Statutes of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
as amended by resolution of the General Assembly on 2 July 2014, recorded in the Register of Associations of the Municipal Court of Bonn on 11 November 2014 under no. VR 2030.
[Translator’s note: This is the English translation of an original German legal text. In the event of a discrepancy, the German text is binding.]
- Article 1 Purpose of the Association
- Article 2 Name, Seat, Fiscal Year, Public Benefit Status
- Article 3 Membership
- Article 4 Bodies of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
- Article 5 General Assembly
- Article 6 President, Executive Committee
- Article 7 Executive Board
- Article 8 Secretary General, Head Office
- Article 9 Senate
- Article 10 Joint Committee
- Article 11 Review Boards
- Article 12 Funding of Research Projects
- Article 13 Expense Reimbursement, Limitation of Liability
- Article 14 Statutory Amendments, Dissolution of the Association, Dedication of Assets to Public Benefit
Article 1 Purpose of the Association
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) serves all branches of science and the humanities by funding research projects and facilitating national and international collaboration among researchers. It devotes particular attention to the advancement and training of early career researchers. The DFG promotes equality between women and men in science and academia. It advises parliaments and public interest institutions on scientific matters and fosters relations between the research community and society and the private sector.
Article 2 Name, Seat, Fiscal Year, Public Benefit Status
- The name of the Association shall be "Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft". Its seat shall be in Bonn. It shall be recorded in the Register of Associations. The fiscal year shall begin on 1 January and end on 31 December.
- The DFG shall exclusively and directly pursue public-benefit purposes as defined in the tax-privileged purposes section of the German Fiscal Code (Abgabenordnung). The Association shall be nonprofit; it shall not primarily pursue its own economic interests. Funds of the Association may only be used for purposes set forth in the Statutes.
- Members as such shall not receive allocations from the funds of the Association. No person may gain personal benefit either through payments which do not conform to the objectives of the Association or through disproportionately high remuneration.
- The Association may transfer funds to other corporations as per Section 51, paragraph 1, sentence 2 of the German Fiscal Code and to legal persons under public law in order to promote science and research; the transfer of funds to domestically based corporations under private law requires that these are tax-privileged for public-benefit purposes.
Article 3 Membership
- The following may be admitted as members of the Association:
- institutions of higher education that are research institutions of general importance,
- other research organisations of general importance,
- the academies joined in the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities for their respective scientific and academic disciplines,
- scientific associations of general importance that serve the purpose of the Association.
- Membership shall be determined by resolution of the General Assembly by a majority vote of its members. Applications for membership shall be submitted to the General Assembly with a recommendation from the Senate.
- There shall be no membership dues.
- Withdrawal from the Association shall only be possible at the end of the fiscal year. The intent to withdraw must be submitted to the Executive Committee no later than six weeks prior to this time.
Article 4 Bodies of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
- The bodies of the DFG are:
- the General Assembly (Mitgliederversammlung)
- the President (Präsident/in)
- the Executive Committee (Präsidium)
- the Executive Board (Vorstand)
- the Secretary General (Generalsekretär/in)
- the Senate (Senat)
- the Joint Committee (Hauptausschuss)
- the Review Boards (Fachkollegien
Resolutions of the bodies shall be adopted regularly by a simple absolute majority of the votes cast, unless the Statutes provide otherwise. Details shall be governed by rules of procedure to be adopted by the Joint Committee.
Activity in the bodies of the DFG shall be on an honorary basis, unless the Statutes provide otherwise.
Article 5 General Assembly
- The General Assembly shall determine the principles of the work of the DFG. It shall elect, in accordance with the following provisions and with rules of procedure to be adopted by it, the President, the Executive Committee and the Senate, and it shall confirm the ap-pointment of the Secretary General by the Joint Committee. The General Assembly shall receive the annual report and the annual accounts from the Executive Board and approve the actions of the Executive Board. On the basis of an external audit commissioned by the Executive Board, the annual accounts shall be reviewed by three auditors to be appointed by the General Assembly.
- Elections shall be for four years; re-election shall be possible once. For the President and the members of the Executive Committee, a second re-election by a two-thirds majority shall be possible. The term of office of those leaving shall end when the elected persons take office.
