Germany's Ministry of Research and Education hopes to overcome political opposition to its €1.9 billion (USD $2.3 billion) plan to create a band of elite universities, but is prepared to pursue "another possibility" to enact the plan if necessary, according to a ministry spokesman.

The controversial plan failed to win approval on July 5 at a meeting of the Federal and State Commission for Educational Planning and Research Promotion. The plan was opposed by officials representing German states governed by the CDU/CSU party, the major opposition to Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD party, which governs with junior coalition partner, the Green party.

Under the proposed plan, up to 10 universities would be selected in various fields to receive a boost of €25 million (USD $30.1 million) a year for 5 years. Funding, which would begin in 2006, also would be provided for graduate schools and for creation of "excellence centers" operated...

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