Leibniz institutions are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder. At the Joint Science Conference (GWK) the Federation and the Länder agreed that they would evaluate the institutions regularly – at the latest every seven years – to ascertain whether they still fulfilled the prerequisites of supraregional importance and national scientific interest in order to continue receiving joint funding. An external evaluation is the crucial assessment tool (see AV-WGL).
A further function of the evaluation undertaken by independent experts is to uncover valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of specific areas within the institution as well as its potential for continued development.
The Joint Science Conference (GWK) has delegated responsibility for conducting the evaluation procedure to the Senate of the Leibniz Association. The latter draws on the recommendations of the Senate Evaluation Committee (SAE) which is also composed of external members: members of the Senate, academics not employed by Leibniz institutions, representatives of the Federation and the Länder.
The Senate and SAE are supported in all evaluation matters by the Evaluation Department, which is directly subordinated to them.
The Leibniz Senate determines the principles underlying the evaluation procedure which is conducted in two stages:
During the first stage, an independent evaluation committee composed of experienced experts from home and abroad as well as members of the Senate Evaluation Committee (SAE) carries out a scientific evaluation according to clearly defined criteria. On the basis of a written evaluation package prepared by the institute according to a Senate blueprint and a visit to the institution usually lasting two days, the evaluation committee draws up an evaluation report analysing the quality and significance of the institution on the one hand, and making suggestions and recommendations for its continued development on the other. The institution being evaluated has an opportunity to comment on this report.
During the second stage, the Leibniz Senate agrees on a scientific policy statement on the institution under evaluation based on the evaluation report which contains a funding recommendation. SAE prepares the relevant document. The Senate’s statement is then published together with the following attachments: Summary of the Evaluation Package (Attachment A), Evaluation Report (Attachment B), Statement by the institution on the Evaluation Report (Attachment C). This completes the Senate’s evaluation procedure.
Subsequently, the GWK examines the Senate’s Statement as well as the statement submitted by the government department responsible for the institution in the Land which hosts the institute to establish whether the prerequisites for joint funding by the Federation and the Länder have been fulfilled.