Freie Universität Berlin is a leading research institution. It is one of nine German universities successful in all three funding lines in the federal and state Excellence Initiative, thereby receiving additional funding for its institutional future development strategy. Freie Universität can thus take its place as an “international network university” in the global competition among universities. Its future development strategy is focused around three strategic centers: for cluster development, for international cooperation, and for graduate studies. Development and assessment of research projects takes place within three major focus areas – area studies, humanities, and life sciences. Freie Universität has various offices abroad, e.g., in New York, Beijing, and Moscow, that provide a platform for international cooperation. The university’s performance in the Excellence Initiative has provided funding for several new graduate schools and transdisciplinary research clusters.
The foundation of Freie Universität Berlin was facilitated through international support, and international impulses have shaped its research ever since. In order to survive, both on an academic and an intellectual level, Freie Universität established connections from its geogreohically position in West Berlin to organizations and personalities in Western Germany, Europe, and the world beyond. What began as a necessity rapidly evolved into a successful strategy: currently, Freie Universität has over 130 partnerships with scholarly institutions worldwide. The university is a drawing card for international researchers. Freie Universität and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München are the two most often selected locations for visiting scholars through the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. About 600 foreign scholars contribute to the diversity in research and teaching. Of its approximately 31,000 students in over 100 subject areas, 16 percent come from abroad.