Since the launch of the first ‘Framework Programme for Empirical Educational Research’ in 2007, the Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) had spent around 183 million euros on research projects by the end of 2019. The first Framework Programme contributed significantly to advancing empirical educational research in Germany: The number of professorial chairs with a focus on empirical educational research has grown. German educational research has become more visible in the international arena and increasingly interdisciplinary. The perpetuation of the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) as an independent institute in the Leibniz Association is an example of successful support for research infrastructure. This has created an outstanding database for the analysis of educational trajectories. And quite notably, the researchers in the funded projects have developed valuable descriptive, explanatory and actionable knowledge – and in many cases also elaborated this in handouts and practical guides for educational practice.
The current Framework Programme builds on these and other successes, and it aims to further develop the knowledge base as well as existing approaches and structures. The cornerstone of the Programme is its focus on current education policy challenges. The research results are designed to help meet these challenges. To achieve this, research funding in the Framework Programme focuses on scientific excellence and rigorous methodological standards. The funded research examines the prerequisites, conditions and processes of education, as well as the effects of what educational opportunities are on offer. It leads to empirically validated, generalisable findings and provides access to these findings for policymakers, practitioners in the education system and interested members of the general public. It combines basic research with application-oriented research and characteristically focuses on problem-solving. The prerequisite for this is that the relevant experts from educational practice, policy, administration and research enter into dialogue with each other from the very beginning.
The BMBF appointed an advisory committee for a four-year period from 2016–2020 as part of the development of the Framework Programme for Empirical Educational Research. The committee was made up of stakeholders from education research, practice and administration and collaborated in an advisory capacity on the design of the Framework Programme. This included supporting the BMBF in identifying and prioritising new research needs and reflecting on the research findings.