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German 'ivy league' plan stalled

A program designed to boost university research falls foul of politics once again

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)

More than a year after proposing a program designed to create an "Ivy League" of German universities and spur scientific research, Education and Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn is still struggling to garner the required political support necessary to launch the scheme.

The latest setback for the €1.9 billion (USD $2.46 billion) plan, which needs unanimous approval from Germany's 16 states, came earlier this month from Roland Koch, prime minister of the state of Hesse.

Bulmahn had succeeded in convincing 15 prime ministers to support her plan, but not Koch. The plan was to be officially approved at an April 14 meeting between Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the 16 state prime ministers, but it was pulled from the agenda after Koch's public opposition.

Koch objects to the plan because it would interfere in states' rights to determine higher education and because he believes the federal government will end up pulling...

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