Fotoauftrag fürs Radheft. Es ist die Aufschlag-Reportage für den Tourenteil. In dem Text geht es um Berliner Industriekultur- Schöneweide: Außenaufnahmen HTW, Foto: Kai-Uwe Heinrich

Something is happening with the right to award doctorates at universities of applied sciences – also in Berlin. This is shown by the response of the science administration to a request from the CDU MP Adrian Grasse, the spokesman for university policy for his group in the House of Representatives. The talks between the university management and the responsible state secretary should start at the end of August.

The basis is the Berlin Higher Education Act, which was amended almost a year ago, according to which universities of applied sciences are given the independent right to award doctorates in research environments “in which they have demonstrated sufficient research strength over a period of several years”. However, there is still no legal regulation about how this should be done.

The universities presented key points for this in February, but then heard nothing from the Senate for months. In June, they announced their own draft ordinance. So now we are talking to each other – and also about the Kooperative Promotionszentrum Berlin, which, according to the current university contracts, universities and technical colleges should have set up a long time ago in order to systematically get joint doctorates off the ground.

However, there was no money for this from the Senate for a long time. The reason: There was a “considerable need for coordination” about the financial requirements, as stated in the answer to the request. In the double budget 2022/23, which has now been released after a budget freeze, funds for the doctoral center with an office at the Technical University are provided for the first time – one million euros a year – and now apparently also a new purpose.

When asked by Adrian Grasse how the independent FH doctoral law would affect the joint supervision of doctoral theses with university professors, he replied: “It should also be considered here whether the Cooperative Doctoral Center should also be involved in the implementation of the universities’ own doctoral law for applied sciences should have a function.”

It could go in the direction of a doctoral college like in North Rhine-Westphalia (PK NRW), comments Grasse to the Tagesspiegel.

There, it is not individual universities that are given the right to award doctorates, but rather the college where FH graduates conduct research and write doctoral theses “in structured programs and with the support of experienced professors”. The Science Council recently gave a positive evaluation of this approach. He recommended granting the PK NRW the right to award doctorates.

Grasse criticizes the fact that many questions remain unanswered in Berlin, for example when it comes to the previously unclear concept of research strength.