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Research Policy

The Council of Sciences and Humanities issues statements concerning the organisation, funding and appraisal of public-sector research on a regular basis.

Dealing with universities and non-university research institutions alike, the Council issues recommendations on research institutions and their funding as well as their relations to other areas of society, such as the private-sector economy. These relations and their political implications have been the subject of its 2015 position paper on grand societal challenges as a topic for science policy. Currently, the Council’s research policy committee is about to prepare position paper on institutional framework conditions and strategies for improving knowledge transfer. Additionally, in its research policy field of activity, the Council issues analyses and recommendations on the structure and development of selected fields of science and the humanities (most recently the theologies and sciences concerned with religions, the humanities and agricultural sciences). Apart from that, the Wissenschaftsrat has reported on a number of funding programs of the DFG and other funding organisations.

Starting from a critical assessment of widely used rankings, the Wissenschaftsrat has conducted a pilot study for a novel, discipline-specific, comparative appraisal process, referred to as research rating. In October 2013, it has issued recommendations on a national system of research rating covering all major disciplines of the sciences and humanities. These activities have been accompanied by an examination of the conditions for, and consequences of performance-led governance. In order to reduce the burden induced by reporting and evaluation processes concerning research activities, the Council has recommended that a core data set on research activities  be specified in a common set of definitions. The Council has established an advisory board to accompany the project that implemented this recommendation, and contributed a work package on research classifications.

Large-scale research infrastructures of national or international importance are consistently subject of statements by the Council for Science and Humanities. After a pilot phase, which was concluded in April 2013, the BMBF once again requested the Council to carry out the part of the science-driven evaluation of large-scale research infrastructure proposals for inclusion in a national roadmap. The evaluation report was published on 17 July, 2017 and is now available. The whole process will be concluded on the part of the Council by the end of 2017.

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