Funds, funds funds: who pays for research

July 21, 2000

Germany spent e42.43 billion (Pounds 26.5 billion) on research and development in 1997, accounting for 2. per cent of gross domestic product, according to the latest official figures.

The business enterprise sector contributed e26.07 billion, or 61 per cent. The government share, including contributions from the federal government at state level, was e16.1 billion.

An estimated 460,000 people (full-time equivalent) are employed in research and development, 61.7 per cent of them in the business enterprise sector, 21.9 per cent in the higher education sector and 16.4 per cent in the non-university sector. Half of these employees are researchers, a quarter are technicians and the rest are support staff. Federal government research spending prioritises key future technologies such as biotechnology, information technology, health and environmental research.

The lion's share of public research funds goes to the universities, the backbone of the German research landscape. They received an estimated e18.25 billion for teaching and research in 1999.

Research carried out in German universities covers the spectrum of basic and applied R&D.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Council) had a total budget of e1.165 billion in 1999. It is funded jointly by the central government and the federal states. It has enjoyed 3-5 per cent annual increases in recent years and has just been promised a 5 per cent rise next year.

The Max Planck Society carries out non-university basic research in the sciences, arts and humanities. It aims to concentrate on promising areas universities cannot cover for organisational and cost reasons.

It has 81 institutes, research centres and project groups and employs 11,000 people including 3,000 scientists. It estimates its 1999 budget at e1,110 million.

The Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany's leading applied research organisation, spent about e665 million in 1998. It employs 9,000 staff at 47 establishments.

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