The Leibniz Association, one of Germany's four non-university research organisations, is meeting this week to work out the details of a funding mechanism that will be unique in Germany.

Public research funding mechanisms in Germany used to be notorious for their rigid requirements on how the allocated money is spent. More recently, however, public funding bodies and research organizations have been opening up to new ideas on how to allow research institutes more flexibility in their spending, and current funding mechanisms are increasingly being replaced with bulk budgets.

But the Leibniz Association is taking a different approach: "We are going to link funding to performance by introducing programme budgets," says Ludger Viehoff of the association's Evaluation Division. Under the new funding scheme, research institutes and public funding bodies will agree on research objectives and expected results. Performance indicators may include publishing in international peer-reviewed journals or hosting international workshops....

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