Photo Credit: DFG


DFG presents "2018 Funding Atlas": Strong research meets effective promotion

Research Focus Europe shows the formative role of Germany and the United Kingdom / High stability in the German research system / Third-party funding remains at a high level - new dynamics of the basic funding / FVV receives 2.9 million euros DFG funds between 2014 and 2016

What role do the universities and research institutes from Germany play in the European Research Area? How attractive is the research location Germany for foreign scientists? Which institutions obtain how many third-party funds from which sources for their research? And what about the proportions and distribution of funds within the German science system - between large and small universities or different subject areas, but also between basic and third-party funding? Comprehensive figures, data and graphics on these and many other topics are contained in the "2018 Funding Atlas" of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), which was presented in Berlin on 5 July 2018, together with the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and the Stifterverband (SV).

The new DFG funding atlas is the eighth volume of the report, with which the largest research funding organisation in Germany has been presenting every three years since 1997 key figures on publicly funded research. The statistical and data material as well as the methodology used were expanded as well as the topics and questions considered. The current issue is a comprehensive compendium based on tens of thousands of data from all major public research funding agencies in Germany and the EU for the years 2014 to 2016.

"Third-party funding is never seen solely as a financial category and monetary gain for the individual universities and research institutions, but rather and regardless of the amount of the respective project costs as a token of research quality and as an essential element of quality assurance in the science system," said DFG President Prof Dr. med. Peter Strohschneider, who presented the Funding Atlas in a press conference in Berlin together with DFG General Secretary Prof. Dorothee Dzwonnek, HRK Deputy President Prof. Dr. med. Ulrich Rüdiger and SV General Secretary Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Schlüter.

Research funding in a European context

The new funding atlas sets a special emphasis on research funding in the EU. A whole series of evaluations shows: Two countries, in particular, shape the European Research Area - Germany and Great Britain. For example, from 2014 to 2016, Germany obtained the highest funding volume in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation "Horizon 2020" with 3.9 billion euros, followed by Great Britain with 3.6 billion euros. Both countries are well ahead of France (2.4 billion euros), Spain (2.1 billion euros) and Italy (1.9 billion euros). Germany and Great Britain are also ahead in terms of bilateral cooperation and EU-wide networks under Horizon 2020. With funding from the European Research Council (ERC), Britain leads with 555 Starting, Advanced or Consolidator Grants ahead of Germany with 456 ERC-funded young academics.

For the years 2014 to 2016, there are only a few changes compared to previous years in the detailed lists of DFG awards published in this issue. The LMU Munich topped the list of the 40 most powerful DFG-funded universities with 315.8 million euros, followed by the University of Heidelberg with 292.2 million euros and the RWTH Aachen University with 281 million euros; however, the LMU has expanded its lead. The three top-ranked universities are followed by the TU Munich, the FU Berlin, the TU Dresden as well as the Universities of Freiburg and Tübingen, the HU Berlin and on rank 10 the University of Göttingen. Broken down by field of science, the FU and HU Berlin promoted the most funds in the humanities and social sciences, followed by the LMU Munich and the universities of Tübingen and Frankfurt/Main. The LMU, the Universities of Heidelberg, Freiburg, Göttingen and the Technical University of Munich were at the forefront of the life sciences, while the universities of Mainz, Hamburg and Bonn, the LMU and the TU Munich were leading in natural sciences. In engineering, most DFG funds went to RWTH Aachen University, followed by the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, the TU Dresden, the TU Darmstadt and the University of Stuttgart.

Pressure on the universities with regard to third-party funding acquisition is still high

A development that is also significant in terms of scientific policy is underlined by the new funding atlas on the role of third-party funding for the overall financing of universities and their relationship to the state's basic funding. After the long-term third-party funding rose to a high of 28.1 percent in 2012, it has remained broadly stable ever since. The rates of increase per year even dropped significantly, from an average of 9 percent between 2008 and 2013 to 1.5 percent in 2015. By contrast, basic funding has risen by an average of 4.4 percent since 2008 and, for the first time, in 2014 was also higher than third-party funds.

"On the one hand, the pressure on the universities with regard to third-party funding acquisition is still high, but it is currently no longer rising. On the other hand, there is a new dynamic in the basic funding, "stated Strohschneider.

In all, the universities in Germany received almost 20 billion euros in basic funding and 7.4 billion euros in third-party funding in the 2015 survey year. The DFG was still the largest third-party donour with 33.1 percent, the previously significantly increased share of the federal government went back slightly to 25.2 percent, as so the EU to now 9.7 percent. Third party funds from industry and business, whose share was only 19 percent, continued to lose weight.

Subject-area profiles

The FVV Research Association for Internal Combustion Engines received 2.9 million euros DFG funds between 2014 and 2016 for carrying out projects of Industrial Collective Research (IGF), mainly in the fields of materials science, materials engineering, thermal energy engineering / thermal machines / fluid mechanics and mechanics / constructive engineering. More information about the subject-area funding profiles in engineering can be found in chapter 4.7 (pages 135-149).

The English version of the 2018 Funding Atlas is provisionally scheduled to appear in the second quarter of 2019.


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