Charter of the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin

Article 1
Purpose of the Society

(1) The Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (hereinafter referred to as the “Kolleg”) per­forms a service to advanced study by giving recognized academics the opportunity to carry out research of their own choosing in Berlin. It promotes cooperation between researchers, particularly between researchers from different countries and disciplines as well as between these researchers and other figures in intellec­tual life. It gives special emphasis to promoting young researchers.

(2) The Kolleg cultivates relations with its former Fellows and promotes limited-term projects, especially if such projects are connected to former Fellows or serve to attract future Fellows.

Article 2
Name, Seat, Non-Profit Status, Fiscal Year

(1) The Society bears the name “Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin e.V. – Institute for Advanced Study Berlin” and has its seat in Berlin. Its name is entered in the Register of Societies.

(2) The Society is non-profit; it does not primarily pursue economic ends of its own. No person may benefit from outlays which are alien to the purpose of the Society or through disproportionately high payments. The funds must be used solely for purposes that are in accordance with the Charter. The members receive no share of profits and no other payments from the Society’s funds. Resigning members have no claim on the Society’s assets. In the event that the Society is dissolved or its tax-privileged purposes cease, its assets will devolve upon the Ernst Reuter Foun­dation for Advanced Study (hereinafter referred to as the “Foundation”) which must use them directly and exclusively for tax-privileged purposes.

(3) The fiscal year corresponds to the calendar year.

Article 3

(1) Ordinary members of the Society are presidents or chairpersons of the following:

  • Alexander von Humboldt Foundation
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • German Research Association (DFG)
  • Freie Universität Berlin
  • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
  • Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science
  • Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
  • Technische Universität Berlin
  • German Rectors’ Conference and Other Higher Education Institutions in the Federal Republic of Germany
  • German Council of Science and Humanities

Further ordinary members may be admitted by decision of the Members’ Assembly.

(2) The ordinary members pay no contributions.

(3) Members wishing to resign from the Society must submit their notice in writing to the Director. The period of notice is six months before the end of a calendar year.

(4) On recommendation of the Director, the Members’ Assembly has the authority to elect as supporting members any individuals or corporate bodies with legal status who guarantee to make substantial contributions to the Society either on a one-time or regular basis or to support the Society in any other way. Paying members each have an advisory vote in the Members’ Assembly.

Article 4
Organs of the Society

The organs of the Society are the Members’ Assembly, the Director and the Academic Advisory Board.

Article 5
Members’ Assembly

(1) The Members’ Assembly determines the guidelines for the Kolleg’s work. It sets the annual budget. It receives the Director’s annual report and the annual accounts and approves the acts of the Director. It appoints an auditor who examines the annual accounts.

(2) The Members’ Assembly elects the Director, the Academic Advisory Board and the Permanent Fellows (article 9) of the Kolleg in accordance with the following provisions.

(3) The ordinary Members’ Assembly is summoned in writing by the Director to con­vene each year. The invitation to the meeting, together with the agenda, must be sent to the members at least four weeks prior to the meeting itself.

(4) The Director may convene extraordinary Members’ Assemblies in accordance with paragraph 3, sentence 2. He/She is obliged to convene a meeting if one-fifth of the members so request.

(5) The Members’ Assembly elects a chairperson and a secretary to take the minutes of each meeting.

(6) The Members’ Assembly constitutes a quorum if at least one-third of the members are present in person and at least two-thirds of the votes are represented. Resolu­tions should be unanimous and can be passed only with a majority of votes. The same applies to elections. Resolutions adopted in the Members’ Assembly are written down in the minutes of the meeting by the secretary. These minutes are to be undersigned by those mentioned in paragraph 5. Resolutions may be voted upon in writing, providing no member immediately objects.

(7) Ordinary members who are prevented from attending a Members’ Assembly may vote by proxy through another ordinary member. No member may cast more than three votes.

(8) Members of the Academic Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees of the Foun­dation (article 2, paragraph 2) are invited to meetings of the Members’ Assembly. They each have an advisory vote.

Article 6

(1) The Director of the Society is the head of the Kolleg (Rector). In collaboration with the Secretary (article 11), the Director is responsible for the day-to-day business of the Society and for preparing the annual budget.

(2) If the Director is prevented from carrying out the duties of his or her office, he or she is to be represented in academic matters by a Permanent Fellow of the Kolleg who is determined by the Steering Committee (article 9) and in business matters by the Secretary unless the Director himself/herself or the Members’ Assembly provides for another arrangement.

(3) The Director is elected for a period of five years by the Members’ Assembly with agreement of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation (article 2, paragraph 2). The Director cannot be voted out of office except for reasons of a serious nature. Reelection is possible. In consultation with the Board of Trustees, the Members’ Assembly appoints a search committee prior to the election. The chairman of the committee is an ordinary member of the Society. The committee consists of the chairman and an equal number of members from the Academic Advisory Board, from among the Permanent Fellows (article 9) and of scholars from outside the Wissen­schaftskolleg. If the new Director is not elected in time or if the new Director takes up office at a later date, the former Director stays in office for the corre­sponding period.

