Die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft und die Reform ihres Begutachtungssystems: Zur Einführung der Fachkollegien
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The primary role of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) within the German research system is to promote outstanding basic research at universities. Funding is generally provided for project-specific costs that go beyond the basic resources available. The DFG is a self-governing body within the German research system. This autonomy is laid down in its legal statutes and reflected in the actions of its statutory bodies and the way in which public grants are distributed. All funding decisions are based on evaluations by elected honorary members from the scientific community. This review procedure has been carried out according to established and unchanged rules for decades. A combination of external and internal factors led to the statutory bodies and the Head Office of the DFG initiating a reform, which was implemented between 2000–2004. The aim of this reform was to safeguard the efficiency and the practicability of the review procedure within a research landscape that had seen much change in recent decades. A further objective was to strengthen the principle of self-government by restructuring the peer review process so that the validity, quality and transparency of the system were emphasised. At the centre of the reformation is an elected review board, which has replaced the earlier committees. This article outlines the conditions, aims and course of the reform process up to the constitution of the review boards in 2004.