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Guideline 3

Organisational responsibility of heads of research institutions

The heads of HEIs and non-HEI research institutions create the basic framework for research. They are responsible for ensuring adherence to and the promotion of good practice, and for appropriate career support for all researchers. The heads of research institutions guarantee the necessary conditions to enable researchers to comply with legal and ethical standards. The basic framework includes clear written policies and procedures for staff selection and development as well as for early career support and equal opportunity.


The head of each HEI and non-HEI research institution is responsible for ensuring that an appropriate organisational structure is in place at the institution. He or she makes certain that the tasks of leadership, supervision, quality assurance and conflict management are clearly allocated in accordance with the size of individual research work units and suitably communicated to members and employees.

With regard to staff selection and development, due consideration is given to gender equality and diversity. The relevant processes are transparent and avoid implicit bias as much as possible. Suitable supervisory structures and policies are established for early career researchers. Honest career advice, training opportunities and mentoring are offered to researchers and research support staff.

Diversity in the research system

Excellent science needs a diversity of perspectives and experiences. Diversity refers to the dimensions of difference between individuals, including researchers. In German texts, the DFG uses the terms Diversität, Vielfältigkeit and Diversity synonymously. In addition to sex and/or gender, it includes other dimensions such as age, ethnic origin and nationality, sexual orientation, religion and ideology, disability or chronic/long-term illness as well as social origin (e.g. economic situation, non-academic family background, migration history).*

In addition to their subject-specific training, people working in science and the humanities always contribute a unique perspective to the research system and to research questions and their solutions based on their life experience and diverse backgrounds. Diverse working groups in science and the humanities can have a positive impact on the quality of research and research results. Providing the appropriate framework conditions are created, diversity thus has the capacity to add value in terms of excellent research.**

No one should be prevented from pursuing an academic career because of factors unrelated to science.

In addition to the point made above regarding the diversity of those conducting research, aspects of diversity can also be relevant to the design of research and influence the quality of research results.

The comment belongs to the following categories:

GL3 (General)