19 September 2019, No. 19/2019

Survey on "Germany from the outside": International scientists praise Germany as a research location – and criticise its bureaucracy.

Humboldt Foundation evaluates the experiences of its research fellows from more than 140 countries.

How open and tolerant are Germans toward researchers from other countries? How much humour do Germans have? How progressive, how bureaucratic, how hospitable are people here? How well equipped are the labs and how well-stocked are the libraries? During the last six years, more than 1,800 researchers who have received fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation have assessed the experiences they gathered during their research visits.

The findings: Germany and its science system are seen positively abroad. The respondents particularly praised the positive attitude toward science in Germany and the country’s tolerance, democracy and progressiveness. Compared to other countries, working hours, gender equality and hospitality in Germany were more positively ranked. On the other hand, there was criticism of the red tape, language barriers and inadequate social integration into day-to-day life. The provision of funding for junior scientists is also rated less positively, particularly by fellows who come to Germany from the USA.

“The positive report is not only a reason to celebrate but also gives us something to think about”, Hans-Christian Paper, President of the Humboldt Foundation, noted about the results of survey. “We can feel pleased with all the praise we’ve received and our great strengths in the international locational contest. That we can use for promotional purposes! But the criticism of bureaucracy and the prospects for young researchers tell us where the model student, Germany, urgently needs to improve”, Pape commented.

Details of the Germany From The Outside survey are available here:
https://www.humboldt-foundation.de/web/Germany-from-the-Outside.html

The responses provided by more than 1,800 Humboldt fellows at the conclusion of their research stay in Germany were evaluated. Using a predefined scale, participating junior researchers answered an online questionnaire to evaluate various aspects of their work and life in Germany at the end of their guest stay which averaged 18 months. The respondents also had the opportunity to make comments. All responses were anonymised and assessed. More than 95 percent of the individuals from more than 140 countries who were sponsored during the last six years took part in the survey. The results therefore provide a comprehensive, representative picture of what the Foundation’s fellows think of Germany.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

Every year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables more than 2,000 researchers from all over the world to spend time researching in Germany. The Foundation maintains a network of well over 29,000 Humboldtians from all disciplines in more than 140 countries worldwide – including 55 Nobel Laureates.

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