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In the Spotlight: Ruprecht-Karls-Universität

Heidelberg University, founded in 1386, is Germany’s oldest university and has one of the strongest research profiles in all Europe. Their successes in the Excellence Initiatives and in internationally recognized rankings prove that Heidelberg’s excellent reputation and leading role in the scientific community is well deserved. In terms of educating students and promoting promising early-career academics, the Ruperto Carola relies on its two strongest points: research-based teaching and superlative, well-structured training for Ph.D. candidates.

Heidelberg University is a comprehensive university, offering the full spectrum of disciplines in the humanities, law and the social sciences alongside the natural and life sciences, including medicine. As a comprehensive university, Heidelberg aims to continue to strengthen the individual disciplines and to further interdisciplinary cooperation, as well as to carry research results over into society and industry.

Success in the Excellence Initiative

With all six proposals, Heidelberg University has been successful in the second funding phase of the Excellence Initiative, a competition funded by the German government to promote outstanding research at German universities: its institutional strategy, two clusters of excellence and three graduate schools.

The concept of a comprehensive university, the central element of Heidelberg’s institutional strategy that proved a success in the first round of the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments, has again carried Heidelberg University through the competition’s renewal process with flying colours. The two clusters of excellence, “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” and “Cellular Networks”, as well as the three existing graduate schools - the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics (HGSFP), the Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS) and the Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences (HGS MathComp) - will continue to be funded. Building on its own strengths and in close cooperation with capable partners throughout the region, Heidelberg University is intent on meeting future tasks and challenges.

For more information on the institutional strategy, the clusters of excellence, and the graduate schools, click here

Graduate Schools

Heidelberg University provides excellent frameworks for both individual and structured doctoral training. Heidelberg has established three graduate schools in the natural sciences, which are financed by the Excellence Initiative. These are the Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics (HGSFP), the Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS) and the Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences (HGS MathComp).

Heidelberg Graduate School of Fundamental Physics (HGSFP)

The HGSFP, founded by the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy at Heidelberg University and the Max Planck Institutes for Astronomy and Nuclear Physics, provides an excellent education for doctoral researchers. The school offers a broad educational programme and a supportive environment, in which the further scientific development of each individual is tailored according to their prior knowledge, the requirements for successful research in the chosen field and personal interests. The school's focus lies in understanding the fundamental properties of matter by describing the processes that occur in nature from the smallest scales of quantum physics up to the largest scales in cosmology.

Hartmut Hoffmann-Berling International Graduate School of Molecular and Cellular Biology (HBIGS)

HBIGS focuses on the rapid developments in the life sciences and the resulting possibilities for medical and biotechnical applications. The school is operated by Heidelberg University, in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research and the German Cancer Research Center. HBIGS offers a doctoral programme taught in English; intensive scientific tutoring and teaching by renowned researchers ensure that students receive a solid interdisciplinary education. At present, the school counts more than 300 doctoral students from all over the world.

Heidelberg Graduate School of Mathematical and Computational Methods for the Sciences (HGS MathComp)

HGS MathComp provides a structured interdisciplinary research training programme in scientific computing. Currently more than 150 doctoral students do their research under the umbrella of the graduate school, using methods of mathematical modelling, computer simulation and optimisation. They study antique monuments, optimise the processes of exchanges of goods on the world markets or model complex phenomena in medicine, biology and the environmental sciences on all physical scales and system units.

From our Alumni

Anna Stusser, Heidelberg University, Clark University

I have been a student in the Euroscholars program for fall 2011 and spring 2012. I was so pleased to find out about the Euroscholars program due to my interest in becoming an aspiring academic. German literature and history are my academic passions. I wished to continue my path to becoming a scholar through an intensive research based program. Lucky enough Heidelberg University offers an individualized program for students, particularly non-native German speakers a chance to integrate into the community at the Institute for German as a foreign language. Without the Euroscholars program, I could not have gained key linguistic and research methods skills to becoming a qualified educator. What was also wonderful about the Euroscholars program is the unique Midstay opportunity. During the Midstay, students have the opportunity to travel, get to know one another, and see what other prestigious universities are discovering. For fall 2011 we went to Zurich, which is where my picture is taken!  For the spring semester we went to Stockholm. Both institutions created specialized programs for the Euroscholars participants, and the staff at both places were very kind. We did activities that included hearing prestigious speakers, got tours of the universities, or even the cities, and much more. There are many opportunities through the Euroscholars program to enrich one’s cultural understanding and world view through this program. As an undergraduate student I feel both fortunate and privileged to have participated in it this year. 

Thank you for your interest in EuroScholars, a unique research study abroad program in Europe. In each edition, this newsletter aims to keep you updated with the latest program developments!

In this Edition:

Photos of Heidelberg University

Upcoming Conferences:

  • EAIE: September 11-14, 2012 Dublin, Ireland
  • NCHC (National Collegiate Honors Council): November 14-18, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts
  • AIEA (Association of International Education Administrators): February 17-20, 2013 in New Orleans, LA.
  • NCUR (National Conferences on Undergraduate Research): April 11-13, 2013 at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
  • NAFSA: May 26 - 31,  2013 in St. Louis, Missouri

ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship:

ThinkSwiss offers 15 scholarships for a research stay in Switzerland. It supports highly motivated and qualified U.S. undergraduate and graduate students to do research at a public Swiss university or research institute for 2 to 3 months. The scholarship is open to students of all fields. The ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship program provides a monthly scholarship of CHF 1,050 (approx. USD 1,000) for a period of 2 to 3 months (CHF 3,150 maximum), which covers two thirds of the average student’s living costs.

Next application deadline: March 31, 2013


To apply for a ThinkSwiss Research Scholarship, the student must:

  • Be currently enrolled at an accredited U.S. university/college
  • Be a graduate student or an undergraduate student who will have completed his/her sophomore year by the time the research stay in Switzerland begins
  • Provide a written confirmation from a professor at a Swiss university that he/she will accept the student for a research stay in his/her group
For more information and the application procedure, please click here.

The information about this scholarship is also available on the EuroScholars website.