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Press Release No. 42 | 4 July 2007
Leopoldina joins the DFG

Academy of Natural Scientists is the latest member of the funding organisation

Germany's largest research funding organisation has a new member. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has admitted the German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina as its latest member. The members of the DFG voted to accept the academy, which is based in Halle, into its ranks at the DFG's General Assembly in Bonn.

The DFG's newest member was founded in 1652, making it the oldest academy of natural sciences in the world. With such a long history accompanied by its scientific relevance, the Leopoldina is comparable to the Royal Society in London, which was founded in 1660, and the Académie des Sciences in Paris, which was established in 1666. The academy currently has 1220 members, 34 of whom are Nobel laureates, and is divided into 28 sections, ranging from the natural sciences and medicine to empirically-based and behaviourally-oriented social, economic and psychological disciplines.

At the General Assembly, Professor Klaus J. Hopt, Vice President of the DFG, highlighted the many ways in which the "Leopoldina occupies a special place in the German academic landscape." With members from more than 30 countries, the academy places great importance on being an international organisation, an aspect which it also bolsters with numerous worldwide activities. In addition, Hopt added, the Leopoldina has a "very high profile in the public eye." This is achieved, he said, by the large number of scientific events of all kinds that are a focal point of the academy's work. "With its recommendations and statements on key socio-political issues, the Leopoldina also renders important policy advice," emphasised Hopt. Last but not least, the academy is also very successful in promoting young researchers, primarily through the Young Academy (Junge Akademie), which it founded in cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW).

These focal points had also been pivotal in convincing the DFG's ad hoc Senate Committee on Membership Applications, which is chaired by Prof. Hopt. He reviewed the Leopoldina late last year, after the academy had applied for DFG membership in April 2006. Following the review, the committee, and subsequently the DFG's Senate, unanimously recommended admission of the academy to the DFG.

With the addition of the Leopoldina, the DFG now has 96 members, including 69 universities, 16 non-university research institutions and, as of now, eight academies of science and three scientific associations.