German Council of Science and Humanities
The German Council of Science and Humanities was established by an administrative agreement between the Federal Government and the Länder. Its task is to develop recommendations on the structure and development of higher education and research and to advise the Federal Government and the Länder on these issues. The topics selected for consideration and recommendations are either based on initiatives of the Council or are proposed by the Länder, the Federal Government or the KMK (Conference of Länder Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs). In addition, it is the task of the German Council of Science and Humanities to evaluate research institutions and decide on the accreditation of newly established private institutions of higher education.
The Council has developed numerous recommendations which have had a lasting effect on the science system and the German higher education sector. It moderates a regular dialogue between science and policy-makers. Scientists and public figures work together within the Council on an equal basis with representatives of the Federal Government and the Länder. The German Council of Science and Humanities was founded by the Federal Government and the Länder
on 5 September 1957.
Structure and organization
The German Council of Science and Humanities is funded by the Federal Government and the 16 Länder
It consists of two commissions with equal rights: the Scientific Commission, which consists of scientists and public figures, and the Administrative Commission, consisting of representatives of the Federal Government and the Länder. The members of the Scientific Commission are appointed by the Federal President. Both Commissions meet in the Plenary Assembly. All resolutions in the Plenary Assembly have to be adopted by a two-thirds majority. Consequently, there is a strong incentive to seek consensus.
The Council's composition enables a continuous dialogue between the scientific community and policy-makers.
The Council is headed by the chairperson, who is elected for one year and may be re-elected. The chairperson represents the Council in its dealings with external parties. The Secretariat has about 80 members of staff. It is located in Cologne and headed by the Secretary General.
The Plenary Assembly of the German Council of Science and Humanities meets four times a year. Committees and working groups are established to work on individual projects, which are laid down in a work programme. These committees and groups are composed of members of both Commissions with additional external experts from Germany and abroad. In the past, the Council has developed numerous recommendations which have had a strong impact on the science system and the German higher education and research sector.
Generally speaking, the Council deals with the following topics of science policy in its recommendations and statements:
- Structure and efficiency as well as the development and funding of the scientific institutions (universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research institutions);
- Structural aspects of research and teaching as well as the planning, evaluation and governance of individual areas and disciplines, including university medicine;
- Institutional accreditation of private institutions of higher education;
- Qualitative analyses.
The Council is responsible for the third funding line (Future concepts for the project-related development of cutting-edge university research) under the Excellence Initiative, which it is implementing together with the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
All recommendations and opinions are published and are available on the Council's website.