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Wissenschaft weltoffen

The “kompakt” version of the annual Wissenschaft weltoffen report by DAAD and DZHW was recently published. While waiting for the full version of the report, we can preview some of the emerging and continuing trends.

Key findings on international students in Germany for the academic year 2020/21, which was still partially influenced by the Covid-19 pandemic include:

  • The number of international students at German universities continued to rise in the winter semester 2020/21, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, to 324,729 (+1.5%). They account for 11% of all students in Germany; at universities this figure is 12.6%, at universities of applied sciences 8.6%.
  • Asia-Pacific represents the key region of origin for international students with a share of 31%, followed by students from North Africa and Middle East (20%) and Western Europe (17%). The key country of origin is China, with around 40,100 students or 12% of all international students in Germany. In second and third place, India follows with roughly 28,500 (9%) and Syria with approximately 16,900 students (5%).
  • The overwhelming majority (96%) of international students are aiming for a degree in Germany in the winter semester 2020/21; only 4% (due to the pandemic) are exchange or other visiting students not intending to complete a degree in Germany (previous year: 8%). 39% want to obtain a bachelor’s degree and 42% a master’s degree. As for the subject groups, engineering (42%) and law, economics and social sciences (25%) dominate among international students.

Key findings on Germany students abroad in the last decades until 2019 include:

  • In 2019, around 138,000 Germans studied abroad and the majority of these students (approx. 90%) were also pursuing a degree abroad. The key host countries are Austria, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Switzerland. In terms of temporary study-related visits abroad, the United Kingdom is in first place, followed by the US, France and Spain.
  • When looking at the development of degree-related mobility, it becomes clear that, in the period between 2002 and 2010, e., during the introduction of the new, tiered study system, above-average growth rates of 10% and more were achieved in one year. Since the introduction of the new degree types, however, the absolute number of German students abroad has not increased further. Their share of all German students has even fallen slightly recently, also due to the strong increase in the number of students in Germany up to 2015.
  • The development of temporary study-related visits abroad shows a somewhat different trend. Between 1991 and 2000, the proportion of students on temporary visits abroad rose sharply (from 20% to 32%) and stabilised at this level until 2006. In 2009 and 2012, the figure was somewhat lower, at 30% in each case, falling again in 2016 to 28%.

Key findings researcher mobility in Germany in 2019/2020:

  • In 2020, around 55,200 academic and artistic staff with foreign citizenship were employed at German universities, including around 3,600 international professors. This means that international staff accounted for 13.3% of all academic staff, while the proportion of professors was 7.2%.
  • The key region of origin of the international academic staff is Western Europe. 35% of the total international academic staff and as many as 67% of the international professors come from Western European countries. Italy, India, China and Austria are the key countries of origin. Most international professors come from the two German-speaking countries Austria (20%) and Switzerland (9%).
  • In 2019, around 14,100 employed academics and researchers with foreign citizenship worked at the four largest non-university research institutes. Since 2010, their number has doubled (+107%), so that in 2019 around 28% of all academics and researchers here came from abroad. EU countries account for 42%, other European countries for 13% of all foreign academics and researchers.
  • In addition to employed international academic staff, international guest researchers, whose visit is funded by domestic and foreign organisations, also research and teach in Germany. In 2019, this amounted to around 32,800 visits. Western Europe and Asia and Pacific are the key regions of origin, with shares of 23% and 22% respectively. Conversely, a total of around 13,600 visits by German guest researchers abroad were funded by domestic and foreign organisations in 2019. Western Europe is the key host region (26%), followed by North America (18%) and Asia and Pacific (17%).

More information and other Wissenschaft weltoffen publications are available here.