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Research Bonuses

Directive on the Awarding of Performance Bonuses for Outstanding Achievements in Research, issued by the Department of Public Law and Tax Law

  1. This Directive has been issued pursuant to § 4 of the Operational Agreement on Performance Bonuses and Examination Rates for Academic Staff (Betriebsvereinbarung zur Regelung der Leistungsprämien und Prüfungstaxen für das wissenschaftliche Universitätspersonal). It regulates the awarding of performance bonuses for outstanding achievements in research. These bonuses are intended specifically to reward junior faculty and young researchers (including project staff members pursuant to § 26 an § 27 of the Universities Act, UG) for their achievements and support them in their work. For this reason, full professors and other holders of a venia docendi cannot apply for a performance bonus for outstanding achievements in research. Within the scope of this Directive, the staff of the Department of Public Law and Tax Law is understood to include employees of research institutes and competence centers who can be considered to be affiliated to the Department of Public Law and Tax Law pursuant to the Operational Agreement on Performance Bonuses and Examination Rates for Academic Staff.

  2. Applications for performance bonuses for outstanding achievements in research can only be accepted if the application is submitted for an academic work that was published or accepted for publication in the calendar year specified in the call for applications. Academic staff members who apply for a bonus must have been employed by WU or via a project conducted at WU in the calendar year specified in the call for applications. Continuous employment over the entire calendar year is not required, however.

  3. The types of academic works eligible for performance bonuses include scholarly articles, contributions in edited volumes, legal treatises or commentaries, and monographs. Performance bonuses cannot be awarded for dissertations and habilitation theses. As their main focus, the works for which applications are submitted must deal with topics that are part of the disciplines represented at the Department of Public Law and Tax Law. Applications can only be accepted for works that have already been entered into the FIDES database at the time of application.

  4. The works deemed worthy of a performance bonus are selected by an academic jury, composed of one representative of each of the department’s institutes. The heads of the respective institutes select these representatives from among all full professors and other holders of a venia docendi working at the institute. Jury decisions require a simple majority of the votes. The jury member with the most seniority shall chair the jury meetings, unless the jury decides otherwise.

  5. Via the institute heads, the department chair shall inform all academic staff members who may be eligible for a performance bonus of the call for applications. The department chair shall allow a period of at least three weeks during which every academic staff member of the department may submit an application for a performance bonus for an academic work to the jury member representing his or her institute.

  6. The jury shall examine all works submitted to determine if they are methodologically sound and contain novel research results. Works that fulfill these criteria shall be considered for a performance bonus for outstanding achievements in research. In the selection process, the jury shall give priority to those submissions that constitute particularly outstanding achievements in comparison to the competing works. If required, the jury shall rank the submissions by quality. According to the type of the works, the jury may group the submissions into the following categories: “book, monograph” / “original journal article” / “commentary” / “original contribution to edited volume.” During the assessment of the submissions received, particular emphasis shall also be placed on the degree of innovation of the research presented, the amount of research work conducted, and the extent to which the works include special aspects related to fundamental research, methodological concerns, comparative or classificatory work, and the generation of generalizable knowledge.

  7. In preparation for the work of the jury, every jury member has to draw up a shortlist of applications suggested for consideration in the subject areas represented by his or her institute. The jury members also have to rank the submissions received from the respective institute’s academic staff members. These shortlists and rankings must be kept confidential and are to be presented at the jury meeting. The jury shall take these suggestions into account when making its decisions, but it is not bound by them. The jury must base its decisions on the criteria specified under item 6 of this Directive. If possible, the jury should make sure that the various institutes’ disciplines and subject areas are adequately represented and that the criteria specified in the operational agreement on which this Directive is based are duly applied. In particular, the number of the researchers who receive a performance bonus for outstanding achievements in research should range between 10 and 20% of the total academic staff members eligible to apply.

  8. 1.    The funds available to the department for awarding performance bonuses for outstanding achievements in research are to be distributed equally among all the applications which the jury has selected for a bonus. Exceptions to this rule are only possible for submissions of extraordinary academic quality or to provide special support to junior researchers. The jury shall inform the department chair of the results of the selection process and of the amounts of the bonuses granted for the respective works. The department chair shall present the jury decision and the names of the researchers chosen for performance bonuses to the Rector’s Council. Following approval by the Rector’s Council, the department chair or a jury member acting on his or her behalf shall inform the entire department of the results of the selection process. The jury is obligated to maintain confidentiality with respect to any submissions that have not been selected for a performance bonus.

  9. The award documents are to be presented to the academic staff members selected for a performance bonus for outstanding achievements in research during a ceremony held at WU.

  10. This Directive is to be published on the department website. Via the respective institute heads, the department’s employees are to be notified of the issuance of this Directive and in case of any modifications or the invalidation of this Directive. In the event of invalidation, the regulations specified in this Directive shall continue to apply until a new version of the Directive is issued.

  11. Pursuant to the Operational Agreement on Performance Bonuses and Examination Rates for Academic Staff (Betriebsvereinbarung zur Regelung der Leistungsprämien und Prüfungstaxen für das wissenschaftliche Universitätspersonal), the Directive on the Awarding of Performance Bonuses for Outstanding Achievements in Research is to be evaluated by the department chair every four years, based on recommendations put forth by the Committee of the Department (§ 13 [6] of the WU By-Laws).