The German Council of Science and Humanities

“The German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) provides advice to the German Federal Government and the state (Länder) governments on the structure and development of higher education and research.”

The German Council of Science and Humanities was founded in 1957 by federal and state governments and is the oldest science policy advisory board in Europe. The council provides a complete overview of scientific work in Germany and can submit recommendations to federal and state governments aimed at promoting science.

Looking back, the council has played a major role in shaping at least three phases of science policy development:

  • in the 1960s and 1970s, the development and expansion of the higher education system
  • reform of government policy on higher education and science while funding was simultaneously being reduced
  • during the time of German reunification, the German Council of Science and Humanities laid the foundation for the development of high-quality scientific institutions in East Germany.

During the last four decades, the number of students studying at German universities has multiplied eightfold, while the number of professorships has increased at the same time.
However, scholarly research has been confronted with a series of demands, such as having to be more efficient while having less funding at its disposal; strengthening international competitiveness and improving the capability to be innovative.

It is crucial to build up networks and exchange knowledge as Europe grows closer together:

“The German Council of Science and Humanities is a member of the Alliance of Scientific Organisations. Furthermore, the Council has regular exchanges with the European Councils for Science and Technology.”

The Council meets on a regular basis, namely three times a year. It met recently in Kiel and this will be followed by a meeting in Weimar in October and one in Berlin in January 2017.

To find out more about the Council, or to get an idea of how its work influences the German science sector and read about its latest recommendations, please visit the following website:

Photo credit: “”. Editorial Source:

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