Press release

Study on “Germany from the outside”: Research great, bureaucracy a problem

Humboldt Foundation analyses the experiences of its sponsorship recipients from 119 countries.

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Detailed findings from the “Germany from the outside” study 

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation has analysed the feedback from more than 1,800 Humboldt fellows from 119 countries who were hosted by a German university or research institute between August 2018 and May 2022. 

The study shows how Germany compares to the respondents’ own countries. In an online questionnaire and in free-form comments, young researchers evaluated various aspects of their work and lives in Germany at the end of their research stays which lasted an average of 18 months. 

Without exception, Germany scored highly for its qualities as a location for conducting research in comparison to the respondents’ native countries. Based on a scale of 0 to 10, top scores (8 or higher) were given for infrastructure, quality of research, project financing opportunities, internationality and childcare. The scores for dual-career options, the promotion of junior researchers, and career prospects were scored positively, but not quite as high on the scale. The only negative score went to bureaucracy. Only fellows from Asia viewed Germany as not being so bureaucratic. The worst score for this category came from sponsorship recipients from North America. 

Many comments were critical of German bureaucracy (27 percent of all comments), followed by language barriers (26 percent). Six percent of all comments focused on discrimination or racism. Fellows from Sub-Saharan Africa reported instances of discrimination or racism particularly often (10 percent of the respondents from this region) while their counterparts from European countries commented least often on this subject (four percent).

You can also read more about this study in “What´s next?“, the latest issue of the Humboldt Kosmos magazine“ which marks the foundation’s 70th anniversary.

(Press release 11/2023)

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