Membership of the Leibniz Association is restricted to independent research institutions and research infrastructure facilities of supraregional importance and national scientific interest. They must be of outstanding quality and a certain minimum size.
In order to become a member of the Leibniz Assoication and be eligible for joint funding, institutions have to go through a multi-stage application process. First of all, the Land which hosts the institution (or the Federation) must submit an application to the committee of the Joint Science Conference (GWK) responsible for matters relating to the Leibniz Association. The aim of this is to instigate an evaluation of the institution by the Science Council once the Leibniz Association has been interviewed on the institution’s request to become a member. The Leibniz Association Senate issues makes a recommendation with regard to the institution’s organisational structure and appropriateness.
If the GWK makes a positive decision on joint funding, the General Assembly of the Leibniz Association can decide to admit the institution to the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Association (Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz e.V., WGL), as it is officially known. For this purpose, the institution must submit a formal application. Membership of the Association ceases if joint institutional funding by the Federation and the Länder is discontinued, by notice of resignation or by a General Assembly decision on serious grounds.
The legal basis of the Leibniz Association is the “Ausführungsvereinbarung zum GWK-Abkommen über die gemeinsame Förderung der Mitgliedseinrichtungen der Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz e.V. (AV WGL)” (implementation agreement on the GWK agreement on the joint funding of institutions in the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Association) and the articles of association.