Hannover Science Initiative

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Collaboration involving higher education, science and the public – leading the way internationally

Initiative Wissenschaft Hannover

Dialogue, collaboration and knowledge-sharing between science and academia, industry and the wider community are the hallmarks of the Hannover Science Initiative formed in 2007. Many different players are involved in this network today: all eight of Hannover’s higher-education institutions (including universities), the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), the Leibniz Institute for Applied Geophysics (LIAG), the ‘Studentenwerk Hannover’ student service organization, die Volkswagen Foundation, the hannoverimpuls GmbH regional business-development agency, and the City of Hannover.

Boosting Hannover’s appeal as a centre for science

The shared objectives behind the Hannover Science Initiative are: to boost the city’s attractiveness and international outlook as a centre for higher education and scientific activity; to promote an environment making Hannover a better place to study, teach and conduct research; joint acquisition of external funding; to integrate research and industry; and to creatively advance the communication of science across the city and among the wider community.  

In terms of its role as a location for higher education and science, Hannover has a national and international reputation for collaboration in these fields. Moreover, in comparative studies and at conferences, numerous high-prestige institutions both in Germany and further afield have have acknowledged the activities of the Hannover Science Initiative as representing best practice.

Higher-education establishments, Studentenwerk Hannover and research institutes are integrated within projects and strategic processes relating to the city’s development. In its updated integrative plan called ‘WIR 2.0’, subtitled ‘We are Hannover — Living together in the city. Strategies for migration and participation’, the main focus is on the transition from school to higher education. As part of the City Centre Dialogue process, higher-education institutions have taken part in an Experimental Spaces initiative and made collaborative projects involving students and the City Administration visible in the central urban area.

The higher-education sector, the City Administration and the business community are working closely together in the area of urban transformation under the headings Urban Logistics, Smart City (video) and Municipal Sustainability Management (video).

The Hannover Science Initiative has developed and successfully introduced new types of science events and offerings, such as a video portal at and the ‘November of Science’.

The Hannover Science Initiative, together with most of its projects, is coordinated within the ‘Hannover, City of Science’ unit (which is part of the Lord Mayor’s office at the Town Hall).

With the ‘’ video portal, unique in Germany, the partner institutions are pursuing a shared communications strategy including a cross-media approach. Since March 2013, the media library has been online with more than 600 video clips and provides entertaining information about studies, excellent research and start-ups in Hannover. Individual productions are broadcast nationwide by organizations including the German National Association for Student Affairs (DSW), Hannover’s state-run employment agency (AfA) and the Bavarian federal-state government. In 2017, this portal received the FOXAWARD in GOLD for efficient coommunications and marketing solutions, as well as for “impressive pioneering work and for serving as an inspirational model of excellence”.  

Internationalization, and a culture of welcoming newcomers, for international students and researchers are another focal aspect of the Hannover Science Initiative. Housing campaigns that were run between 2016 and 2019 under the banner ‘Don’t leave us out in the cold’ (Lasst uns nicht im Regen stehen) were commended by the Bertelsmann Foundation as a model for other German local authorities. A jury with members from the worlds of politics, election campaigning, communications and journalism shortlisted the 2019 campaign for the PolitikAward in Berlin, finding it one of the very best low-budget political and public campaigns. The housing campaign is part of a programme of action developed by higher-education providers, the local Studentenwerk and the City of Hannover.

A city of almost 49,000 students

With 49,000 students (figures for winter semester 2021/2022) and around 21,000 employees studying and working at its universities, Hannover is among Germany's leading centres of scientific and academic activity. International students make up over 15 per cent of the student body.

Funding for Clusters of Excellence

Four university-based Clusters of Excellence are funded under the German federal and state governments’ Excellence Initiative: QuantumFrontiersPhoenixD (Leibniz University Hannover (LUH)), RESIST and Hearing4all (both Hannover Medical School (MHH)). As of 1 January 2019, these projects are receiving between three and 10 million euros in funding per annum. Additionally, many non-university scientific institutions involved in the Clusters of Excellence are based in Hannover.

Projects under the Hannover Science Initiative

Video portal for science topics

Under the banner ‘studieren.forschen.wissen’ (‘Studies. Research. Knowledge’), research projects in Hannover are presented and users can see for themselve...

