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Fri, Oct 03, 2003 - Page 18 News List

Germany's outstanding research institutions: centers of excellence

By Martin Mueller

It is well known that Germany's more than 300 institutions of higher education offer incredible opportunities to students from all over the world. A wide and fascinating range of subjects, excellent academic standards, and an immense variety and diversity of institutional profiles ensure that students from other countries will find study opportunities to match their personal requirements and interests. German universities have restructured their programs during the past decade so that they also can offer more than 500 international degree courses that are taught in English.

This broad variety of German universities is complemented by outstanding research facilities, which can easily hold their own in any comparison with the world's best research institutes. As most Taiwanese students are already graduates when going to Germany this could be of special interest for them, because these institutions are also looking for highly qualified international graduates and post-docs.

Only recently established, Caesar (Center of Advanced European Studies and Research) is a fine example of an outstanding research institution. Located in the former German capital, Bonn, this new international, multidisciplinary research center uses cutting-edge technologies at the interface of information sciences, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. The goal of each single research project is not only to make a noticeable contribution to science, but also to create marketable innovations that lead to the establishment of start-up companies. In competitive economies, basic research and product development increasingly proceed in tandem. Therefore Caesar is to develop and test new mechanisms for converting research results into industrial applications (see: www.caesar.de).

The Hermann von Helmholtz-Association of National Research Centers (HGF) is an alliance of 15 autonomous scientific centers dedicated to the pursuit of long-term research goals and priorities of the state and society. The HGF seeks to provide significant contributions to the solution of urgent problems in its research areas -- energy, earth and environment, health, key technologies, transport and space (see: www.helmholtz.de).

Since its establishment in 1949, the Fraunhofer Society (FhG) has become a driving force behind the trademark "Made in Germany." Aiming at applied research, the FhG undertakes contract research on behalf of business and industry, the service sector and government institutions. Commissioned by a client, FhG develops solutions to technological and organizational problems. The main goal is the transformation of scientific know-how into practical applications. FhG also conducts strategic research for Germany's federal and state governments wherever relevant research projects call for innovative solutions in key technologies (see: www.fraunhofer.de).

The Max-Planck-Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG) emerged in 1948 in order to strengthen research efforts in Germany. It is also an umbrella organization for 80 institutes focusing on basic research in the natural sciences and the humanities. The institutes provide excellent research conditions for internationally renowned scientists. Promoting close cooperation with the foreign research establishment is part of the MPG philosophy (see: www.mpg.de).

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