Germany maintains position as research giant, but gender equality and diversity are still a challenge

    The Nature Index Germany supplement finds that strong and steady science funding and long-term investment in basic research are key to Germany’s success

    Germany retains its position as one of the world’s research heavyweights, behind the US and China, based on output of high-quality publications as tracked by the Nature Index. This can be attributed to strong and steady science funding and long-term investment in basic research. However, a lack of diversity and slow adaptation to contemporary research directions could challenge Germany’s prolific research record going forward. These, and further findings and analyses are discussed in the Nature Index Germany supplement, published today.

    Within Germany, three flagship research institutions hold the top positions in terms of high-quality research output in journals tracked by the Nature Index: the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres and the Leibniz Association, followed by three universities, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Technical University of Munich, and Heidelberg University. A full list of the top 50 institutions is included in the supplement. Also explored in the supplement is Germany’s thriving start-up scene, which is raising record levels of funding. Many start-ups have been spun out of universities and this supplement looks at who is leading some of the most exciting German technology start-ups.

    Although science organisations in Germany are thriving under funding certainty, there are concerns that some universities might be left behind. Diversity in the research landscape is also still an issue – in 2016 only 19.4 percent of senior academic staff, and only 15.4 percent of start-up founders in 2020 were female. However, the supplement shows how Germany’s Clusters of Excellence initiative has helped attract international researchers to the country.

    Further data analysis and infographics from the Nature Index, such as Germany’s Share* by sector and subject, are also included in the accompanying supplement.

    David Swinbanks, Founder of the Nature Index, said: “This supplement highlights Germany’s substantial contribution to high-quality research published worldwide. Germany’s success demonstrates the benefits that long-term investment in basic research and steady science funding can bring. Our analysis indicates that innovation and research spinoff companies also play an important part in the research process and in commercialising research. However, Germany’s path forward is not without hurdles. A much needed improvement in the diversity of research institutions and universities could help secure Germany’s position as research powerhouse in the years to come.”

    *Share is a fractional count for an article allocated to an institution, city, or country/region, that takes into account the proportion of authors on the article whose institutional affiliation is with that institution, city, or country/region. For the calculation of Share, all authors are considered to have contributed equally to the article, and the maximum combined Share for any article is 1.0.