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iFQ-Scientists Survey in Germany 2010

The German higher education and research system has undergone enormous changes in recent years. New steering instruments have been introduced with an increased focus on output. Competition for funding allotment has increased. Differentiation processes, for example in the form of the German Excellence Initiative for universities, have been promoted, targeting increased stratification in the academic system. New career paths (postdocs, junior research group leaders and junior professorships) and the introduction of the "W" pay system have all altered the academic status order. Gender mainstreaming has become a university policy hot-spot in recent years. Institutional profile development and cluster-forming increasingly demand strategic concepts from the actors in the academic system and require the introduction of new governance structures. In addition to all the above, internationalisation and interdisciplinarity also result in collaborative projects being subject to changing demands.

Against the background of these changing conditions, the iFQ Scientists Survey in Germany 2010 examined in particular the extent to which the funding instruments and programmes provided in Germany still adequately fulfil the needs of academics and researchers and how suitable instruments should be designed under the current conditions. Because the iFQ Scientists Survey was being carried out for the first time, the focus was initially on the funding activity of the German Research Foundation (DFG). The survey examined and evaluated not only the acceptance and suitability of existing funding instruments, but also the unintentional effects which may arise, resulting for example from the prestige of the programmes, the particular appraisal they receive from DFG-independent evaluation processes or material side-effects. The instruments of other national funding sources were also covered in the survey. Alongside this topic, the survey also investigated the extent to which the German academic system is embedded in the European and international context.

The iFQ Scientists Survey in Germany 2010 included in particular:

  • descriptions of research conditions for academics and researchers in Germany
  • tie-ins with current academic policy discourses, in particular on the peer review system, the Excellence Initiative, young academics and researchers and governance structures
  • localisation of the DFG and its instruments in the academic and research landscape
  • appraisal of how far the DFG portfolio suits current requirements
  • ascertainment of levels of satisfaction with the DFG instruments and procedures
  • ascertainment of external perceptions of the role and function of the DFG in the academic system

In order to evaluate changes over the course of time, questions from earlier surveys, in particular the university staff surveys from the 1970s and 1980s and the surveys of applicants to the DFG, were systematically taken up. Currently the iFQ Scientist Survey is being expanded in content and methodology, so that it can serve as a long-term barometer of opinion in the German academic world.

The detailed results of the iFQ Scientists Survey in Germany 2010 (in German only) are freely accessible. You can also download an executive summary of the results in English here.

Duration: 2009 – 2011
Co-operation partner: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Contact person: Jörg Neufeld