The HRK calls for improved funding for research and development at universities of applied sciences

15. June 2016

Greater support must be provided to research and development activities at universities of applied sciences. This demand was put forward by the Senate of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) in a resolution passed unanimously in Berlin today. The support for university research, which has increased in recent years, must be supplemented with corresponding measures. The HRK stated that this is urgently needed also with a view to the declining innovation capacity seen in small and medium-sized companies, which are the most important cooperation partners for universities of applied sciences.

In light of the specific framework conditions for research and development at universities of applied sciences, the Senate is of the opinion that special, coordinated funding instruments are needed. 

It also believes that suitable programme formats, specifically those of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), must be extended and that it would be reasonable to raise the relevant BMBF funding by €20 million for each of the next five years. The ministry should, in addition, continue the “FH-Impuls” funding line on a permanent basis; this year, this funding line for the first time provided support to ten universities of applied sciences with strong research capabilities in developing their research profile.

The HRK Senate pays particular attention to the systematic training of future professors for universities of applied sciences.

With a view to supporting these early career researchers, the HRK Senate requests an increase in the number of cooperative doctoral training groups (funded by the BMBF) from seven to fifty. In order to facilitate the dual qualifications in  business or public bodies and sucessful doctoral education that is required for a professorship at a university of applied science, it will be necessary to introduce part-time positions of various kinds. As a start, the HRK Senate deems it necessary for the Federal Ministry to fund fifty adequately financed positions each for a period of six years.

Systematic support for early career researchers serves, in particular, the objective of increasing the number of professorships in order to safeguard the necessary supervision ratio in teaching at universities of applied sciences with particularly strong research and development capabilities.

Text of the recommendation