Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation
Between Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe

Policy Context

Africa-EU STI policy landscape



The German research landscape is rather complex and characterised by shared responsibilities between the federal level and the 16 German states (Länder). The governments of the Länder are responsible for financing research and teaching at the public universities in their respective state.

Profile developed by: Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), Austria (data as at 2013). To submit comments and/or requests for corrections, write to 

However, a large share of basic research in Germany is carried out by non-university research institutions (e.g. Max Planck Society, Fraunhofer Society, Helmholtz Association, Leibniz Association). The latter are jointly financed by the Länder and the federal government. Currently, the Länder are due to provide about 44% of the overall public budget for R&D (including universities), i.e. the share of the Länder is slightly decreasing (in 2000 it was at about 48% of total budget provisions for R&D set out by Bund and Länder; see: <link>).

In 2006, the German federal system has been reformed to create a clearer division of labour between the two governmental levels (Föderalismusreform). Accordingly, the competence for teaching now is exclusively given to the Länder. However, the governments agreed on a support scheme to allow the federal Government to be involved in the provision of university funding in order to take account of increased costs due to an increasing number of students.

In general, the R&D landscape as such in Germany has remained rather stable over years, with the two major developments being the integration of the research facilities of the former Eastern German Republic (GDR) and the reorientation of funding policies. The latter has been developed within the federal High Tech Strategy (HTS) in 2006 to concentrate the public R&D resources as well as to improve coordination between the various players with the overall goal of improving the competitiveness of Germany’s knowledge-based economy. In 2010 the HTS has been further developed (High-tech Strategy 2020).Although the focus has shifted towards long-term agendas, the annual budgets of funding agencies and ministries are still the basis for several programmes and long-term support schemes.

Measured in terms of R&D expenditure, Germany has the largest research system in the EU. In 2012, Germany’s GERD was about €77.8b and thus contributed significantly to EU resource mobilisation, being responsible for 29.2% of aggregate EU-27 R&D expenditures (i.e. +0.5% points compared to 2011 figures). R&D intensity (measured as a percentage of GDP) stood at 2.84% in 2011 (thus remained widely unchanged compared to 2010) and rose to 2.92% in 2012. The share of the business sector remained at about 2/3 of total GERD (BERD: €52.1b, i.e.1.95% of GDP in 2012).

Source: ERAWATCH Platform on Research and Innovation Policies and Systems

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