Photo Credit: AiF | AdobeStock thodonal
At the AiF (Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen / Federation of Industrial Research Associations), around 200 honorary experts ensure that only the best projects in open-themed Industrial Collective Research (IGF) are funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK).
As part of the evaluation process, they examine the IGF project applications, particularly with regard to the degree of innovation and the economic benefit for small and medium-sized enterprises. The practical relevance and practical orientation of the projects are of great importance, because the results should contribute to maintaining and increasing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises in particular. For this reason, the expert committees are made up of equal numbers of representatives from science and industry. Prerequisites for taking on this honorary office are extensive scientific expertise and experience in the field of practice-oriented research.
The expert reviewers, who are divided into 24 subject areas, organise themselves into seven reviewer groups (GAG) and undertake to comply with the Code of Conduct for Reviewers. These rules serve to ensure the neutrality of the reviewer system, which is the central element of an effective IGF.
Every three years, the AiF holds regular elections for expert reviewers, as they did recently in 2021. A total of 400 candidates were nominated: 238 from science, 162 from industry. Statistically speaking, there were just under two candidates for each of the 206 reviewer positions to be filled in the current election. This shows how attractive this voluntary task is, as it gives experts a deep insight into current development trends.
72 members (32 science / 40 business) were newly elected to the future expert groups, which corresponds to a share of 35.0 percent. Of these, 48 members (16 science / 32 business) were nominated for the first time. 13.1 percent of the elected expert reviewers are women. In the election three years ago, the proportion of elected women was 11.6 percent.
The candidates who were not elected have been asked to make themselves available as special expert reviewers for occasional written statements to supplement the votes of the expert groups in specialised subject areas as needed. In this way, no expertise is lost in the AiF's innovation network.
In order to gain a comprehensive picture of the IGF review process and its funding options, all reviewers have the opportunity to attend seminars in January and February.
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