Key Indicators for Publicly Funded
Research in Germany
Select a federal state and then a university:
The presidents of the DFG and the German Rectors’ Conference explain why the analyses and conclusions in the Funding Atlas 2021 are important not just to individual research institutions, but to German research policy as a whole.
This is the ninth edition of the DFG Funding Atlas. Every three years, the largest funding organisation for basic research at higher education institutions and non-university research institutions in Germany, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), presents a broad set of key indicators relating to research and development in Germany.
The majority of the analyses are based on data relating to third-party funding acquired competitively from the DFG and other national and international funding sources. The focus is therefore on research institutions in Germany which are actively involved in attracting third-party funding. The main chapter of the DFG Funding Atlas 2021 (chapter 5 – “Subject-Based Funding Profiles of Research Institutions”) presents the relevant key indicators in ranking format. From an international perspective, rankings of the most popular destinations of globally respected academics who complete an extended research stay in Germany under the guest programmes offered by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) are especially revealing.
The underlying data allow very fine differentiation by subject as well as in-depth comparisons of research profiles. The DFG Funding Atlas not only looks at individual research institutions but also at the regions in which they are located as well as the cross-regional networks that result from collaboration under selected DFG programmes. In this way it conveys an extremely multi-faceted image of the German research landscape.
The DFG Funding Atlas focuses on longerterm developments. Since the first edition in 1996, which covered the period 1991 to 1995, it has reported certain key indicators on a recurring basis. Each edition also features special analyses.
The founding anniversary of the DFG in 2020 provided an occasion for this edition to take a statistical look at the research map of the years 1921 to 1945, based on more than 50,000 references to DFG proposal submissions dating back to this period. The findings presented in chapter 3 supplement the monitoring of third-party funding and research priorities over the past three decades with a review of the DFG’s very eventful early years.
On the one hand, this provides insights into the history of that era. Between the founding phase and the consolidation years of the DFG, the institutions at which research was conducted in Germany underwent rapid change, after which a watershed moment in history arrived with National Socialism and the Second World War. On the other hand, a modern- day perspective allows strands of tradition to be traced, as well as revealing where new regions have since developed a research profile.
Finally, I would especially recommend you to read chapter 3 – “International Aspects of Research Funding”. The large number of key indicators relating to international collaboration presented here offer an impressive illustration of how closely networked modern research is nowadays at the global level. As the chapter shows, the ties between German and Russian researchers in particular were diverse and intense during the reporting period.
The start of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine in February 2022 and the decision on the part of the Alliance of Science Organisations, in agreement with the German government, to discontinue all German-Russian cooperation at the institutional level for the time being means that, even from today’s perspective, a considerable decline is to be expected in German-Russian cooperation and networks, which will therefore have a farreaching impact on the development of international cooperation as a whole. The next Funding Atlas will document the effect of this “turning point”.
I hope this English-language edition of the current DFG Funding Atlas provides a wellfounded impression of the subject breadth and regional priorities of the German research system, and I wish you a stimulating read.
|Professorin Dr. Katja Becker|
President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft