ICEland: Information system for ministerial science departments in the federal states

Start of the project: 01-Jan-2000

ICEland is an internet-based information system that gives access to comprehensive data bases from the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis)'s official higher education statistics. It covers the following topic areas in particular: school leavers with a higher education entrance qualification, first-year and other students, examinations and graduates, staff and higher education funding. Statistical data on the population and survey findings from DZHW surveys such as the Social Survey and the Panel of School Leavers with a Higher Education Entrance Qualification are also included. Some of the data included date back as far as the early 1970s, making it possible to create or evaluate long time-series.

ICEland was originally developed in 2000 for the ministerial science departments of the federal states in Germany to provide the fundamental statistical key figures to enable them to make appropriate decisions in higher education planning and policy. In late 2004 the ICEland user group decided to open the system to interested persons or bodies from other public institutions and higher education institutions (HEIs). The data supply by Destatis was comprehensively expanded in 2005/2006; the data structure now enables evaluations organised by topic up to the level of the HEIs and study subjects, making it possible to compare HEIs. This makes ICEland more attractive for all institutions in the field of higher education, in particular for HEIs themselves. Scientific research also benefits from the comprehensive, highly-structured content provided by ICEland, because it enables official statistical data to be applied for example to sampling or to provide comparative values for finding contextual data. The circle of users therefore includes the 16 federal states in Germany, various statistical offices and auditing authorities of the federal states, and a large number of institutions in the higher education field and scientific institutions.

The range of ICEland user groups is a particular challenge because their knowledge of statistics and their experience in using such content and technologies vary considerably. Therefore a tool is implemented to generate tables flexibly when making evaluations as simple and intuitive to use as possible, so that users can concentrate on actually formulating content-related questions. The system's intelligence also makes it easy to use; for example, it enables comparisons to be made between student and staff statistics, or even works autonomously to make links between an HEI and the federal state where it is located (logical inclusions).

While the project is ongoing, the research unit “Research Data Infrastructure” provides central system monitoring, data processing and data management, also including advising and supporting users in the use of content-related and technological functions. Beyond the circle of ICEland users, data inquiries from the scientific world, business and the public are also processed.

In 2008, the DZHW (then HIS GmbH) was appointed by Lower Saxony's Ministry of Science and Culture to coordinate the ICEland project.

Contact person

Hans Dicken
Hans Dicken +49 511 450670-412


Christine Heisterberg Michael Schröder

Project website