The budget proposals debated today in the German Bundestag (federal parliament) clearly show that the governing coalition parties are willing to strengthen universities and academia despite the additional burdens and uncertainties resulting from Russia's war of aggression on Ukraine. In this context, the President of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), Prof Dr Peter-André Alt, just commented in Berlin:
"The federal government's programme for this legislative period focuses on innovation, the transition to sustainability and strengthening resilience in all areas of society. It is therefore right and important that the universities are further strengthened by solid and resilient funding to be able to assume their role as drivers and practical actors of science-based development in the associated process. The budget committee has set this in motion in its bill."
With regard to the annual increase in the funds made available within the framework of the Future Contract for Strengthening Studying and Teaching in Higher Education (Zukunftsvertrag Studium und Lehre stärken), as promised in the Coalition Agreement, the HRK President explained:
"The annual dynamic adjustment of the funds made available to universities through the Future Contract is an important turning point in higher education funding. The Bundestag now has the opportunity to turn this project into reality from 2023 onwards. The federal government and the federal states are thus recognising for the first time the importance of the universities as the 'heart of the research system' also in fiscal terms. In order to be able to fulfil and develop their central role, universities need a clear, reliable funding horizon appropriate for the tasks they fulfil. It is therefore of outstanding importance for the German higher education system that the annual increase in funding from the Future Contract, as well as the already agreed, one-time level adjustment in 2024, be adopted. It is clear that, in view of the conflicts in Europe and the associated uncertainty, this will require a joint show of strength by the federal and state governments. However, it is equally obvious that the universities in particular will contribute significantly to concepts that are suitable for coping with the tasks ahead. To achieve this, the universities must be sustainably strengthened, also and especially financially," Alt continued.