German research organizations, such as the Max Planck Society, as well as universities and technical schools in the country will enjoy a steady climb in their budgets over the next 10 years, according to an announcement from state and federal ministers last week (May 3). Specifically, funding for science will continue to increase by 3 percent per year, as it has since 2006, Science reports.
“It’s a huge relief,” Matthias Kleiner, president of the country’s Leibniz Association, which includes more than 90 research institutes, tells Science. “[It’s] an extraordinarily positive and encouraging signal for science.” The funding agreement also includes approval for two new Max Planck institutes and two new institutes under the Leibniz Association umbrella.
Although German research funding has been on the rise for over a decade, economic troubles in the country had some concerned the glory days would soon come to an end. In particular, the federal government had recently supplied more of the budgets for science institutions, and federal ministers argued that the state governments should return to sharing the costs. In the end, federal and state ministers agreed to shift back to cost sharing over the course of the next 10 years.
Organizations receiving the money will be evaluated regularly. “It will be a chance to make sure the organizations are on track to meet the goals they set—and refocus if necessary,” Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek said at a press conference, according to Science. “We have to accept that we can show we are using the money wisely.”
The budget plan still requires approval from German Chancellor Angela Merkel and state leaders; that approval is expected early next month.