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Facts and Findings

German Universities in International Comparison

by Dr. Norbert Arnold, Felise Maennig-Fortmann

Challenges and Need for Action

The modernisation of teaching and research as well as increased financial support and structural reforms are essential in order to further improve the international competitiveness of Germany as a university location. High-quality education and excellent research play an outstanding role in promoting innovation and creating economic prosperity in Germany and Europe. Investments in this area must therefore be seen as long-term, non-negotiable investments in the future, even in financially difficult times.

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No German university can be found in the top group in international rankings. Even if university rankings are rightly criticised, they do provide an indication of the performance of universities. They confirm that there is considerable potential for improvement in Germany. Whether basic research or application-orientated research, whether teaching or transfer: universities in Germany need the support of politicians in order to become more competitive. After all, excellence in education and research is crucial for innovation and economic prosperity in Germany and Europe.

This text emphasises the significant underfunding of universities in Germany and formulates ten priority areas for action to improve teaching and research. Better funding, structural reforms and an even stronger integration of German universities into the European Higher Education and Research Area are crucial to improving the global competitiveness of Germany as a centre of higher education. Even in times of tight budgets, this must be a priority area for political action.

Read the entire analysis "Hochschulen im internationalen Wettbewerb" here as a PDF. The publication is only available in German.

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Christina Thelen

Christina Thelen

Science and Research Policy +49 30 26996 3839

Felise Maennig-Fortmann

Felise Maennig-Fortmann bild

Education and University Policy +49 30 26996 3768


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About this series

The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


Dr. Kristin Wesemann


Head of Strategy and Planning +49 30 26996-3803

Sophie Steybe

Referentin Publikationen +49 30 26996-3726