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3 December 2001

Incentive Budgeting at the University of Heidelberg

Green light University Council for new budgeting model — Incentives for departments: resource allocation coupled to performance — Central element of the "Impulse" budget reform process — In force as of 1 January 2002

The new budgeting model in operation at the University of Heidelberg as of next year is explicitly geared to providing incentives for excellence in teaching and research. "In future, a department may legitimately expect to find good performance reflected in the resources placed at its disposal," declared rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff. This is the logical consequence of the new budgeting model adopted by the University Council and due to come into force as of January 2002.

Three components

The new model for performance-oriented resource allocation has three components, explains former vice-rector Prof. Dr. Heinz Horner, who had a major hand in devising it.

  • First, a base component "roughly covering the basics required to cater for a department's needs," as Horner puts it. One central criterion for the actual sum involved is the number of professors a department has.
  • Second, a factor component, determined by certain key figures, including the number of students in a department and the number of exams taken. The research side is taken account of by including such things as procurement of external funding and the number of doctoral degrees and Habilitations.
  • The third component is a speciality of the Heidelberg model. Called the "negotiable" component, it allows for consideration of performance criteria not covered by the factor component, for example publications or a good showing in evaluations of research and teaching. Other things that may qualify for consideration in negotiations between a department and the University bodies responsible for resource allocation are the establishment of new courses or plans for new research ventures.

The model was approved with a large majority by the Senate in September and has now passed the University Council stage. "As far as I know," says Horner, "it is the only internal university budgeting model to have got through the approval stage so quickly. At other universities the process took months, sometimes years." As of 2002 the model will form the basis for negotiations with all newly appointed professors.

An important stage in the Impulse project

With the new model the University has implemented an important element of the "Impulse" reform project. The aim of "Impulse", funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, is to optimise the use of funds via "decentralised resource management". Responsibility for resources now rests squarely with the departments themselves, on the principle that they know best how to deploy their resources efficiently. The new model is an important step in this direction.

Christian Deutsch

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 12.12.2001


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