Development of basic and project funding for universities

Resolution passed by the 128th Senate of the HRK, 16 October 2014

Consolidation and gradual increase of overhead funding

The Senate of the German Rectors' Conference emphatically urges the federal government and the federal states to put aside their dispute over the financing of what is called “overhead costs” and to agree to ensure the consolidation of this funding and to increase it incrementally after 2015. As a minimum requirement, overhead financing for all new projects should be increased to 25%, which is the level of EU research funding. According to the results of a study made available by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, an increase to 40% would be necessary.

The withdrawal of overhead funding would have catastrophic results for Germany as a centre for research and business: it would not only dramatically reduce the competitiveness and appeal of German universities in national and international comparisons, but would also result in declining impetus for innovation, indispensable for economic growth. The universities would no longer be able to compete for third party funding on the current scale because they would not be in the position to provide financing from basic funding (already insufficient) as it would result in substantial constraints on other areas of expenditure (teaching and studying, funding of early career researchers, internationalisation and so on).

Furthermore, were overhead funding to be discontinued, the universities would suffer even greater discrimination compared to the non-university research institutions, as the cost of research at these institutions is fully funded by the budget granted to them by the federal government and the federal states.