A physicist by training, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has a proven affinity for science.
Thanks to generous government funding, German research has thrived since she first came to power eight years ago. But as she prepares for a probable third term in office after elections on 22 September — the governing coalition between her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and the Free Democrats is well ahead in polls — scientists and science organizations are concerned that the years of plenty may soon be over.
On the face of it, there does not seem too much to worry about. Since 2005, the federal government’s overall science spending has increased by a whopping 60% — from €9 billion (US$12 billion) up to around €14.4 billion in 2013 (see ‘The rise of German science’). By comparison, in 1995–2005, the German science budget rose by only 7.5%. Industrial research has also flourished: Germany is now close to spending 3%…
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