The project house “Interdisciplinary Management Factory” (IMF) has been initiated under the Institutional Strategy of the RWTH Aachen and aims to support the transformation of the School of Business and Economics into an internationally competitive institution for interdisciplinary, technology-oriented research in management and economics. One measure to achieve this objective is the funding of IMF Pathfinder Projects which explore new ideas.
The selection of the funded projects is based on the following process and principles:
Code of Conduct
Excellence: The aim of the project evaluation is to judge the scientific excellence of the proposal.
Absence of bias: All applications are assessed equally.
Transparency: Nominations for funding follow a standardized assessment process. Applicants receive feedback on the results of the evaulation.
Quality: The review process is conducted following high quality standards, comparable to other national and review processes.
Confidentiality: All proposals and the knowledge, data, and documents contained therein will be kept in the strictest confidentiality.
Ethics and Integrity: Proposals which fall short of the University's ethical standards will not be considered.
The criteria for the selection of the projects, derived from the goals of the measure, are originality, interdisciplinary, subsidiarity, team structure, relevance or respectively the potential impact on the research strategy and structure of RWTH Aachen, adequateness of research approach and the research plan.
The IMF-Management Team will decide about the calls for project-proposals with a possible thematic priority, about the designated budget and the evaluation criteria. The rectorate will be informed timely about the planned calls. Calls are published at least eight weeks before the submission deadline in an email to all RWTH professors.
Submission of the proposals
Proposals should be submitted by email to the in the call stated address and will be accepted up to the deadline which is also defined in the call. The receipt of the proposal will be confirmed shortly after from the Management Team. A hardcopy is not necessary.
Review of the proposals and funding decision
Review / Evaluation Process
First, the IMF Management Team will check whether the application for the funding fulfills formal criteria. In this context, interdisciplinary is of particular importance, i.e. at least two disciplines / faculties have to contribute (not service contractor) to the research projects.
At least two supervisors from the IMF Selection Group will be assigned to the proposals which fulfill the formal criteria. The chosen supervisors are expected to be unbiased, and they should have a background in a field which is closely related to that of the assigned project.
The supervisors from the IMF Selection Group name in mutual consultation possible reviewers from the research area of the project and ensure a reliable and comprehensive assessment. Each project will be assessed by at least two advisory opinions.
The reviewers, who work in an honorary capacity, are expected to be recognized experts in their field whose broad knowledge of the field enables them adequately to assess the proposal in question. We are at pains to make sure that the reviewers are neither prejudiced nor biased, e.g. due to collaboration, competition, or e.g. a former mentor-mentee relationship. Applicants have the opportunity to reject reviewers for good reason. Project proposals with a volume of up to 25.000 € will be evaluated in a university-internal review process.
Reviewers will make use of a standardized questionnaire to evaluate the proposals. Selection criteria are originality, interdisciplinary, subsidiarity (here: the project does not stand any chance of receiving funding from other sources), team structure, relevance to and impact on RWTH’s strategic plan, scientific approach, and research plan.
The IMF Management Team collects the anonymized reviews and creates an overview of all evaluations. The IMF Selection Group draws on these anonymous evaluations when deliberating on which projects are to be recommended for funding.
Funding recommendation and approval by the rectorate
The IMF supervisor board discusses all projects on the basis of the anonymized reviews and classifies the proposals into three categories: fund with high priority (dark green), fund (light green) and do not fund (red). In cases at stake more reviewers will be requested. IMF endeavors to fund all “dark green” projects within the given budget – if needed by cutting the funds of a project in a reasonable way. Besides this the IMF also creates funding recommendations for a possible extended budget. The rectorate receives the proposals and the funding recommendations for the extended budget and decides subsequently about the funding and the budget.
Selection of Reviewers
When selecting reviewers for the evaluation process, the IMF Selection Committee not only seeks to chose experts in the respective research areas, but also tries to make sure, as far as possible, to exclude bias – both positive and negative – on the part of the reviewers. The reviewers, who work in an honorary capacity, are expected to be recognized experts in their field whose broad knowledge of the field enables them adequately to assess the proposal in question. We are at pains to make sure that the reviewers are neither prejudiced nor biased, e.g. due to collaboration, competition, or e.g. a former mentor-mentee relationship. Applicants have the opportunity to reject reviewers for good reason. There is no permanent group of reviewers from which the project reviewers are selected; reviewers are individually selected according to the requirements of the individual project proposal.
The reviewers agree to hold the proposals in the strictest confidentiality and do not pass them on to third parties. Furthermore, the IMF Management Team treats the evaluations in strict confidentiality. The names of the reviewers are only known to the project supervisors from the IMF Selection Committee and the IMF Management Team. Only anonymized excerpts from proposal evaluations will be discussed during the selection process.
Notification (rejection / assurance)
The applicants will be informed about the funding decision as soon as possible via email. If the proposal is accepted the email contains information about the amount of funding, duration, possible conditions or requirements for the funding as well as information about the account setup and the publication of the project funding at the homepage. In case of rejection the applicants will be informed about the main reasons for the rejection and possibly accompanied by recommendations for a future proposal.
Publication of the funded projects
All funded IMF-Projects will be published with project name and name of the project manager on the RWTH homepage of the Excellence Initiative (http://www.rwth-aachen.de/cms/root/Forschung/Einrichtungen/Projekthaeuser/~dahr/IMF/Projekthaus%20IMF). University internally also short descriptions of the funded projects are available.
Budget planning, appropriation of funds and account setup
For the granted projects the project leader will prepare financial plans, from which it is apparent which amounts will be applied at the respective legal year from which partner. Those plans are the basis for the superior planning of the IMF cash outflows. The information will be passed on the ZHV requesting the account creation. The ZHV creates for the involved partners third party accounts, informs the partners and passes on the data for the LOM, respectively internally for the third-party funding statistics of the professors.
During the project period the management teams stays informed of the progress of the funded projects, supports the project leaders with questions and problems and gives feedback to the IMF-administration.
Reports and evaluation
Three month as well as 18 months after project closure a short report on the basis of submittals for the project results is expected, which will be evaluated by the IMF management team.
The report should focus on concrete measures and measurable successes in the promotion of interdisciplinary collaboration (publications, third party funding, etc.).