Guided by the principles defined by the General Assembly, the Senate advises and decides on all important affairs of the DFG which do not fall within the remit of the Joint Committee. It is therefore responsible for all important decisions relating to research funding prior to the final funding decision and for all important decisions relating to organising the review, assessment and decision-making processes. The Senate decides which review boards should be formed and how they should be structured.
The Senate has 39 members from the scientific and academic communities. 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 are members of the Senate by right of office. The remaining 36 members are elected for four years on a rolling basis by the General Assembly. Researchers employed by higher education institutions or other research institutions are eligible for election. The Presidents of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers and the Fraunhofer Society as well as the Chair of the German Council of Science and Humanities are permanent guests of the Senate.
Committees of the Senate
The Senate Committees for Collaborative Research Centres and Research Training Groups prepare the funding decisions of the two corresponding Grants Committees as subcommittees of the Joint Committee. In addition, they are responsible for the further development of these funding programmes and for their review and decision-making processes.
The Senate Committee on Strategic Planning and the ad hoc Senate Review Committee on Membership Applications are working committees of the Senate that prepare the decisions of the Senate.
Senate Committee on Collaborative Research Centres
Senate Committee on Research Training Groups
Senate Committee on Strategic Planning
Ad hoc Senate Committee
The Senate Commissions of the DFG support the DFG’s statutory task of providing policy advice by, among other ways, preparing statements on research-related issues that are relevant to society according to purely scientific standards. Furthermore, they are an important part of academic self-governance, as they, for example, handle questions with special coordination requirements for specific research disciplines.
In 2010 the Senate resolved to divide its commissions into two categories:
- Permanent Senate Commissions: for important fields with a long-term perspective in which new scientific findings must be processed across disciplines and on an ongoing basis or for rapidly developing scientific topics in which recurring legal regulation with considerable relevance to research is to be anticipated.
- Senate Commissions established for a certain period of time (generally six years): these have the task of developing cross-disciplinary approaches for complex coordination, the improvement of the research infrastructure and the establishment of the necessary structures for research in areas with high demands for research, coordination and multilayered structuring.
The classification of the existing Senate Commissions into one category or the other is performed within the scope of the relevant mandate extensions and has not yet been completed.
Senate Commissions of the DFG
Contact persons for the individual Senate Commissions and Committees can be found on the pages of theindividual statutory bodies.
The DFG Senate has adopted rules for handling conflicts of interest in the advisory activities of Senate Commissions. These rules serve as the basis for deliberations by the Senate Commissions.
Selection Committee for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize
The Selection Committee for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize is responsible for choosing the recipients of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize, which promotes early career researchers. The Selection Committee is not considered a Senate committee as its members are appointed jointly by the DFG and the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research.
Expert Commission of the Excellence Initiative
The members of the Expert Commission of the Excellence Initiative are appointed by the DFG Senate. The Expert Commission, together with the Strategy Commission, which is appointed by the science commission of the German Council of Science and Humanities, prepares the funding decision of the Grants Committee for the Excellence Initiative.