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19.12.2014 | KPMG Law Insights

EU funds top young scientists with a total of 485 million euros

Dear Readers,

pre-Christmas cheer is likely to come especially to young scientists and founders. The EU is extremely generous with its Starting Grants, which provide considerable support for top young scientists throughout Europe. Read our report from Brussels.

There will also be no shortage of funding for the EXIST start-up scholarship and research transfer programs: the conditions for founders will be significantly improved in the future. In addition, in the middle of this month, the federal and state governments finally reached a decision on the continuation of the Higher Education Pact, the Pact for Research and Innovation, and the Excellence Initiative.

In addition, we have summarized for you the case law of the Constitutional Court of Baden-Württemberg on the use of sample solutions in the assessment of examination results. Under the heading “Procurement Law” you will find guidance on how to deal with deadlines in connection with bidder information during the Christmas period.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2015.

Sincerely yours

Public Sector Team of KPMG Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH

Mathias Oberndörfer, Attorney at Law

Dr. Anke Empting, Attorney at Law

EU funds leading young scientists

The EU Commission’s press release of December 15, 2014 shows: The EU is once again extremely generous to top scientists this year.

The decision on funding lies with the European Research Council (ERC). The specific funding is called “Starting Grants” and this year will go to 328 selected top scientists of 38 different nationalities. The institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany are in pole position with 70 funding agreements. Remarkably, the average age of the selected researchers is about 35.

The grants are set at a total of 485 million euros. The aim is to support a new generation of scientists in Europe who are conducting high-risk yet high-reward research projects in a wide range of fields. This includes research on the origins of human reason.

 

Continuation of the three major pacts decided

The decision by the German Chancellor and the heads of government on December 11, 2014, has sealed the deal: The three major science pacts, namely the Higher Education Pact, the Pact for Research and Innovation and the Excellence Initiative, will be continued.

Higher Education Pact:

The federal and state governments plan to jointly fund about 760,000 additional study opportunities by 2020 (based on 2005 levels). Over the total period from 2007 to 2023, the federal government will provide a total of 20.3 billion euros and the states 18.3 billion euros. As a result, universities should be able to admit about 37 percent more freshmen. It will continue to be possible to request the program allowance from the German Research Foundation until 2020.

Pact for Research and Innovation:

The non-university research organizations Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Helmholtz Association, Leibniz Association and Max Planck Society will receive an annual increase in their basic funding of three percent, totaling 3.9 billion euros, from the federal government until 2020.

Excellence Initiative:

The federal and state governments intend to continue to provide at least the same level of funding for excellent cutting-edge research at universities after 2017.

 

EXIST goes into the extension

Founders can also rejoice: The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is improving the conditions from the EXIST funding programs Gründerstipendium and Forschungstransfer. The EXIST start-up grant, which is intended to help founders cover their living expenses during the preliminary and start-up phases, will be increased for the first time since 2007, by 25 percent. Investment funds in the EXIST research transfer program will be more than tripled. The new funding guidelines will apply for the next seven years.

Sample solutions do not necessarily represent “best performance

Sample solutions are admittedly a practical aid for examiners when evaluating in examination procedures. However, they are not binding, neither for examiners nor for examinees. And they do not necessarily represent “best performances” either, according to the Administrative Court of Baden-Württemberg in its decision of October 30, 2014 (Case No. 9 S 279/14). Sample solutions therefore do not release the examiner from his duty to individually assess the aspects and thoughts raised by the examinee. According to the court, the non-binding character of the solution sketches does not change even if the examiner has prepared them himself. “Pattern solution” was not synonymous with “pattern-valid” processing.

 

“Every year again”: Caution with bidding information at Christmas and Easter

If the contracting authority chooses the time for sending the fax bidder information in such a way that the period for submitting a request for review is reduced from ten to effectively three days due to a public holiday, the contracting authority is precluded from invoking a breach of the obligation to give notice of defects, according to the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (decision of November 5, 2014 – Verg 20/14).

Contracting authorities are therefore recommended to sufficiently take into account holidays within the standstill period as well as weekends in order to ensure a reasonable period for reviewing the award decision for the bidders. Otherwise, clients run the risk of provoking requests for review and associated project delays.

Information paper on the reform of public procurement law

News in brief

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is planning a comprehensive modernization of public procurement law and has presented an information paper on this subject. This was triggered by the three new EU public procurement directives, which must be transposed into German law by the end of April 2016. The key points of this reform are to be approved by the cabinet this year following coordination within the federal government.

Countries react to ECJ ruling on award-specific minimum wage

In its ruling of September 18, 2014 (C – 549/13), the ECJ found that the obligation to pay a minimum wage in accordance with the requirements of the member state (in this case: Tariftreue- und Vergabegesetz NRW) to companies that operate exclusively outside Germany violates the freedom to provide services. In the meantime, several German states have taken measures to ensure that their collective bargaining and public procurement laws are applied in compliance with European law.

In addition to circulars with guidelines on the application of the minimum wage in line with European law, the state governments also provide updated sample declarations on their websites. Furthermore, the states announce that they will revise their laws as part of the upcoming evaluation.

 

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Mathias Oberndörfer

Geschäftsführer
Mitglied des Vorstands Service Tax - KPMG AG Wirt­schafts­prüfungs­gesell­schaft

Theodor-Heuss-Straße 5
70174 Stuttgart

tel: +49 711 781923410
moberndoerfer@kpmg-law.com

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