The U15 universities are research universities. They are the backbone of research and research-oriented teaching at an internationally competitive level. Research and teaching form an inseparable unit that is based on the academic freedom and autonomy of the university. In the specialised German higher education sector, both academic freedom and autonomy require appropriate political support, from funding schemes to the legislation governing higher education. U15 advocates basic research as the foundation of every future-oriented society, in conjunction with research-driven teaching.