From the Neanderthal genome to the WHO Hub

Germany is canvassing for researchers and skilled professionals from all over the world. The Federal Government wants to generate more momentum with new strategies.

Swedish Nobel Prize winner Svante Pääbo conducts his research in Leipzig.
Swedish Nobel Prize winner Svante Pääbo conducts his research in Leipzig. picture alliance/dpa

Swedish-born scientist Svante Pääbo has been working at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig since 1997 – 25 years later, he has been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Medicine. His greatest scientific success is considered to be decoding the Neanderthal genome. "His work has revolutionized our understanding of the evolutionary history of modern humans," says Max Planck Society President Martin Stratmann.

Science is networked worldwide, and Pääbo, a Swede conducting research in Leipzig, is an outstanding example of this. The Max Planck Society, to which his institute belongs, is Germany's most successful research organization with 30 Nobel Prize winners to date. Creating good framework conditions in industry for excellent scientists, but also for skilled professionals from all over the world, is one of the key tasks of politics in Germany.

Promoting cutting-edge research and a new strategy to attract skilled labour

In 2022, the Federal Government decided, among other things, to further develop its Excellence Strategy. The purpose of this funding programme is to provide long-term support for cutting-edge research at German universities, thereby strengthening the country's position as a centre for science and research in the face of international competition. Among other things, the developments now adopted will result in a total of 687 million euros per year being available via the Excellence Strategy from 2026.

Worldwide attention is being paid to another reform launched by the Federal Government in October 2022: the skilled labour strategy. Among other things, this will make it easier for skilled workers from abroad to come to Germany. "We need every bright mind and every helping hand to stay economically strong," says Federal Labour Minister Hubertus Heil.

Commitment for global health

International cooperation is essential in science and research. This is especially true when it comes to global health issues, as the coronavirus pandemic has painfully demonstrated in recent years. One of the world's most important conferences on the subject took place in Berlin in mid-October: the World Health Summit (WHS). Another visible sign of Germany's role in combatting future pandemics is the fact that the World Health Organization (WHO) set up a Global Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence in Berlin back in late 2021. Tobias Lindner, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office, sees it as a matter of principle: "We need to take precautions and strengthen international cooperation."

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