Internationalisation of science and research
In Germany, junior researchers will find it easier in future to network with international colleagues. Science centres, which the German government is planning to set up around the world, will also contribute to the attractiveness of Germany as a science location. With the “Strategy on the Internationalisation of Science and Research of the German Government”, the German Federal Cabinet decided on 20th February 2008 to initiate the establishment of worldwide German science centres.
The German government hopes that the proposed concept will strengthen Germany’s role in the global knowledge society. Research institutions such as the Max Planck Society and funding institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) will have a joint presence in the new science centres.
The improved education of junior scientists will also contribute to the better positioning of German science. In particular, it is hoped that German researchers will be able to work in cooperation with the best scientists worldwide. As a result of the strategy, national and international funding programmes will therefore be more closely linked.
In addition, it is hoped that the programme will lead to fewer highly qualified scientists moving abroad, and encourage scientists who are working abroad to return to Germany.
International research dialogue
Another goal of the “new foreign policy” is to encourage scientists from around the world to come to Germany. After the USA and Great Britain, Germany is the most sought-after country for young scientists. In 2006, 9.5 per cent of all students in Germany were from abroad. It is estimated that the worldwide number of students studying abroad will increase from 1.8 million in 2000 to 7.2 million in 2025. This is also an excellent opportunity for Germany that has to be used to the full.
The German government hopes that attractive study programmes will encourage students and researchers to study and work in Germany. Christina Beck, spokesperson of the Max Planck Society: “60 per cent of all PhD students at the International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) are from abroad, i.e. from 85 different countries. The IMPRS are regarded as a role model for the internationally oriented promotion of junior researchers.”
Scientists who will subsequently return to their home countries are important mediators between different countries. It is hoped that they will continue working with German researchers after their return to their native countries.
Science centres around the world
Concrete plans already exist for Moscow and Delhi. There are also ideas on how to jointly present science and culture as part of the Goethe Institute in Tokyo. And there are ideas to establish similar science centres in India, China and South Korea. But there are also plans to establish science centres in some African, Latin American and Asian countries sometime in the future.
With the establishment of these science centres, Germany also makes a contribution to the economic and social development of these countries. It is hoped that this will also lead to joint initiatives in the field of climate change and energy efficiency.
International economic networking
For the high-tech-based and research-intensive German industry working in cooperation with the most innovative research and development centres worldwide is indispensable. That is why the Strategy on the Internationalisation of Science and Research also targets the knowledge transfer between public research institutions, universities and companies. In addition, it is hoped that the strategy will encourage foreign investments in research and development in Germany.
International research agenda
Minister Schavan hopes that an “international research agenda” will coordinate and control the numerous research activities. The Federal Ministry of Research and Education is therefore campaigning on international boards for the joint resolution of common issues and problems, for example with relation to topics such as infectious diseases, climate change, energy efficiency or migration.
Source: German government - 20.02.08