching campus. The new building was donated by BMW at a value of €10 million.
In June 2012, the new application of TUM in the second phase of the excellence initiative was again successful, and TUM therefore retained its “university of excellence” title. A prominent feature of the new institutional strategy is an expanded drive to pioneer interdisciplinary research through “Integrative Research Centers,” building further on the success of TUM-IAS. Besides the TUM-IAS as its flagship for top-level international research, TUM will launch the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS) and strengthen the Munich School of Engineering (MSE) further.