With the German Federalism Reform, the joint task of university construction, including university medical schools, was abolished on 31 December 2006 and general university construction transferred to the sole responsibility of the states (Länder). At the same time, the Federal Government and the states created a jointly financed instrument for investments in the higher education sector with the funding of supra-regionally important research buildings, including large-scale equipment.
Since 2007, the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR) has been implementing the Research Buildings Programme on behalf of the Federal Government and the states (Länder). It provides funding for investment projects that are “distinguished by excellent scientific quality and national significance”. The aim is to improve the conditions for German universities as successful players within the field of national and international competition in research. This objective distinguishes the programme from the Joint Task for University Construction, which was abolished with Federalism Reform 1, and provided for broad funding of building projects in the states under planning aspects.
Funding is currently available for university buildings with investment costs exceeding 5 million euros whose infrastructure is predominantly used for research. The funding includes outfitting the research buildings with large-scale equipment. Half the funding is provided by the Federal Government and half by the states. Each year, 401 million euros are available for research buildings. In addition to research buildings, the federal-states programme under the AV-FGH includes large-scale research equipment. This part of the programme is administered by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and includes 170 million euros per year from the Federal Government and the states. Thirdly, funding is available for national high-performance computing. To implement this, the Joint Science Conference (GWK) has appointed a strategy committee. This accounts for 62.5 million euros.