- The ordinary meeting of the General Assembly shall be held once annually. The place and time shall be determined by the Executive Committee. The President shall convene the General Assembly. The invitation together with the agenda shall be submitted to the members no later than three weeks prior to the annual meeting. The General Assembly shall also be convened if requested by the Executive Committee, the Joint Committee or one-third of the members.
- Members of the Executive Committee and of the Joint Committee shall be invited to the meeting of the General Assembly. They shall attend in an advisory capacity.
- The President shall chair the meeting of the General Assembly. For each meeting, a secretary shall be elected to keep the minutes of the meeting. The minutes shall be signed by the chairperson of the meeting and the secretary.
Article 6 President, Executive Committee
- The President shall represent the DFG internally and externally; in case of hindrance, he or she shall be represented by a Vice President of his or her choice or by the Secretary General. If the President is unable to appoint someone, the Executive Committee shall choose the representative. The President shall develop jointly with the Executive Committee the strategic and conceptual direction of the DFG.
- The Executive Committee shall prepare the resolutions of the Senate and the Joint Committee to the extent that they are not funding decisions.
- The Executive Committee shall consist of the President and the Vice Presidents, whose number shall be determined by the General Assembly. In addition, the president of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft shall be a member of the Executive Committee in an advisory capacity.
- Members of the Executive Committee shall attend the meetings of the Senate and the Joint Committee in an advisory capacity. They may attend the meetings of all bodies in an advisory capacity.
- The President shall be appointed on a full-time basis. The terms of his or her employment shall be determined by the Joint Committee. Members of the Executive Committee may be granted appropriate remuneration for their work by resolution of the Joint Committee.
Article 7 Executive Board
- The Executive Board as defined by Article 26 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch) shall consist of the President and the Secretary General. The Executive Board shall conduct regular business.
- The Executive Board may appoint, for certain types of business, special representatives as per Article 30 of the German Civil Code.
Article 8 Secretary General, Head Office
- The Secretary General shall manage the Head Office of the DFG. He or she shall be appointed on a full-time basis by the Joint Committee upon recommendation by the Executive Committee and confirmed by the General Assembly. The terms of his or her employment shall be determined by the Joint Committee. He or she shall attend the meetings of the Executive Committee in an advisory capacity. He or she may also attend the meetings of all other bodies in an advisory capacity.
The Head Office shall support the work of the bodies of the DFG and administer the funding programmes under the rules of procedure of the DFG.
Article 9 Senate
- The Senate is the central scientific body of the DFG. It shall deliberate and resolve, within the principles adopted by the General Assembly, all major matters of the DFG, unless they are reserved for the Joint Committee.
- The Senate shall determine which review boards shall be formed and how they shall be structured. It shall ensure that the full range of fields in science and the humanities is covered by the review boards and that the review boards take their disciplinary research interests and interdisciplinary relationships duly into account.
- The Senate shall consist of 39 members. The president of the German Rectors’ Conference, the president of the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities and the president of the Max Planck Society shall be ex officio members of the Senate. The remaining 36 members shall be elected by the General Assembly in a staggered rotation system. Researchers who work at institutions of higher education or other research institutions are eligible for election. The General Assembly may also elect other persons, in consideration of certain expertise relevant to the DFG. Voting shall be based on the person; elected members of the Senate shall not act as representatives of institutions. Adequate representation of the entire spectrum of research disciplines shall be sought in the composition of the elected membership.
- For the elections, the Senate, upon recommendation by the Executive Committee and in consideration of proposals from the members of the DFG, shall prepare slates of nominations, which as a rule shall comprise three names for each vacant seat. Details shall be governed by rules of procedure.
- If a member of the Senate leaves during his or her term of office, the Senate may co-opt a replacement member from the previous slates of nominations to complete the departing member’s term of office.
- Meetings of the Senate shall be convened and chaired by the President. The President shall convene the Senate at the request of at least one-third of its members. As a rule, the resolutions of the Senate shall be passed in the meetings. In individual cases, resolutions may also be passed by circulation (in writing, by fax or electronically) upon decision by the Executive Committee.
- Within its mandate, the Senate may establish committees and commissions whose members need not be members of the Senate.
