Strategic Partnerships and Thematic Networks

Bernd Wannenmacher

04/2016 +++ On April 18th our international conference on Strategic Partnerships took place in Berlin. For more information click here. +++

How does the DAAD define a "strategic partnership"?

Whereas in the past, university partnerships were often based on personal contacts between individual scholars only, they today are increasingly considered a strategic component of larger internationalisation concepts. Given the large number of partnerships, university management tends to select a few of them on which to focus while, at the same time, being careful not to limit the collaboration interests of individual researchers.
This is in keeping with the global trend. The focus on quality rather than quantity has helped institutions achieve more effective, higher-quality international partnerships. Universities are encouraging long-term, synergistic collaboration, establishing joint frameworks and degree programmes, and initiating research associations together with renowned partner universities – all of which serves to increase the international visibility of universities and sharpen their profiles. As a way to foster this process, the DAAD launched a funding programme called "Strategic Partnerships and Thematic Networks" in 2012.

What are the goals of the programme?

In recent years German universities have been striving to enhance their international profile by building strategic partnerships and thematic networks with one or several universities abroad. In most cases, their partner universities have an excellent reputation or possess a specific profile which matches or compliments their own very well.

This programme pursues two lines of action and supports partnerships of various types:

Programme Line A – Strategic Partnerships


Programme line A supports partnerships which include one or more subject areas and/or comprise different levels or scopes of cooperation. In contrast to partnerships exclusively managed by individual departments, this programme encourages more intensive partnerships at the university level. By concentrating on top-level strategic partnerships, the programme aims to improve the overall quality of research and instruction. Furthermore, it hopes to create new synergies by coordinating the activities of the participating instructors more closely. These can be innovative instruction methods, in which on-site and digital courses are coordinated and integrated into a didactically persuasive overall concept involving all of the partnering institutions. Not only will this foster more knowledge sharing between the partners, but – thanks to its cross-disciplinary approach – also strengthen interdisciplinarity at the university.
These partnerships will become an essential part of the university’s internationalisation strategy and enhance the attractiveness of the university on the whole.
This programme supports measures which cultivate such partnerships. The funding focus is on deepening one or a few selected partnerships (max. five per application). Partnerships with large existing consortiums (e.g. Coimbra Group, Universitas 21, LERU, etc.) are not eligible for funding unless the proposal calls for an intensive project between specific partners.

Programme Line B – Thematic Networks


Programme line B encourages network-building between German and selected foreign universities on a subject-related or thematic level. This programme line supports research-related, multilateral, international networks comprised of a limited number of distinguished foreign partners. The inclusion of non-university research institutes in Germany and abroad is not only permitted, but encouraged. The programme hopes to motivate outstanding foreign researchers from renowned partner universities to conduct their research in Germany by offering them attractive working conditions. Secondly, it aims to position participating German universities at the forefront of the international research sector through the establishment of competence centres.
The DAAD’s current programmes primarily focus on developing internationalisation measures or supporting bilateral cooperation through partnership programmes. In order to continue developing international networks, there is a need for flexible and combinable funding instruments for research and teaching. The objective of this new programme is to enable German and foreign graduates, doctoral candidates, postdocs and university instructors to study, work and conduct research at their partner universities abroad and in Germany.

Funded projects

Funded Projects 2017 - 2018 (subsequent funding)

Funded Projects 2015 - 2018

Funded Projects 2013 - 2016

Subsequent funding for projects completed during the second funding round (funding 2019-2020)

It is possible to apply for subsequent funding for two years, amounting to a yearly maximum of € 125,000, for projects from round two which are due for completion in 2018. The objective of this subsequent funding is to guarantee a smooth transition to a project's post-funding phase, and to support its sustained incorporation.

Information on the call for applications (2019-2020)

Subsequent funding for projects completed during the first funding round (funding 2017-2018)

The selection for subsequent funding was made in April 2016. A list of the selected projects can be found here.

Information on the call for applications (2017-2018)

It was possible to apply for subsequent funding for two years, amounting to a yearly maximum of € 125,000, for projects from round one which were due for completion in 2016. The objective of this sub-sequent funding is to guarantee a smooth transition to a project's post-funding phase, and to support its sustained incorporation.

Call for applications June 2014 (funding 2015-2018)

Out of 89 applications, 28 projects were selected for funding. A list of the funded projects can be found here.

Information on the call for applications (2015-2018)

Call for applications April 2012 (funding 2013-2016)

Out of 117 applications, 21 projects were selected for funding. A list of the funded projects can be found here.

Further Information

Contact

Section P13 – Internationalisation Programmes

Birgit Siebe-Herbig – Head of Section
Tel.: +49 228 882-168
E-Mail: siebe@daad.de  

Karin Norton – Senior Desk Officer (currently on parental leave)
Tel.: +49 228 882-8791
E-Mail: norton@daad.de

Helen Schomer
Tel.: +49 228 882-8787
E-Mail: schomer@daad.de

Jennifer Ipach
Tel.: +49 228 882-8714
E-Mail: ipach@daad.de

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