Leopoldina president warns: science will lose in the crisis

Leopoldina president warns: science will lose in the crisis


Seat of the Leopoldina, the National Academy of Sciences, in Halle an der Saale
Image: photo alliance / Eibner press photo

Science loses in the crisis: cold universities, job losses, an “energy lockdown” is imminent. Only billions can help. A guest post.

youCarniolan scientists are among the direct victims of the Russian war of aggression against their country. In addition to the enormous existential risks they are exposed to every day, the partially targeted destruction of the research infrastructure threatens the future of the Ukrainian science system as a whole. The coverage of this is accompanied by the question of which political measures are most suitable to mitigate the consequences of the war that threaten Germany and Europe. In this debate, science takes on the role of an adviser sought after by politicians and the media. This shows, as during the coronavirus pandemic, that scientifically based analyzes and action options, the authors of which are independent of individual political and economic interests, can make a central contribution to rationally understandable and thus consensus-based state decisions, especially in crises that affect society as a whole. .

However, if you follow the debate about drastically rising gas prices, impending bottlenecks in the energy supply and worryingly high inflation, you should realize that one aspect is almost forgotten: the negative consequences of the crisis, which are now starting to affect the German science system. . However, its resilience to crises is an indispensable precondition for Germany to survive the current critical situation relatively unscathed and also to use the incentives it offers for innovation. Without sufficient funding for science, a decline in innovation capacity is inevitable and with it the long-term economic decline of Germany. Successfully shaping Germany’s transformation to a sustainable society will become increasingly difficult if, in addition to structure-preserving subsidies, not much more is invested in future potential.

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