Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz
Evaluationsbasierte Forschungsfinanzierung im Wissenschaftsrecht
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There are different models of funding academic research. The traditional German system grants each university a fixed research budget that is distributed among the academic schools and scientists of the relevant university. Though the budget can vary in total, a minimum budget is guaranteed. It should be high enough to enable each scientist to conduct scientific research within its specific academic subject. In contrast, in a more competitive system (like e.g. in Australia), the granted research budget is primarily (or even exclusively) based on evaluation. Evaluation is in turn connected to specific performance indicators. There is no (or almost no) significant basic funding. So each scientist is forced to fund his research projects from third party resources, like from research funds. In addition, the universities distribute their total budget with regard to the individual success in acquiring money from third parties. Competitive funding based on evaluation and performance indicators has obvious flaws. In particular, scientists will adapt their research topics and goals to specific performance indicators and act more and more success-oriented. Scientific interests will tend towards more fashionable research topics that promise higher chances to acquire adequate funding. Obviously, this can distort the whole scientific environment. This review essay analyzes legal problems of such effects with regard to the German laws of higher education and constitutionally guaranteed freedom of scientific research. In particular, it discusses, if a funding system based on evaluation and performance indicators is to be appropriate to the specific demands of free academia and science. The essay discloses specific risks and traces the constitutional restrictions on the utilisation of performance indicators.