Currently, 86 non-university research institutions and institutions that provide research-based services are co-financed by the Federal Government and the Länder through the Leibniz Science Association. Funding by the Federal Government and the Länder is usually provided in a ratio of 50:50; the funding ratio can however deviate, particularly for institutions with a service function.
The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities - in the form of "WissenschaftsCampi" (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example - as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 16,500 individuals, including 7,700 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1.4 billion euros.
As a registered association, the Leibniz Association pursues exclusively non-profit objectives: it promotes science and research at its member institutions whilst safeguarding their scientific, legal and economic independence.
The institutions in the Leibniz Association cooperate intensively with one another as well as with universities, institutes belonging to other research organisations, business enterprises, state institutions and social organisations at national and international level. For the purpose of representing their joint interests, the institutions have amalgamated to form the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Association ("Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz e.V."). The Leibniz Association maintains various decision-making and advisory committees composed of in-house and external members. Leibniz Headquarters and the Evaluation Department support these committees in their respective areas of responsibility.
The Senate is responsible for the science policy objectives of the Leibniz Association and acts in an advisory capacity. It issues recommendations on both the strategic development of the Association and its member institutions and on increasing the efficiency and competitiveness of research and services. The Senate draws up criteria and procedures to ensure and enhance the quality and performance of Leibniz institutions. Together with the Sections it also promotes cooperation between the institutions themselves as well as with universities, other research institutes and business.In the context of evaluation procedures the Senate issues funding recommendations to the Joint Science Conference (GWK) of the Federation and the Länder. To prepare its statements, the Senate has instated a Senate Evaluation Committee (SAE). As a consequence of extending the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation (Initiative II, 2011-2015), the Senate now makes the funding decisions in the Leibniz Competition (formerly SAW Procedure). The Senate Competition Committee (SAW) prepares these decisions. The Senate is composed of the Federal and Länder Ministers responsible for joint research funding, the Presidents and Directors of German science organisations and additional co-opted members. The Senate holds meetings at least once a year which are chaired by the non-voting President of the Leibniz Association.
The Leibniz Association is divided into five sections:
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