What are the most important medium-term trends in basic research? How can scientists and their research projects be supported even more efficiently and transparently? What needs to be done to optimise the dialogue between the scientific community and the general public and knowledge transfer between research and industry?
Answers to these and other fundamental questions are offered by the latest white paper published by the DFG “Perspektiven der Forschung und ihrer Förderung. Aufgaben und Finanzierung 2007-2011” (available in German only). This publication is the result of a wide-reaching strategic review conducted by Germany’s largest research funding organisation, re-examining various aspects of its work.
“Strategic aspects of research funding activity in a national and international context are gaining increasing importance. All in all, the German and European scientific communities are currently in a strong spirit of optimism. We need to exploit this dynamism to promote science and research,” summarises DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner in his preface to the paper, the findings of which are more than 250 pages in length. There are chapters dedicated to the work of the DFG’s various statutory bodies, the increasing flexibility and modularisation of its funding programmes, and the role of public relations in science and research funding.
Past winners of the Communicator Award, which is conferred by the DFG and the Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Science and Humanities in Germany, describe the status quo and the future of selected fields of research. The gamut of the individual contributions ranges from communicating mathematics experimentally, to the major unanswered questions in physics, right through to neurology and climate change. Other authors have contributed articles on topics such as the internationalisation of research and the promotion of young researchers.
This is the twelfth such white paper published by the DFG. The first publication, also referred to as the “grey plan”, was published by the DFG in 1961. The latest edition is the first to use a new layout that is more streamlined and colourful. This publication is aimed primarily at the researchers themselves, as well as their financial backers in the federal and state governments, which provide the DFG with an annual budget that now amounts to almost two billion euros, as well as the media and the general public.
Perspektiven der Forschung und ihrer Förderung. Aufgaben und Finanzierung 2007-2011. Published by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). 256 pages. Wiley-VCH Verlag, Weinheim, 2007, ISBN 3-527-32064-4, 49.90 euros.
Jutta Höhn | alfa
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