Appointment law and practice in a German federal states comparison (BuBiL)

Start of the project: 2024-Jan-01 - End of the project: 2024-Sept-30

Securing and expanding university autonomy is one of the core demands that Berlin's universities repeatedly make to the Berlin Senate Administration. University autonomy is understood as the freedom of decision and action of the universities, which enables them to participate in the organisation of university governance in cooperation with state and social actors, to carry out largely independent development planning and to perform their tasks with a high degree of flexibility. This also includes the control of relevant input variables such as the selection and development of staff, decisions on offers (especially study programmes) and the allocation of spatial and material resources.

In order to make the current status of university autonomy more assessable and to reflect on possibilities for further development, the Berlin Senate Department for Science, Health and Care has commissioned the DZHW to carry out a study that analyses appointment procedures as a relevant aspect of the design of university autonomy in a comparison of federal states.

Methodologically, the higher education laws of the German federal states will first be analysed comparatively. For example, specifications for the release of positions and the determination of the denomination, the obligation to advertise, the composition of the appointment committee and the obtaining of expert opinions as well as the quality assurance of the procedures will be analysed; in addition, the remaining leeway for the universities will be identified.

On this basis, a selection of countries will then be made for in-depth case studies. These will focus on the questions of what objectives were or are associated with the decision in favour of or against transferring the right of appointment to the universities, how the transfer of the right of appointment was handled (e.g. pilot projects, experimental clauses), how the interaction between the state side and the universities may have changed (e.g. with regard to structural and development planning, the handling of staffing plans, information obligations) and what consequences have already been drawn from previous experience or are currently being discussed.

For the case analyses, documents available in the individual federal states will be consulted, additional telephone interviews will be conducted with people in the science departments of the federal states and possibly in universities, and a full-day workshop on the topic will be held.

The results of the individual project steps will be documented and summarised in a final report by the end of September.

Contact person

Frank Dölle
Frank Dölle +49 511 450670-349


Dr. Susanne In der Smitten