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Standing up together for the freedom of science

Foreign Minister Maas meets the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany

Foreign Minister Maas meets the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany, © Felix Zahn/photothek.net

10.04.2019 - Article

Politicians, scientists and society as a whole must jointly defend the freedom of science. Foreign Minister Maas had a meeting to discuss this with the heads of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany.

Defending the freedom of science and research

Defending the freedom of science and research is a common task facing politicians, science organisations and society as a whole – and therefore also for the Federal Foreign Office,

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasised prior to his meeting with the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany. The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany is a union of the most important German research organisations. It issues statements relating to research policy and funding and the structural development of the German research system.

International challenges

Science and research institutes around the world are becoming increasingly interconnected. Such exchange is crucial for Germany as an important location for research. Cutting-edge research can only be conducted through international networks.

This does, however, present certain challenges. Scientists are unable to work unhindered in many parts of the world. They face problems such as restrictions on their academic freedom, as well as intellectual property issues.

The time has come to counteract this trend. In future, government and academic representatives intend to work together even closer with a view to tackling these challenges. Jointly, they want to highlight the opportunities that international research networks and scientific freedom hold for us all.

The March for Science

Standing up together for the freedom of science
Standing up together for the freedom of science© Felix Zahn/photothek.net

Foreign Minister Maas and the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany met in the run-up to the March for Science, when, on 4 May, the freedom of science and research will be in the spotlight. In this connection, Maas emphasised that Germany will stand with all those who speak up for the freedom of science.

The March for Science, which took place for the first time in 2017 at the initiative of US scientists, is to be held for the third time in 2019. Demonstrations and events will take place around the world that seek to underscore the importance of science and scientific freedom.

German Houses of Research and Innovation

The German Houses of Research and Innovation are an important tool for building international networks. They provide a platform, at selected locations, for Germany’s science, research and innovation scene. The aim is to present the activities of both German science and research and German companies that conduct research, and to build networks with local cooperation partners. To this end, the Federal Foreign Office works closely with the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany and with the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Promoting international exchange

Among the members of the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany are two Federal-Foreign-Office-funded intermediary organisations, the German Academic Exchange Service and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. These intermediary organisations promote international exchange through scholarship programmes for students and researchers, as well as through cooperation projects in other countries.

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