Germany faces science crisis

June 23, 2006

Germany has Europe's lowest proportion of university-educated qualified professionals in science and engineering in the 25-34 age group, according to Eurostat, the European Union statistical agency.

Some 16 per cent of tertiary educated professionals are in these fields, the worst figure in the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes EU countries plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. It shows that, without change, Germany could face a shortage of engineers and scientists in the medium term.

This contrasts with an average of per cent across the EU (the UK has 28 per cent), and with growing economies such as Spain (the best performer with 38 per cent), Portugal (37 per cent) and Ireland (36 per cent).

Eurostat said that across the EEA the data indicate a possible future scarcity of workers in the EU. It added that late qualifying students might ease the problem.

Other countries with ageing science and technology workforces are Estonia, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Hungary, as well as EU hopeful Bulgaria.

Those with younger laboratories and workshops include (Greek) Cyprus, Poland, France and Malta.

Eurostat noted the importance of guaranteeing a future supply of scientific professionals, hailing them as "a key group in creating scientific knowledge and putting in place innovation".

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