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Germany's first science video platform celebrated its 10th birthday in March 2023. Hannover's universities, research-related institutions and the state capital of Hannover present themselves in an informative and entertaining way on the platform.  With high-quality quality and explanatory videos, the Initiative Wissenschaft Hannover provides sustainable information about study and research in Hannover and promotes the university and science location in a data-safe manner with the extensive media library. 

A showreel can be viewed here

  • University and science content at

Higher education and science are a major focus at, the portal of the region and city of Hannover. With daily updates, it provides information on academic studies, teaching, research and student life in the Hannover region. An extensive calendar of events is also available here. You can directly access the relevant content via this link:

  •  November of Science

Every two years in November, Hannover Science Initiative invites some 70 partners from the worlds of higher education, research and culture under the heading #knowember.

The next chance to take part is in November 2023 (1–19 Nov.).

Trailer #knowember:
November of Science content:

  • European involvement

To mark Germany’s holding of the EU Council Presidency, 2020 saw the Hannover Science Initiative release a short video to present research projects – with potential as best-practice models – that are being implemented with EU-based partners and funded by the EU Commission.

To coincide with the 2019 European elections, a campaign was developed in collaboration with Hannover’s Erasmus Student Network, its aim being to achieve higher electoral turnout among the academic sector. In a video, researchers and students explain why the European Union is important for research and teaching.

The Hannover Science Initiative – represented by the City of Hannover – was, until mid-2019, part of the EU’s NUCLEUS project (Horizon 2020) with 24 international partners.

  • Welcome Service for foreign students and researchers

The housing campaign ‘Don’t leave us out in the cold’ (Lasst uns nicht im Regen stehen) was shortlisted for the 2019 PolitikAwards presented in Berlin. (Photo: Nico Herzog)

With a comprehensive plan of action, various local players – Hannover's higher-education institutions, Studentenwerk Hannover, the city’s state-run employment agency, the municipal housing assocation Hanova and the City of Hannover, together with other stakeholders – are seeking to strengthen the Willkommenskultur (culture of welcoming newcomers) for international students. More than 60 separate measures have been developed under various headings: ‘housing’, ‘financing your studies’, ‘integration, diversity and anti-discrimination’, ‘prospects – should I stay or should I go?’ and ‘university access for refugees’. These measures range in scope from development of new projects and the systematic expansion of existing activities to continuation of proven measures.

  • Discounts with ‘Hausmarke’ card

The ‘Hausmarke’ is a discount card for Hannover’s students in higher education. For example, it is a passport to lower prices in shops and restaurants, and entitles the holder to reduced admission at museums.

  •  Dual Career Network

There are good options for those in a long-term relationship who want to continue their career at a Hannover higher-education institution or research establishment. The Dual Career Network provides support and assistance for dual-career couples making a fresh career start in and around Hannover. This service is aimed at partners of newly appointed professors and junior managers with a science or industry background. Leibniz University Hannover is in charge of coordinating the service.

  • Study and Stay

Half of the students graduating from Hannover's higher-education institutes find their first jobs in the Hannover region. With its various projects and events, the Hannover Science Initiative enhances integration, from an early stage, between the realms of industry and commerce, teaching and academia. The aim is to attract qualified personnel to live and work in the key industrial and business location that is Hannover, and to offer young people sound career prospects in the region.

  • Leibniz in Hannover

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716) spent 40 years of his life in Hannover. Many local institutions continue to preserve, explore and communicate the life and work of this exceptional polymath. A special highlight for treasure hunters is the geocaching mystery tour entitled ‘Leibniz’ Ge(o)heimnisse. A digital, interactive garden treasure hunt in the Herrenhausen Gardens is also available: participants use a special app called Actionbound to help them explore and solve puzzles. Called the ‘Leibniz Tour: Searching for Leibniz’s Legacy’, it is suitable for youngsters aged 14 and over. Additional, updated information and a variety of events are listed at

  • Summer University in the city of Leibniz

Starting in 2010, every August Leibniz University Hannover and the City of Hannover have jointly hosted a three-week programme for guest students. They are allowed to sit in at several hours’ worth of lectures and workshops offered by scientists from different fields of research.