Foreign Minister Gabriel issued the following statement concerning the March for Science, which is scheduled for this Saturday (22 April):
In many cities in Germany and around the world, people will take to the streets tomorrow as a visible sign of support for the freedom of science. Germany has good reason to get involved: as a high-tech country, it owes its global network to a highly innovative research landscape that includes universities, institutes of applied science, research companies and science organisations.
Independent research and teachers’ academic freedom are pillars of an open and modern society. It therefore worries me that scientific freedom is coming under increasing pressure, also in Europe. When academics lose their jobs for political reasons, universities are sidelined, and certain areas of research are substantially weakened, it is also our democratic principles that come under attack. We must stand up and defend ourselves against such developments. We need free academic discourse and fact-based scientific data, so that we can shape the world of tomorrow.
The March for Science is an initiative of United States scientists and researchers and is being held for the first time on 22 April 2017. Demonstrations will take place around the world, with the aim of underscoring the significance of science and scientific freedom. In Germany, the Alliance of Science Organisations has expressed its support for the March for Science.
In the context of its cultural relations and education policy, Germany campaigns for the freedom of science around the world. It maintains scientific cooperation also when political conditions are difficult, so that students and junior researchers continue to have access to the European area of knowledge and values. Through the Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, threatened scientists from around the world are given the opportunity to pursue their research in Germany.