Interim Conclusion on Germany

Germany has a strong research system with comparably high spending. The private sector finances and conducts most of all research in Germany by far. This is followed by funding from the public sector and, to a much lesser extent, international funding. Whilst third sector funding is negligible in the overall picture, it does have a small role to play when it comes to research funding in HEIs. Being a federal republic, responsibilities for research are divided between the Bund and the Lander. However, during the federalism reform, the Bund lost some of its former competences, in particular regarding HEIs. Next to HEIs, there are four major public non-HEI research organisations which each have a specific profile.

HEIs receive the majority of their funding as generic public funding from the Lander which has, however, declined in recent years. Instead public funding is increasingly given on a competitive basis and external funders have become more significant. Partly, this is due to an intentional turn towards competitiveness and cooperation between the private and public sector after a lack of transparency in funding and a lack of utilising synergies had been identified as some of the weaknesses of the system. However, it might also partly have been due to funding problems created by the federalism reform reducing the power of the Bund to fund HEIs. Therefore, a recent change of the Article 91b GG provided for more opportunities for collaboration as regards research funding. German law provides for constitutional protection of academic freedom. Should future developments involve too much steering and conditions/aims for research funding and thereby influencing the direction of research, it may be conceivable that this could be challenged under Article 5(2) GG.

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