(4) With his/her election the Director is also appointed as a Permanent Fellow (article 9, paragraph 5); this appointment is not bound up with the duration of his/her tenure as Director. His/Her involvement in the Steering Committee of the Permanent Fellows (article 9) ends with expiration of his/her successor’s tenure.

(5) The Director confers regularly with the other Permanent Fellows regarding the academic work of the Kolleg, the appointment of Fellows and the invitation of guests. His/Her aim should be consensual decisions.

Article 7
Academic Advisory Board

(1) The Academic Advisory Board advises the Director on all academic matters within the Kolleg. The Director consults the Board in particular regarding all candidacies and recommendations for the appointment of Fellows.

(2) The Academic Advisory Board consists of at least six but not more than eighteen German and foreign academics elected by the Members’ Assembly for a period of three years; only one reelection is possible. Members of the Board of Trustees can participate as guests in meetings of the Academic Advisory Board.

(3) Members of the Academic Advisory Board are recommended by the Director and elected by the Members’ Assembly.

(4) Fellows (article 8) of the Kolleg may not be members of the Academic Advisory Board. If a member of the Advisory Board resigns before his/her tenure has expired, a successor is to be appointed for the remaining period of office.

(5) The Academic Advisory Board elects a chairperson from among its members.

(6) Meetings of the Academic Advisory Board are to be convened by the Director
in accordance with article 5, paragraph 3, sentence 2. The Permanent Fellows (article 9) of the Kolleg as well as the Secretary may attend the meetings unless the Board decides otherwise; they each have an advisory vote. Minutes are to be taken of the meetings. There may be written ballots for resolutions in accordance with article 5, paragraph 6, sentence 4.

(7) Membership on the Academic Advisory Board is honorary.

Article 8

(1) Established researchers or other figures from intellectual life may be appointed Fellows of the Kolleg depending on the number of places available. They are not members of the Society in the sense of article 3.

(2) The Rector generally appoints Fellows for a period of ten months, except where article 9 applies.

(3) Appointments will take into account the international nature of scholars’ research and the diversity of their subject matter. The aim is also to achieve a balance between younger and older researchers as well as between men and women.

(4) The Rector discusses intended appointments with the Permanent Fellows (article 9). The Academic Advisory Board will offer its own comments.

(5) The Fellows are not subject to any directives regarding their work at the Kolleg.

(6) The Fellows are to live and work in Berlin. As far as means permit, the Kolleg will provide them with facilities, and funding for research trips and assistants. Funds may be provided by the Kolleg to pay them a salary (grant) and/or compen­sation for the costs they incur during their stay in Berlin. Agreements on this matter are to be settled with the Rector and put in writing.

Article 9
Permanent Fellows

(1) Scholars can be appointed for five years by the Members’ Assembly on recommen­dation of the Director, after the Academic Advisory Board and the Board of Trustees (article 2, paragraph 2) have expressed their views. They are called Permanent Fellows. Reappointment is possible.

(2) The primary responsibility of those who are appointed Permanent Fellows of the Kolleg is to pursue their chosen research in Berlin and to help the Wissenschafts­kolleg to fulfill its stated task. Material conditions are agreed to in accordance with article 8.

(3) Non-residential Permanent Fellows are released from the obligation of residing in Berlin. Their primary responsibility is to cooperate in the Kolleg’s research work (article 6, paragraph 4). A payment agreement with them determines what remu­neration they will receive for this cooperation and the extent to which they will pursue their own research at the Kolleg.

(4) The Permanent Fellows jointly constitute the Steering Committee of the Kolleg. In particular, in accordance with article 6, paragraph 5, they advise the Director in all questions of scholarly work and in the appointment of Fellows (in accordance with article 8, paragraph 4).

(5) With his/her election the Director is appointed a Permanent Fellow indefinitely. His/Her involvement in the Steering Committee ends with conclusion of his/her successor’s tenure as Director.

Article 10

The Rector may invite guests to the Kolleg for short stays of up to six months. Paragraphs 3, 5 and 6 of article 8 apply to them.

Article 11

(1) The Secretary is appointed by the Members’ Assembly on recommendation of the Rector. The position is full-time. He/She must have completed a university degree.

(2) The Secretary carries out the administrative business of the Kolleg on his/her own responsibility in accordance with the Rector’s guidelines. He/She prepares the meetings of the Kolleg’s organs and committees and carries out their resolutions.

Article 12
Final Provisions

(1) This Charter takes effect on 11 June 1980. Insofar as individual provisions require the agreement or participation of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation (article 2, paragraph 2) for resolutions or committees, these come into effect on the day following the establishment of the Foundation.

(2) Amendments to the Charter require unanimous agreement of the Members’ As­sem­bly. They require the agreement of the Board of Trustees of the Founda­tion.

(3) In the event that the Society is dissolved, paragraph 2 applies.

Reworded on July 14, 2017; last amended on July 6, 2018.