Quality assurance

Carefully coordinated and attuned quality assurance instruments ensure that the fun­ding programs of the Elite Network of Bavaria retain the same consistently high quality. Two high-level bodies, the International Commission and the Advisory Board, oversee and support funding programs’ quality assurance measures with regard to their con­tent and methodology.

Demanding evaluations that ensure quality

Elite Graduate Pro­grams and Doctorate Pro­grams realized under the umbrella of the Elite Net­work of Bavaria are evaluated at regular intervals by expert committees made up of pre-eminent figures. Each committee is composed of an International Commission mem­ber specialized in the respective dis­ci­pline as well as a range of external ex­perts.

In these assessments, particular emphasis is placed on evaluating the continued quality of individual pro­grams in reference to the edu­ca­tion given to students and doctoral re­se­archers. A peer-review procedure is used to carry out the assessments.

The results of the committees’ assessments form the basis for the Inter­national Com­mit­tee’s recommendations to the State Ministry of Science and the Arts regarding the pro­grams’ continued funding. Following the total funding period of ten years, universities can continue to offer Elite Gra­duate Pro­grams under the umbrella of the Elite Net­work of Bavaria, initially for two further five-year periods, provided that they cover the funding requirements. During this ex­ten­sion period, Elite Graduate Pro­grams continue to be sub­ject to the Elite Net­work’s quality checks.

Wanted: our members’ opinions

In addition to expert assessments, member surveys are another im­por­tant component of our quality assurance system. These surveys not only collect the opinions of current ‘ac­tive’ members but also gather feedback from the Elite Network’s alumni. 

The feedback that students and doctoral researchers in our Network provide regarding their experiences of their Elite Graduate Pro­gram or Doctorate Pro­gram, as well as their expectations of the pro­grams and whether they have been met, provides in­di­ca­tions as to how we can further optimize our funding lines. The experiences of scholarship holders provide the Advisory Board with the impetus to make re­com­men­da­tions to the Ba­va­ri­an State Ministry of Science and the Arts regarding the future development of the Max Weber Pro­gram and the Marianne-Plehn-Pro­gram. The survey of our alumni, con­duc­ted once every two years, allows us to integrate the experiences of people who have suc­cess­ful­ly completed and benefited from one of our funding pro­grams in order to im­pro­ve our offering.

Providing the best possible support for tal­ented young students and researchers also means analysing the structural framework conditions that underpin our funding pro­grams. To this end, the Heads of Elite Graduate Pro­grams, International Doctorate Pro­grams and Junior Research Groups produce interim reports on a regular basis.

Full-scale evaluations examining the Network as a whole

The full-scale evaluation of the Elite Network of Bavaria allows us both to examine the quality and attraction of our funding pro­grams and to consider potential methods to develop them further. Every seven years, the Elite Network of Bavaria submits itself to a full-scale evaluation by a Commission of renowned experts.

The first such evaluation took place in 2010. On that occasion, the professors in the top-class expert Commission led by Prof. Elmar W. Weiler, then the Rector of the Ruhr University Bochum, concluded that the Elite Network of Bavaria is an “excellent in­sti­tu­tion which the Free State [of Bavaria] should firmly maintain and expand wherever possible.”

The Commission considers the Elite Network of Bavaria to be utterly exemplary in terms of support for gifted and elite students, and congratulates the Free State of Bavaria on this outstanding program.

Summary of the Commission report for the second full-scale evaluation

The outcome of the second full-scale evalu­a­tion, conducted in 2017, was also extremely positive. In its final report, the Commission led by Prof. Birgitta Wolff, President of the Goethe University of Frankfurt, concluded: “The Commission considers the Elite Net­work of Bavaria to be utterly exemplary in terms of support for gifted and elite students, and congratulates the Free State of Bavaria on this outstanding program. The Free State of Bavaria has hereby set clearly visible milestones in the academic landscape.”