85,000 international academics

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more and more international academics are researching and teaching at German universities and research institutions.

Their discoveries may change the world. Thanks to the research work being done by Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, it is possible that people suffering from hereditary diseases may one day be cured. “Crispr” is the name of the genetic engineering method she has developed, which allows genes to be safely modified with amazing precision. Emmanuelle Charpentier, who is from France, is regarded as one of the most innovative researchers. She has been included in the US “Time” magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people.

Charpentier made some of her ground-breaking discoveries in Germany. In 2013, Emmanuelle Charpentier was invited by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to take up a Humboldt Professorship in Germany. The professorship was based at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig and at Hannover Medical School. Since October 2015, Charpentier has been the director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin.

A magnet for international researchers

German universities and research institutions have worldwide connections and a reputation for top-class research – which is what makes them so attractive to outstanding international researchers like Emmanuelle Charpentier. Tens of thousands of other international researchers are drawn to Germany, just as the French microbiologist was. In 2014, there were 85,000 international academics teaching and conducting research at German universities and non-university research establishments. This was found by the “Wissenschaft weltoffen 2016” report compiled by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in cooperation with the German Centre for Higher Education Research and Science Studies (DZHW).

Increasingly international German research scene

According to the report, the number of international academics in 2014 rose sharply as compared with 2006:

  • by 84 percent to a total of 40,000 at German universities
  • to around 9,000 at non-university research institutions, where they now account for 20 percent of academic staff
  • in addition, there were more than 33,000 visiting researchers and 2,800 Erasmus guest lecturers

What is more, the number of international students in Germany has also increased. In 2015, 321,000 foreign students were enrolled at German universities. The most marked increases are to be found among Master’s students (+25 percent) and those doing a PhD (+3 percent). 23 percent or 65,000 of the foreign students are enrolled in the engineering sciences.

Internationally interlinked, attractive and productive

Commenting on the report’s findings, German Education Minister Johanna Wanka said: “At a time when there are political tendencies in many countries, including in the EU, which appear to be moving away from a more cosmopolitan attitude, these figures demonstrate that German science and research is internationally interlinked, which is precisely what makes it so attractive and productive. As far as Germany is concerned, a cosmopolitan research scene is and will remain a key prerequisite for Germany as a centre for academic research and for the country’s society”.


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