In mid-July, the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) published its eagerly-awaited recommendations on the future development of German higher education and research. The Wissenschaftsrat advises the federal and Länder governments in matters related to the structure and development of higher education and research.
The report stresses the positive effects of the joint initiatives of the federal and state governments in the past decade to invigorate and strengthen German universities and research institutes, such as the “Excellence Initiative”, the “Higher Education Pact”, the “Pact for Research and Innovation” and the Bologna Process. It argues that the modernisation push of these initiatives has resulted in a state-of-the-art science system, which does not require revolutionary change, but continuous sustainable development in order to meet future challenges from demographic change and globalisation.
More specifically, the Wissenschaftsrat strongly advocates continued investment in higher education and research institutions and in particular proposes a “Future Pact” to continue and integrate the current measures, before they run out in a few years. The scope of the future instruments should be wider than the present research-focused measures, and target not only universities, but also universities of applied sciences. Likewise, a future scheme should extend beyond research to the support of excellence in teaching, technology transfer and infrastructure.