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The Senate recommends: The distribution of research funds

The Senate which is made up of external members performs the important role within the Helmholtz Association of making recommendations to the financial sponsors on thematic priorities and funding for research programs.

The Senate reaches these recommendations by first discussing the structure and strategies of the research fields within the scope of the relevant research policy requirements. It then commissions the research program evaluations by independent, internationally-distinguished experts. Finally, the Senate discusses their review reports before adopting funding recommendations for the financial sponsors. The Senate convenes at least once a year.



The Senate Members are "ex officio" high-ranking representatives of the Federal and Länder authorities, of parliament and science organizations, as well as public figures from science and research, business and industry, who are elected for three years. Specifically, the members are:

  • The Federal Minister responsible for research;
  • two research ministers nominated by the Länder concerned;
  • one state secretary from the federal ministry responsible for economic affairs and energy;
  • six external scientists who ideally cover the range of research fields in which the Helmholtz Association is active;
  • six figures from business and industry;
  • one representative from the Federal Ministry of Finance and one from the Länder finance ministries who is nominated by the Länder in question;
  • two representatives chosen by the Presidents of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung), the Association of Universities and other Higher Education Institutions in Germany (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz), the Max Planck Society (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften), the Leibniz Association (Wissenschaftsgemeinschaft Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz) and the Chairman of the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) from among their circle;
  • two Members of the German lower house of parliament (Deutscher Bundestag);
  • the President of the Helmholtz Association, who chairs the Senate.

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