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UK and Germany sign Joint Declaration of Intent for science and research collaboration

Written by Wed 13 Mar 2024

The UK Science and Technology Secretary, Michelle Donelan, and the Federal Minister of Education and Research for Germany, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, have announced they will sign a Joint Declaration of Intent committing both countries to broaden their science and research links.

The UK Government said it will look at applying funds available through the £337 million ($431.1 million) International Science Partnerships Fund to enable UK researchers and innovators to collaborate with German partners on key projects.

“By supporting our brightest minds and leading institutions to work together, we will maximise the opportunities for them to create new jobs, build new businesses, and ultimately deliver a better quality of life for us all,” said Michelle Donelan, UK Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology.

As part of the announcement, the British Academy and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) are awarding the inaugural Global Innovation Fellowships, aimed at fostering collaborative research on global order dynamics. 

Based at DGAP’s Berlin headquarters, the Government said these one-year fellowships will help facilitate joint research efforts. Later this year, a call for additional fellowships will be launched to support this initiative.

The British Academy has announced plans for three symposia over the next three years in partnership with Germany’s Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. These events are intended to unite early career researchers from both countries, enhancing opportunities for joint work in humanities and social sciences.

These initiatives coincided with efforts to strengthen UK-German research collaboration through programmes like Horizon Europe. 

“Today’s exchange of views together with the science communities in Germany and the UK is only the beginning. Our Joint Declaration of Intent provides the basis for good and close cooperation to strengthen science and research,” said Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Science of Germany.

The meeting between the UK and Germany gathered figures from both countries’ science and research communities, like the Max-Planck Society, the Royal Society, Universities UK, and the Helmholtz Association. Its objective is to explore opportunities for collaborative R&D across quantum and artificial intelligence (AI) to clean technology and research security. 

To solidify these ambitions, the UK and German governments will establish a Strategic Working Group, tasked with translating these aspirations into tangible action plans.

Past Partnerships Between the UK and Germany

The Government highlighted the already robust relationship between the UK and Germany in science, technology, and research. The Government said Germany stands as the UK’s second-largest global research collaborator and represents the UK’s primary research partner within Europe. 

The Government said previous collaborations, like the EAVI2020 project for HIV-AIDS vaccines, illustrate the fruitful partnership between UK and German researchers. Institutions like Imperial College London are also playing a role, evidenced by their renewed partnership with Germany’s Technical University of Munich, focusing on AI, health, and sustainability.

Both nations play pivotal roles in renowned international scientific organisations like CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, and the European Space Agency.

In November, the UK and Germany made a pact to help secure safe, affordable, and clean energy for consumers in both nations. The collaboration seeks to enhance energy security in both countries.

In September, The UK and Germany signed an agreement to accelerate the development of an international hydrogen industry. A Joint Declaration of Intent solidified the collaboration between the UK and Germany to support international hydrogen trade.

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Written by Wed 13 Mar 2024

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