The administration of the MPIMG secures smooth operations and stable infrastructures for the institute. Besides the core administrative tasks like personnel and accounting, the administration takes care of purchasing and of all financial aspects of national and international grants. Researchers receive support in legal questions pertaining to technology transfer and patenting. This, like many other issues, is dealt with in close cooperation with the respective departments of Max Planck Headquarters in Munich.
The budget of the MPIMG comes to a large proportion from the Max Planck Society. In addition, researchers bring in substantial amounts of external funding from sources like BMBF, DFG, or the European Commission. Since
2010, funding has been gradually decreased due to the upcoming retirement of Hans Lehrach and H.-Hilger Ropers in 2014. Over the same period, there has been a considerable increase in prices and salaries, which has been covered only partially by adjustments in the budget. Like in many other research labs, the institute’s energy expenses have grown to more than 1.5 million EUR p.a., which is an increase of more than 90 % since 2004. Furthermore, a growing share of cost contribution from the institute is being expected for formerly centrally funded independent research groups, Max Planck Research Schools, technology platforms and basic services such as e-journals. Likewise, the institute has had to complement the budget provided centrally for the upkeep of its buildings for the last two years.
Considering the legal framework, without the selective liberation measures of the last few years such as global budgets, the omission of staff appointment schemes, etc., the institute would not have been able to cope with fast-changing demands. Very positive experiences have been had with a clause of the public procurement law adopted in 2010, which allows procurement of scientific goods without open competitive bidding. Thanks to this clause, bureaucracy has been reduced considerably. Another positive example is the possibility to award additional bonuses for scientists and technical staff. Due to that regulation, the institute is able to successfully compete in hiring qualified staff. Unfortunately, the administrative and technical service units are still not eligible. This causes growing problems since salary levels outside the public sector are significantly higher for similar job specifications.
In contrast to those important facilitations, there is an increasing obligation for detailed reporting and capacious documentation of many facts and procedures. A prominent example is the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission with e.g. documented costs for single experiments or time sheets to report on „non-productive times“. In a similar manner, auditing and financial authorities construe legal provisions increasingly narrowly. The partial omission of the allowance to deduct input VAT for the Max Planck Society in 2008 is a striking example. The institute is looking forward to the draft “law on the freedom of science” (Wissenschaftsfreiheitsgesetz), which has recently been passed by the Federal Government and is intended to provide further flexibility and autonomy in the management of government-financed research institutions.
Concerning the personnel policy, one recent topic has been the performance- related payments as required by the collective labour agreement for the federal public service (Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst, TVöD). In 2010, an agreement was reached for the Max Planck Society between the joint workers council and the management as a prerequisite for the distribution of the additional bonuses. Separate from performance reviews as a basis for additional bonuses, the management of the institute is engaged in establishing formal annual appraisal meetings. The main intent is to evaluate career opportunities for temporary employed staff as well as to improve working conditions for individuals.
The institute’s efforts in vocational training have resulted in eight graduations since 2009, thereof six animal keepers and two IT specialists for application development/software development. For the coming year, the administrative and technical services will engage again in vocational training.