Article 10 Joint Committee
- The Joint Committee shall be responsible for the funding of research by the DFG. It shall deliberate on the development of DFG funding policies, funding activities and programme planning on the basis of resolutions by the Senate.
- The Joint Committee shall adopt the budget.
- The Joint Committee shall consist of the members of the Senate, representatives of the federal government, with a total of 16 votes, 16 representatives of the state governments, and two representatives of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft.
- The Joint Committee shall pass its resolutions in meetings that are convened and chaired by the President, or by circulation (in writing, by fax or electronically). The representatives of the public funding bodies may transfer their voting rights in writing, by fax or electronically to another member of the Joint Committee. Such proxy shall be granted separately for each meeting of the Joint Committee.
- Within the scope of its authority, the Joint Committee may establish subcommittees whose members need not be members of the Joint Committee. To the extent that such subcommittees are delegated powers of the Joint Committee under paragraph 1, sentence 1, they shall adopt rules of procedure which shall at least govern their composition and require the approval of the Joint Committee.
Article 11 Review Boards
- The review boards shall evaluate research funding proposals. In doing so, they shall also monitor the maintenance of uniform standards in the review process. On issues concerning the further development and refinement of the funding programmes of the DFG, their advice shall be heard.
- Members of the review boards shall be elected by researchers for four years in accordance with election regulations to be adopted by the Senate. Re-election is possible once.
- The review boards shall adopt rules of procedure, which shall be approved by the Senate.
Article 12 Funding of Research Projects
Researchers and research institutions may, under the funding programmes, submit proposals to fund research projects and their supporting structures.
Grant proposals, apart from minor cases, shall be decided on the basis of scientific review and evaluation.
The review of research projects shall be conducted in writing or by a review panel. In the latter case, the review panel may also make the necessary evaluation if at least one member of the relevant review board participates.
Any decision on a grant proposal shall be by, or based on, a decision by the Joint Committee or its subcommittees.
The review, evaluation and decision processes shall be administered by the DFG Head Office.
Article 13 Expense Reimbursement, Limitation of Liability
- For activity in the statutory and other bodies and the associated expenditure of time, no remuneration shall be paid, including flat allowances for attendance, unless the Statutes provide otherwise. However, members of such bodies shall be entitled to reimbursement of expenses demonstrably incurred in connection with activity in these bodies in accordance with a resolution of the Joint Committee.
- Liability of members of statutory and other bodies to the Association and to the members shall be limited to intent and gross negligence. If members of such bodies are liable to compensate third parties for any damage they have caused in the performance of their duties within these bodies, they may request from the Association to be exempted from liability, provided that the damage was not caused intentionally or by gross negligence.
Article 14 Statutory Amendments, Dissolution of the Association, Dedication of Assets to Public Benefit
Amendments to the Statutes and dissolution of the Association require a three-fourths majority vote by the General Assembly. The General Assembly may only resolve to dissolve the Association if at least three-quarters of the members are represented. If the required number of members is not represented, another meeting of the General Assembly shall be convened, which shall be quorate regardless of the number of members represented.
In the event of dissolution of the Association or should the Association pursue objectives which are other than nonprofit, the Association’s assets shall be transferred to an institution of public law or to another tax-privileged organisation to use for the promotion of science and research. If several institutions are named, the General Assembly will vote. This decision shall require approval by the public funding bodies.
A decision by the General Assembly to amend or delete Article 14, paragraph 2 shall require approval by the public funding bodies.
Adopted by the General Assembly of the Notgemeinschaft der deutschen Wissenschaft, the legal predecessor of the current organisation, on 18 May 1951 in Munich and on 2 August 1951 in Cologne; amended by resolutions of the General Assembly on 22 October 1954, 2 April 1955, 27 October 1959, 10 February 1960, 17 July 1964, 1 July 1971, 27 June 1978, 15 January 1991, 6 July 1993, 3 July 2002, 2 July 2008; last amended and resolved on 2 July 2014 in Frankfurt am Main. First recorded in the Register of Associations of the Municipal Court of Bonn on 27 March 1952 under no. VR 777, transferred on 14 October 1963 to no. VR 2030.