Independent research groups have been started as an additional structural element in 2015 based on a recommendation from the Evaluation in 2012. Groups have been established in a stepwise manner to provide a nursing ground for young, capable scientists, in order to promote their professional careers and to provide scientific space and freedom to operate outside the departments to develop scientific fields and themes that might turn relevant for the research agenda of the Institute at later stages.
Independent research groups are either funded by grants/fellowships or through the core budget of the Institute. In case of extramural funding, the lifetime of an independent group is limited by the duration of the grant/fellowship. Internally funded groups are supported for two times three years. The prolongation after the first term is dependent on the positive evaluation by the Scientific Advisory Board.
Independent research groups report once a year to the board of directors, to review scientific progress and to identify needs for individual coaching or support. To support communication and to provide assistance at the operational level, individual groups have selected a department to be associated with. At present, the Institute hosts four independent research groups, with another group being scheduled to start in 2021.