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joint statement

Press Release No. 10 | 26 February 2007
Optimism Rather Than Despair

Expert Meeting on German-Russian Scientific Exchange

Joint Press Release by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

Badly equipped laboratories, low and unpaid salaries, migration to the west - for a long time, bad news has figured largely in the image of research in Russia. But now a feeling of optimism prevails. New science foundations have appeared on the scene and are supporting not only Russian scientists working at home, but also the international mobility of Russian researchers. In doing so, they are increasingly cooperating as equal partners with western foundations and research organisations and are providing new impulses to the European research landscape.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation will discuss the background and prospects for strengthened German-Russian scientific exchange at an upcoming expert meeting. Participants will include more than 35 representatives from politics, research funding and science, in particular the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and other partners from selected German-Russian research collaborations. The reception speaker will be Gernot Erler, Minister of State at the German Foreign Office.

One of the main points of the meeting is the presentation and discussion of a new German-Russian study by the Humboldt Foundation on the international networking of Russian science. Under the title "Western foundations and the reproduction of the Russian scientific elite: The case of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation", the study provides analyses and empirical evaluations based on numerous interviews with Russian scientists. The study, which was supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, shows that Russian scientists and academics are travelling more frequently with funding from the West, and that this travel is indispensable to establishing scientific networks. A further result is the dramatic underfinancing of science in Russia and the dependence on other funding sources.

Further Information

Journalists are cordially invited to attend the reception, which will be held on Wednesday, 7 March 2007, beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Leibniz Hall, Markgrafenstrasse 38, Berlin. Please register to participate by 5 March 2007 by contacting Susanna Abella-Clausen, DFG Berlin Office, Tel.: +49 (0)30 206121-20, E-mail: berlin@dfg.de.

The study is available on request from Kristina Güroff (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Tel.: +49 (0)228 833-144, E-mail: kristina.gueroff@avh.de) or online at

The DFG contact person for German-Russian cooperation is

  • Dr. Jörn Achterberg, International Affairs, Tel.: +49 (0)228 885-2292, E-mail: joern.achterberg@dfg.de,

and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation contact person is

  • Felix Streiter, Dept. 3.4, Tel.: +49 (0)228 833-275, E-mail: felix.streiter@avh.de.