Germany’s research and innovation system stands the test

Research and innovation policy Germany’s research and innovation system stands the test

Germany possesses a powerful research and innovation system which has proven itself despite the challenges of the COVID-19 – coronavirus 2019, caused by an infection with the SARS-CoV-2 viral pandemic. This is a conclusion of the Federal Report on Research and innovation 2022, which the Federal Cabinet approved today.


The Federal Report provides information every two years on the development of research and innovation in Germany.

Photo: mauritius images / Bruno Golemac / Alamy

Research and science were on everyone’s lips during the coronavirus pandemic, including Germany’s research activities. In a very short time, they provided a number of answers to the pandemic, such as by developing vaccines and testing procedures. This shows that Germany possesses a stable and powerful research and innovation system.

In addition, the number of persons employed in research and development remained more or less constant in 2020, despite the pandemic. This is shown by the Federal Report on Research and Innovation 2022, which was approved in the Federal Cabinet on Wednesday.

Every two years, the Federal Report on Research and Innovation gives comprehensive information on the research and innovation policy of the Federal and Länder Governments in accordance with a resolution by the Bundestag. In doing so, it takes a position on key statements by the report of the Expert Commission on Research and Innovation (EFI), which was most recently presented to the Federal Government in March 2022.

Statements on the current state of Germany as a research location

The Federal Report firstly provides information on Germany as a research location.
According to provisional calculations, the state, business and higher education institutions invested around 105.9 billion euros in research and development in 2020, the reference year for the report. This corresponds to 3.14 percent of Germany's economic output, making Germany still one of the most research-intensive countries in the world.

However, this is a reduction of 3.8 percent compared with the previous year. Thus, Germany was not able to continue the dynamic development of the past few years, even though spending by the Federal Government on research and development was considerably increased in 2020 in order to relieve the effects of the pandemic.

The Federal Government still aims to work with Länder and businesses to invest 3.5 percent of GPD in research and development by 2025.

Coming challenges

The Federal Report on Research and Innovation 2022 also gives an outlook on future challenges for research and innovation policy.

Given the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU and its partners face the task of readjusting international relationships while reducing dependencies. The aim is particularly to secure technological and digital sovereignty and to strengthen research and investment in the area of the rapidly developing key technologies – for example, in the area of energy or cyber security.

With regard to climate change, a far-reaching transformation of the economy and society is required. For this, we need ground-breaking research and innovation. These are essential for the future viability, freedom and prosperity of Germany and Europe.

Start of a transformation decade

Germany offers researchers in academia and business a unique space for the unfolding and development of new ideas. These are urgently necessary in order to cope with the great social challenges of the next few decades. The Federal Government will build on this and initiate the start of a transformation decade – for example, with a future strategy for research and innovation. This is intended to fulfil the changed requirements on the state, policymakers and administration caused by the current crises and the necessary transformation processes.