Germany announces 3% annual increase in research funding for the next decade

Germany announces 3% annual increase in research funding for the next decade

German state and federal ministers have announced a 3% increase per year in research budgets for the next decade, which amounts to a total of €17 billion. As reported in Science, since 2006, there has been an increase in Germany’s research spending. However, some researchers feared that economic fluctuations owing to decreasing tax revenues and lack of agreement between the federal and state ministers could end the boosts in the research budgets. Reacting to the announcement, Matthias Kleiner, president of the Leibniz Association (a union of more than 90 German research institutions), said, “It’s a huge relief.” The news is “an extraordinarily positive and encouraging signal for science,” he added.

Under the latest budget, research organizations including the Max Planck Society and the grant agency German Research Foundation as well as universities and technical schools will enjoy a significant increase in their spending till 2027. Additionally, two new Max Planck institutes will be set up, the Institute for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection and the Institute for the Biology of Behavior (which was earlier part of the Institute for Ornithology). Along with that, the Leibniz Association will also establish two institutes, namely, The German Resilience Center and the Center for Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe.

An important aspect of the budget agreement was the negotiation between the federal and the state governments regarding who will bear the cost of the budget boosts. Reportedly, the federal government has been shouldering the budget boosts, and insisted that the state governments must share the responsibility of the budget rise. It was decided that the balance in the share of budget increases will be restored over a period of 10 years.

 As a result of the budget expansion, research institutions will be subject to an increased number of yearly evaluations as well as a full evaluation in five years. “It will be a chance to make sure the organizations are on track to meet the goals they set—and refocus if necessary,” said Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research. Welcoming the evaluations, Kleiner added, “We have to accept that we can show we are using the money wisely.” 

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders are likely to approve the budget on June 6.

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