The system of national funding for research and innovation is anchored in the Basic Law and provides a framework for the Federal Government and the Länder to collaborate on research funding. They have at their disposal a number of instruments that enable the systematic advancement of research through project funding, institutional funding, and funding for departmental research.
In a move to reorganize and modernize relations between the Federal Government and the Länder, the federalism reform was adopted in 2006. Its aim is to improve the capacity to act and the decision-making powers of both the Federal Government and the Länder. Political responsibilities have been more clearly allocated to increase the appropriateness and efficiency of measures. As programmes such as the Excellence Initiative, the Pact for Research and Innovation, and the Higher Education Pact 2020 in particular have proven, science and research policy have laid a solid foundation for fruitful dialogue between the Federal Government and the Länder.
Funding for research is a responsibility borne by both the state and society. Internationally competitive research and the freedom accorded to science in Article 5 Paragraph 3 of the Basic Law must be accompanied by appropriate financial parameters. The distribution of financing competencies between the Federal Government and Länder is regulated by the Basic Law.
Article 91 b Paragraph 1 of the Basic Law states that the Federal Government and the Länder may agree to cooperate in cases of supraregional importance. This cooperation occurs in the promotion of facilities and projects of scientific research not affiliated with institutions of higher education, projects of science and research at institutions of higher education, and construction of research facilities at institutions of higher education, including large scientific installations, within the framework of project.
The previous limitations of the phrase: "projects of science and research at institutions of higher education" is now to be supplemented by "facilities and projects of science and research at institutions of higher education." With this adjustment, the Federal Government and the Länder have enabled a lasting institutional promotion of institutions of higher education.
The Federal Government can also finance large-scale scientific projects in fields such as aviation, space, marine, and nuclear research as well as international research institutions. The Federal Government and Länder have additional financing competencies with regard to meeting their government tasks and to providing counsel in the process of political and administrative decision-making (departmental research).
The German Council of Science and Humanities (WR) is an advisory body to the Federal Government and the Länder. Its members are scientists, eminent public figures, and representatives of the two tiers of government.
The Federal Government and the Heads of Government of the Länder agreed on the establishment of a Joint Science Conference (GWK) through an administrative agreement signed on 11 September 2007. The agreement took effect on 1 January 2008 and replaces the former Bund-Länder Commission for Education Planning and Research (BLK). GWK members are ministers and senators of the Federal Government and Länder responsible for science, research, and finance.
The GWK addresses all issues relevant to both the Federal and Länder governments in the areas of research funding, science, and research policy. The GWK and its committees provide a forum for exchange on science and research policy. They also act as decision-making bodies in the process of providing funding to research organizations and projects of supraregional importance.
The tasks of the members of the Joint Science Council are
This joint funding is allocated to the institutions and projects identified in the annex to the GWK Agreement. Institutions include the German Research Association (DFG), the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG), the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (HGF), the Fraunhofer Society for the Advancement of Applied Research (FhG), and the Leibniz Association (WGL). Details concerning joint funding, the preconditions for and the consequences of withdrawing from the joint funding programme as well as the shares of the Federal Government and the Länder in joint funding are settled in implementing agreements.
The German Council of Science and Humanities is an advisory body funded in equal share by the Federal Government and the Länder. It delivers recommendations on the development of higher education, science, and research to both levels of government. These recommendations also aim to ensure that German science and humanities remain competitive at national, European, and international level.
The Council issues recommendations and prepares reports that focus on two fields of research policy:
The German Council of Science and Humanities consists of two commissions, the Scientific Commission and the Administrative Commission, which convene as a plenary assembly to adopt resolutions.
The Scientific Commission has 32 members who are appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. Twenty-four researchers are elected based on a joint nomination made by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPG), the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), the Helmholtz Association of National Research Centres (HGF), the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG), and the Leibniz Association (WGL). Another eight are public figures jointly proposed by the Federal Government and the Länder governments.
The Administrative Commission has 22 members, with the 16 representatives of the Länder having one vote each and the six Federal Government representatives holding sixteen. All in all, the Plenary Assembly has 54 members with a total of 64 votes. The resolutions of the Council must be passed by a two-thirds majority in the plenary assembly. This is to provide the incentive to seek solutions that can achieve consensus.
The Council's work is currently devoted to:
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