Martin Rennert is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Einstein Foundation in Berlin.
It is one of the unpleasant experiences that successfully completing a task can also have unpleasant consequences. Frankly, this is currently happening to the Einstein Foundation in Berlin.
In accordance with the foundation’s purpose, it has made a significant contribution to the development of science in Berlin over the past twelve years. I can write about research societies and important appointments internationally, about interdisciplinary projects, about programs to support at-risk scholars – of particular importance these days – and about support for joint research projects with Oxford.
How do you support excellent search?
but given Threatening to cut off funding from the country’s planned dual budget The burning question is how can the organization continue to do excellent research, which is great – economical too! – Interested, can support.
On the surface, the foundation works well. The Einstein Foundation had approximately €45 million at its disposal in 2020/2021. A lavish donation by the state to support cutting-edge research in Berlin – in addition to university contracts and a mandatory state quota for Berlin for its successful universities in the Charité and Excellence Strategy. a lot of? At the end of the double budget, about 10 million euros were not used! But at the same time, the foundation is calling for more funds. An increase of 3 to 4 million euros is badly needed. How is that explained?
It is perplexing why government grants, necessary for the purpose of incorporation, were divided into seven pots and clearly marked. If something is left in one of them, then under no circumstances may it be used where there is a huge need – and at the end of the year the money can only be transferred in individual cases and after complex approval processes.
Overview: Only 1 bowl can be used freely for projects, people and structures. This is exactly where success becomes a burden: due to our well-recognized work, we receive more and more outstandingly evaluated orders. However, if the money is no longer available, the consequences will be less, or worse: applications with an exceptional rating will not be funded and will be lost to Berlin.
Pot 2 will only be opened if the Foundation raises private funds. Then you get another 50 cents for every euro privately. Raising money in these times is challenging. We consider it a great success that we are still able to do this: the Damp Foundation alone participates in the amount of €3.5 million annually.
Pot 3 is for threatened, persecuted, and refugee scholars: it is always empty. Pot 4 is exclusive to the Einstein Center for the Digital Future, a major research project. Pot 7: Exclusively for another futuristic topic, the Einstein Center for Reducing Animal Experimentation in Research. What all these utensils have in common is that each withdrawal is preceded by an assessment, evaluation and decision-making process by the organisation.
Project development takes time
Two years later, pots 5 and 6, worth 12 million euros, are in our locker, but only the University of Berlin Alliance (BUA) has access to them. The organization’s evaluation procedures result in recommendations, and the BUA decides how the funds will be used. From here, urgently needed funds flow into the state in universities and the Charité Foundation at the end of the year. How is that? Anyone who has gained experience in the field of university management knows that the development of research projects at the level of excellence cannot be subject to the deadlines of the state budget – they must be internationally radioactive, essentially unreconciled on December 31. You need time
This can give the impression that the organization is adequately funded. However, since it only manages these funds without the authority to act, the call for a budget increase is also reasonable. Critical pot 1 is empty, and only with it can the organization fulfill its purpose in the medium term. Initiatives of research groups in areas important to Berlin, such as population diversity, climate change, future urban mobility, cardiovascular precision medicine, single-cell medicine, etc. Regenerative therapy centers, stimulation, neurosciences, etc. are already being funded.
The Berlin government promised additional funding to each of them in the alliance agreement – and for good reason, because the development of Berlin as a science site is a unique and internationally remarkable success story. Humbly: The Einstein Foundation in Berlin plays an important role in this.
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