Science, research and universities

Academic exchanges

Academic relations between Germany and the wider world are also for the Federal Foreign Office an important focus. It is of course one of the main priorities of the Directorate-General for Culture and Communication, which – with the aid of various instruments as well as considerable funds – works hard to ensure Germany is well placed internationally to compete for the best brains. All these activities – collectively known as “research and academic relations policy” – are carried out in line with the German Government’s strategy to internationalize higher education and research in Germany and in agreement with other ministries.

Scholarships and university partnerships

Scholarships and academic exchanges are still the main plank of our cultural relations agenda for higher education and research. Increasingly, however, we are also supporting partnerships between German universities and universities in other parts of the world, in Kazakhstan, for example, as well as Indonesia, China and Oman. In a number of cases this has resulted in new dual degree courses and even – a growing trend – the founding of new universities like the German University in Cairo or, most recently, the German-Turkish University in Istanbul.

We are putting increasing emphasis on providing appropriate support for international students and academics at German universities – we want to develop a welcome culture. Programmes have also been set up to maintain contact with alumni once they return to their home countries.

Cultural organizations

The Federal Foreign Office does not undertake all these activities itself but delegates the task to independent organizations along with the necessary funds from the federal budget. Accordingly, bodies such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation run their own scholarship and travel grant programmes etc. In this connection they cooperate closely with German embassies abroad and sometimes even develop their own comprehensive programmes designed, for example, to rebuild higher education in Afghanistan.

Marketing Germany as a location

For an advanced technology country such as ours promoting international cooperation is an essential component of any strategy for the future. This calls for intensive marketing of Germany as a higher education and research location. Through education fairs, targeted advisory services and a wide range of publications we seek to make Germany even better known to an international public.

Cooperation in Europe

The German Government is actively involved in the so-called Bologna Process, which in recent years has seen 85 percent of degree programmes in Germany switch to the bachelor’s and master’s system. In other ways, too, it continues to shape relations with neighbouring countries through projects designed to promote close cooperation. One of these projects is the Franco-German University, which opens up new opportunities for intensive collaboration between the over 150 participating universities in both countries. Another is the Franco-German Forum, an annual event that provides information on career prospects and studying in the two countries. The establishment of a German-Polish Research Foundation has paved the way for intensified cooperation also with our eastern neighbour.

Last updated 01.02.2013

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