Wissenschaftsrat

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Departmental research

Since 2005, the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR) has systematically dealt with federal departmental research – a sub-sector of the research and higher education system which had not been a science policy focus until then. These are 42 institutions (as of 2020) with R&D (research and development) tasks that are institutionally funded by various federal ministries. As a rule, they are subordinate authorities to these ministries and, in addition to research tasks, primarily perform advisory and service activities for the ministry and society. Other institutions also exist with which individual federal ministries collaborate on an ongoing basis.

The previous recommendations of the WR essentially focused on the questions of how the scientific quality of the institutions could be strengthened as a basis for good services and policy advice and, in addition, how an exchange with other sub-sectors of the research and higher education system, especially the universities, could be improved. The WR has already systematically addressed this sector several times in its recommendations on the overall area of departmental research in 2007 and 2010

and to the institutions under the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL):

Recommendations for the further development of the departmental research facilities
of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), 2017 (German version)
Empfehlungen zur Weiterentwicklung der Ressortforschungseinrichtungen des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL) (Drs. 5916-17), Januar 2017

As part of the implementation process of the Federal Government’s “Concept for Modern Departmental Research” launched in 2012, some Federal Ministries have again commissioned the WR to evaluate their departmental research institutions, most recently the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) and again the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food (BMEL).

The following statements on facilities in the BMVg’s area of responsibility were adopted most recently:

Statement on the Bundeswehr Technical Center for Ships and Naval Weapons, Maritime Technology and Research (WTD 71) in Eckernförde, 2022
Stellungnahme zur Wehrtechnischen Dienststelle für Schiffe und Marinewaffen, Maritime Technologie und Forschung (WTD 71), Eckernförde (Drs. 9476-22), Januar 2022

Statement on the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology of the German Armed Forces (InstPharmToxBw), Munich, 2020 (German version)
Stellungnahme zum Institut für Pharmakologie und Toxikologie der Bundeswehr (InstPharmToxBw), München (Drs. 8521-20), Juli 2020

and the BMFSFJ:

Statement on the German Youth Institute e.V. (DJI), Munich, 2020 (German version)
Stellungnahme zum Deutschen Jugendinstitut e. V. (DJI), München (Drs. 8522-20), Juli 2020

The original request to comprehensively and systematically evaluate the federal government’s departmental research institutions was based on a resolution of the German Bundestag and the federal government. The mandate included a “task-critical review” of the institutions and a review of their research. In this context, “societal and economic requirements of departmental research” were to be taken into account. The WR had already dealt with the departmental research institutions of the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) (2001) and the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) (2004).

Following the first overarching recommendation of the WR on the role and future development of federal institutions with R&D tasks, the Federal Government adopted “Ten Guidelines for Modern Departmental Research” in 2007.

In order to do justice to this special type of institution, the Evaluation of the WR has developed its own

Criteria (guidelines) for the evaluation of institutions with federal departmental research tasks (German only)