On 15 June 2005, the Senate appointed the Senate Competition Committee (SAW) to evaluate applications submitted by Leibniz institutions under a competitive procedure and to make funding recommendations to the Leibniz Senate. During the 2006 to 2010 rounds of the competition (Initiative I), the Senate forwarded its recommendations to the relevant committee at the Joint Science Conference (GWK) for final approval.
As a consequence of extending the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation (Initiative II, 2011-2015), the GWK decided to transfer responsibility for conducting and steering the competitive procedure to the Leibniz Association itself. The SAW prepares the funding decisions which are now taken by the Senate of the Leibniz Association.
SAW evaluates the applications submitted by Leibniz institutions according to criteria of scientific excellence. Applications are evaluated by at least two independent peer reviewers, whose assessments form the basis for the committee's selection of the best applications which it then recommends for funding to the Leibniz Association's Senate.
The Senate Competition Committee is composed of external experts; members of the Leibniz Senate; representatives of the German Research Foundation (DFG), the GWK Office and the German Council of Science and Humanities, as well as the federal and state (Länder) governments; and representatives of the Leibniz Association's five Sections.