German universities last week began preparing for major restructuring of the research system after Education and Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn finally succeeded in gaining the political approval needed to launch an ambitions new program to spur scientific research and create a German "Ivy League."
The scheme, which will cost €1.9 billion over 5 years, needed the unanimous approval of Germany's 16 states, but Bulmahn has had a tough time achieving that support since it was first proposed last year.
In April, all states except Hesse had approved the plan. After some minor adjustments to the plan, Hesse Prime Minister Roland Koch gave his approval on June 23.
Florian Frank, spokesman for Bulmahn, advised the scientific world to take notice of the new program. "This will have an impact at the international level," he said. "Germany has a lot of good universities, but none that are really known internationally. We have...