Research excellence for the future of Hessen

LOEWE is the research promotion programme that has been used by the federal state of Hessen since 2008 to set research policy trends, the objective being to give a sustainable boost to Hesse’s research landscape. LOEWE stands for “Landes-Offensive zur Entwicklung wissenschaftlich-ökonomischer Exzellenz” (state offensive for the development of scientific and economic excellence).

LOEWE provides support for outstanding joint research initiatives, with a particular focus on encouraging intensive networking between scholarship, non-university research and the business world. Since 2008 (including maturities until 2028) the federal state of Hessen is providing a total of EUR 1.28 billion for the excellence initiative.

LOEWE has five funding lines:

  • LOEWE research Centres are topic-focused institutions. They each have their own decision-making structure, which is backed by partners from universities and research establishments. Annual promotional funding for a LOEWE Centre is between EUR 1.5 and 6 million.
  • LOEWE research Clusters bring together available topic-based capacities. Innovative research topics from universities in Hessen and non-university research institutes are identified and developed thanks to the promotional funding. Annual promotional funding for each LOEWE research Cluster amounts to EUR 0.5 – 1.2 million over a period of four years.
  • LOEWE SME Projects are model and pilot projects whose aim is to strengthen cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research institutions in Hessen. The focus is on the introduction of marketable and technologically innovative products, procedures and services, the objective being to create added value and secure employment in the business sector. Project run-time is between one and three years.
  • LOEWE Top Professorships and LOEWE Start Professorships are intended to appoint internationally renowned scientists to Hessen or keep them in Hessen for a maximum of five years with funding of up to 3 million euros in order to support the strategic profiling of the universities.
  • LOEWE exploration projects are funded with 200,000 to 300,000 euros for a period of two years. This funding line is intended to give researchers the freedom to pursue novel, innovative research ideas that are also allowed to fail.

On the basis of recommendations in the 2013 evaluation report of the German Council of Science and Humanities, the Hessen state government decided in December 2014 to extend the funding periods for the research centres and clusters by one year. From 2018 onwards, EUR 1.5 – 6 million per annum in funding will be made available to LOEWE Centres over a period of seven years. EUR 0.5 – 1.2 million per annum in funding will be available for LOEWE research Clusters over a period of four years.

Since the programme was launched in 2008, 15 LOEWE research Centres (funding line 1), 69 LOEWE research Clusters (funding line 2) and 357 SME projects (funding line 3), 6 LOEWE Top Professorships, 3 LOEWE Start Professorships (funding line 4) and 23 LOEWE exploration projects (funding line 5) have been selected for promotional support as a result of competitive procedures.