Elite uni plan thwarted again

German proposal to create competitors to Oxford, Harvard again falls victim to politics

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)
Dec 22, 2004

The latest attempt by German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's government to win approval for a €1.9 billion (USD $2.56 billion) plan to create a system of elite universities in Germany has failed after opposition from at least one state government.

The university plan, which would attempt to create competitors to Harvard, Stanford, and Oxford in Germany, was first announced in January by Federal Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn. But the plan has been derailed several times by state governments controlled by the CDU/CSU coalition party, the main opposition to Schröder's SPD party.

Federal Research Ministry spokesman Florian Frank told The Scientist the latest failure to win approval was down to politics from the CDU/CSU. "They are blocking the plan as a tactical maneuver," he said.

Frank claimed the CDU/CSU hopes to keep the program from starting as planned in July 2006, just months before the next federal elections, adding that the...

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