Preliminary Notes

Excellent education, qualification, science and research are prerequisites for the present and future success of Germany in the international competition.

Education and qualification are the key to social participation and integration of each and every one© thinkstock

Education, science and research strengthen a society. This is especially true in times of crisis. When it came to combating coronavirus, science provided us with important tools: Vaccines, testing and research into the infection helped us get through the pandemic as well as possible. These successes were also possible thanks to support from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). A prominent example is the vaccine developed by the Mainz-based company BioNTech.

However, we do not rely on spectacular scientific achievements alone. Good education provides the basis for everything that comes later. It is therefore excellent news that, according to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office, total spending on education, research and science increased again and reached a new record of 334 billion euros in 2020. As a result, the share of expenditure on education, research and science as a proportion of Germany’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased for the fourth consecutive year, bringing it to 9.9 percent. The Federal Government played a key role in achieving this. In 2020, spending on research and development was almost 21 billion euros, while expenditure on education was around 13 billion euros.

New challenges have since arisen in education: Tens of thousands of children and young people from Ukraine have been and are still being admitted to Germany's schools. At the same time, we must step up our efforts significantly to achieve digital transformation in education. For Germany is a place of innovation – and that is what we want it to continue to be. In order for us to remain strong and capable of withstanding crises, expenditure on education, research and science must continue to rise in the coming years. We are faced with enormous challenges: Following the coronavirus pandemic, climate change will move into focus more than ever before.

An important point is to address education and innovation policy as one. One example is the digital transformation which is changing the way we learn, work and conduct research. Statistical data on education, research and science help us to better understand our current situation and thus provide an important basis for policy action. Citizens need to be capable of making informed judgement calls in order to participate in public debate. The publication “Education and Research in Figures” provides an overview of key data that reflect what has been happening. Further education and research statistics can be found here on the BMBF’s data portal. We hope you will enjoy browsing through the data!