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1.2.2007 | Von:
Jessica Guth

Who is coming to Germany? The data issue

Together with France and the UK, Germany employed 54% of all full time research and development workers in the EU25 in 2003. [1]
Die italienische Biologin Maria Rosa Spina, Biochemiker Sanjoy Roychowdhury aus Indien und Prof. Dr. Gerald Wolf (l-r) arbeiten am 09.08.2000 gemeinsam im Labor des Instituts für Neurobiologie an der Otto-von Guericke-Universität Magdeburg.Foreign research scientists at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. (© picture-alliance / ZB )

Germany is attractive to foreign researchers and was chosen as one of the top destinations for scientists taking part in the European Marie Curie Fellowship programme [2]. The Figure shows the ten quantitatively most important countries of origin for foreign researchers in Germany. However, these figures should be viewed with caution as they include only those researchers/academics who were individually funded by a German funding organisation. Those who were employed through large grants, who were employed directly by the university, or who were funded by organisations abroad will not necessarily be represented [3].

While these figures provide some insight into the make-up of the population of foreign researchers, they can do no more than give a general impression. The lack of availability of reliable and complete data on foreign scientists in Germany is the main problem in trying to quantify flows. For example, the nationality of university staff is not recorded in the national sta- tistics, and foreign early stage researchers not directly funded through individual grants will not be captured in the funding organisations' figures. It is therefore virtually impossible to get an accurate impression of the number of foreign scientists, researchers and academics in Germany at any one time. Without a significant increase in financial and human resources it is unlikely that this gap in the data can be filled.

The Top 10 Countries of Origin of Foreign Researchers in Germany, 2004
RankingCountry of OriginNumber% of all individually Funded Researchers
1Russian Federation2.22110,8
Source: DAAD (2006)


See Gotzfried (2005).
See Van de Sande et al 2005.
For more information on the methods of data collection and scope of the data contained in Wissenschaft Weltoffen (DAAD 2006), please see the website at http://www.wissenschaft-weltoffen.de.



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