Berlin legislation to strengthen science: what is changing now for Berlin’s universities and technical colleges

Berlin legislation to strengthen science: what is changing now for Berlin's universities and technical colleges

The Berlin Higher Education Act has a new name – and it is likely to be controversial, at least in university administration. The “Law to Strengthen Berlin Science” was passed on Thursday evening in a second reading with votes for a red-red-green government coalition in the House of Representatives.

The State Conference of Rectors and Presidents (LKRP) warned of a weakening of the scientific landscape since the first draft of the amendment. Threatening “a drastic reduction in their productivity”, Berlin’s route to a scientific space of international importance is “in question”.

The widespread criticism was primarily aimed at reforming the “trial clause”, which has allowed universities to try new management models and thus simplified the decision-making process for more than 20 years. In the new “innovation clause,” it applies to fewer paragraphs of the University Act – and academic senators would have to agree.

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Some of the university’s points of political controversy

The coalitionists haven’t changed anything, and any last-minute amendments made by the CDU and FDP haven’t helped either. However, beyond this rather abstract problem, the reform now adopted version provides further concrete points of friction that are likely to occupy higher education policy in the coming years.

Science policy spokeswoman for the SPD, Ina Sibora, was already in a festive mood on her way to the House of Representatives that morning. “In dress in the House of Representatives to pass legislation to strengthen Berlin science,” she tweeted – accompanied by a portrait in a red blazer and dress.

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