The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) congratulates the newly elected Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz and his cabinet. The DAAD is looking forward to cooperating with the new leaders of the Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministries of Education and Research and for Economic Cooperation and Development in particular.

‘I extend my warmest congratulations to Olaf Scholz on his appointment as the ninth Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany. In view of the coalition agreement, we expect the new federal government to set crucial impulses for global academic exchange, international academic cooperation, internationalisation of German higher education institutions and for strengthening the European higher education area. We are also looking forward to collaborating with the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock, the Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger and the Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Svenja Schulze,’ said DAAD President Professor Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.

Progress in foreign academic policy

‘The importance of foreign academic policy in times of increasing international instability is stressed in the coalition agreement,’ Mukherjee pointed out, saying that this was why it was welcome to see that experiences and impulses contributed by the DAAD were taken up for various aspects. He continued to say that this was the case, for example, concerning the clear commitment to intensifying German science diplomacy and maintaining academic relations also with challenging partner countries, as well as regarding an increase in the promotion of scientific freedom and the development of protection programmes for students and researchers. ‘German foreign academic policy is becoming ever more important in the Anthropocene epoch. International academic cooperation is the only way for addressing great global challenges such as man-made climate change, sustainable food systems and extreme societal and economic conflicts,’ the DAAD President said.

Focussing on Europe

The DAAD’s considerations concerning a systematic promotion of Europe as an academic location in global competition are also taken up in the coalition agreement. These include commitments to the world’s most successful exchange programme Erasmus+ that supports the development of a European identity among the young generation, as well as to strengthening European university networks. The DAAD also appreciates the statements made regarding the cultivation and further development of academic relations with the United Kingdom following Brexit.

Strengthening the DAAD

The coalition agreement strengthens many relevant aspects of German research. The announced comprehensive reform of the federal student loan system BAföG is particularly good news for many students. ‘It goes without saying that we are especially happy about the fact that the new federal government intends to financially strengthen the DAAD reliably on the long term, in its role as the biggest foreign academic policy agent – and that the same is true for our friends from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.  The commitment to increase our institutional funding in line with the Pact for Research and Innovation, that is by three percent per year, is evidence of the federal government’s great trust in our work,’ Mukherjee explained. ‘We will not disappoint this trust.’