As the largest contributor to research in Europe, Germany has considerable responsibility in the further expansion of research in the European region. As such, the Federal Government has developed a national strategy, thus making Germany a leader in the EU.
Germany regards the development of the European Research Area (ERA) as a prerequisite to strengthening Europe’s scientific output in order to consolidate and improve its capacity for innovation. The ERA is designed to enable scientists to work anywhere in Europe without being disadvantaged — such as through social security — while at the same time ensuring the free exchange of scientific knowledge and technologies. The ERA guarantees high quality research in Europe and a strong European research landscape. While this is the case, key decisions must still be made at the national level.
Germany’s National ERA Strategy:
The ERA has a solid basis but needs to constantly evolve. Therefore, in 2014 Germany developed a separate strategy for the ERA. It outlines the areas in which Germany wants to be active in order to strengthen the overall ERA. The strategy, therefore, provides a roadmap for the coming years, including concrete measures. On the basis of this, major European and global issues such as aging populations, neuro-degenerative disorders (such as Alzheimers), climate change, and issues concerning the future supply of healthy food will be the subject of joint European research programmes.
The strategy also includes building large pan-European research infrastructures. One example is the so-called X-Ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) in Hamburg — a 3.4 km long X-ray laser, which goes into operation in 2017. Its construction involves a total of 12 European countries.
Furthermore, the free exchange of knowledge will be promoted by open access to scientific knowledge, data and publications that have been developed from publicly funded projects. Germany is seeking to support the interests of science, research and education in the digital age and is, thus, also proposing improvements in copyright law.
Germany is the first EU member state which has established its own timetable for the further development of the European Research Area.
Photo credit: “www.colourbox.com”. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).