Six of the nine additional billions granted for research and education have been distributed to the federal states. But which share arrives at the chronically underfinanced universities in Baden-Württemberg?
The state universities welcome the party leaders’ initiative to reconsider funding of the German science system. According to the Rectors Conference, the decision to change the constitution is of decisive importance. “At last, things are progressing in Berlin. It is vital for the universities in Baden-Württemberg that the summit of the Federal Government paved the way towards a reform of federalism in the area of education and research funding,” says the Chairman of the Rectors Conference of the Universities in Baden-Württemberg, Professor Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. According to him, this decision is of high relevance, as it represents an important basis for the further development of the science system.
With the decision of the Federation to completely take over BAföG (federal student loan) funding from 2015, the states will be granted an annual additional amount of EUR 1.17 billion to improve their university systems. For Baden-Württemberg, this means a plus of EUR 71 million annually, which have to be made available to the universities. “We expect that this BAföG money will be included directly and to the complete extent into the basic funding of universities. With this, the Federation has fulfilled its obligation. Now, it’s the turn of the state,” emphasizes Professor Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer.
The same holds for the support of the states in funding non-university research institutions. Future increases in the budget will entirely go at the expense of the Federation. As a result, Baden-Württemberg will be relieved financially by EUR 10.4 million in 2016 and EUR 21.3 million in 2017. “These funds will have to be transferred to university research in Baden-Württemberg for us to remain internationally competitive,” says the Rector of the University of Stuttgart and Deputy Chairman of the State Rectors’ Conference, Professor Dr. Wolfram Ressel.
Use of the Excellence funds after 2017 and future funding of excellent research at the universities have not yet been agreed upon. The universities as well as Science Minister Theresia Bauer are highly concerned about the fact that a binding decision on the additional EUR 3 billion for research funding still remains to be taken. This includes funding of indirect project costs in the amount of 20% of the direct project funds by the Federation. “Without these funds in the amount of presently EUR 46 million every year, the universities in Baden-Württemberg that are strong in research will buckle under the burden,” says Professor Dr. Hans-Jürgen Schiewer.