A Strong Signal for Education and Research in Germany
Since 2005, Germany's Federal Government has significantly increased investments in science and research. The Federal research budget has increased by 53 per cent over this period (2013). Behind these decisions is a conviction that research needs reliable partners and that the security to establish long-term plans is the foundation of excellence. The Excellence Initiative, the Higher Education Pact and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation are the most important structural measures taken by the Federal Government and the Länder to support science, research and instruction.
In June 2009, the Federal Chancellor and the Minister-Presidents of the Länder approved the proposals of the Joint Science Conference (GWK) on the second programme phase of the Higher Education Pact 2020. They also agreed to continue the Excellence Initiative for the promotion of world-class university research and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation with non-university research establishments. At its own meetin in April 2009, the GWK had decided to extend the three programmes until 2019 with a total funding volume of 18 billion euros.
The German Bundestag has adopted the Academic Freedom Act ("Law to increase the flexibility of budgetary provisions governing non-university academic institutions"). The Act entered into effect across the nation on 12 December 2012. As a result, non-university research institutions will have more freedom in matters of finance and staffing decisions, the acquisition of shares in companies and in construction projects. Bureaucracy will be minimized, competences will be pooled and authorization procedures will be accelerated. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/12268.php)
With the Higher Education Pact 2020, the Federal Government and the Länder are investing additional funds in the expansion of study opportunities, thereby providing a suitable solution to the increasing demand for higher education. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/6142.php)
Funding decisions for the third and final round of the Excellence Initiative have been made. In June 2012, the Grants Committee selected a total of 39 universities from 13 Länder: 45 graduate schools and 43 clusters of excellence made it through the science-based selection process, while the institutional strategies of the FU Berlin, HU Berlin, Bremen, Dresden, Köln, LMU München, TU München, Konstanz, Heidelberg, RWTH Aachen, and Tübingen won over the Committee in the third funding line. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/1321.php)
The Pact for Research and Innovation is designed to give financial planning security to institutions that are jointly funded by the Federal Government and the Länder (Fraunhofer Society, Helmholtz Association, Max Planck Society and Leibniz Association) as well as the German Research Association (as a research funding organization). Their funding is to increase by five per cent every year between 2011 and 2015. In return, they commit to research policy goals. The security to plan allows them room to maneuver and develop, as well as to further these goals. (URL: http://www.bmbf.de/en/3215.php)