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Heidelberg University Successful in DAAD Competition: Centre of Excellence in Chile

10 July 2009
2.1 million euros for partner projects in research and teaching with universities in Santiago de Chile
Das Heidelberg Center Lateinamerika in Santiago de Chile  
Together with partners in Chile, Heidelberg University will be establishing one of four “Centres of Excellence in research and teaching” in various parts of the world funded by the Federal Foreign Office in the framework of its “International Science Initiative”. This is the result of the University’s success in a competition organised by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), which will be funding the Heidelberg proposal to the tune of 2.1 million euros. Over the coming five years this funding will be used to further extend the Heidelberg Center Latin America, a postgraduate and continuing education centre of Heidelberg University in Santiago de Chile.

The rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, declared: “The establishment of the Centre of Excellence in conjunction with our Chilean partners will enable Heidelberg University to enhance its presence all over Latin America.” Nineteen German higher-education institutions were invited by the German Academic Exchange Service to submit project proposals concentrating mainly on support for young scholars and scientists through joint Master’s and doctoral programmes and on the conduct of research projects. Other central requirements in the call for proposals were the academic visibility of the Centres and the sustainability of the projects.

Das Heidelberg Center Lateinamerika in Santiago de Chile  
The Heidelberg Center Latin America was inaugurated in 2002. In conjunction with the Pontifica Universidad Católica and the Universidad de Chile it has been active in the development and conduct of study and continuing education programmes. The managing director of the Center, Dr. Walter Eckel, noted that this first - and so far only - graduate centre had enabled Heidelberg University to establish itself on the Latin American education market at an early stage. The Center already offers an MLL course in international law and a bi-national doctoral programme on depression research (psychotherapy). With the additional funding from the Federal Foreign Office it will now be able to extend its purview to astronomy, earth sciences, medical informatics and medical physics. Plans are afoot to organise Master’s and doctoral courses, continuing education offerings and the establishment of research groups in these subjects.

Centres of Excellence are cooperative research and teaching ventures involving German universities and international partner institutions. Their aim is to establish networks linking excellent international scholars/scientists and top-flight international research with research institutions in Germany. Other universities successful in the current German Academic Exchange Service competition are Gießen University (Santa Marta/Colombia), Frankfurt University (Bangkok/Thailand) and the Free University of Berlin (St. Petersburg/Russia).

Dr. Walter Eckel
Heidelberg Center for Latin Amerika

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English translation by James Furner
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July, 14th 2009