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Science and society

Since the founding of the German Science and Humanities Council (Wissenschaftsrat, WR), it has been committed to the task of taking into account the needs of social, cultural and economic life in its activities at all times.

Over the decades, the WR has met these requirements in various ways. Most recently, for example, it did so by


The WR also increasingly addresses the question of what science and research specifically can and should contribute to society and how. The dialogical communication and transfer of scientific findings from all fields of science to society, culture, the economy and the world of politics has become the focus of science policy over recent years. This transfer is a core task and, together with research, teaching and research infrastructure offerings, it constitutes one of the essential performance areas of scientific institutions. More and more, universities and research institutions are recognising the importance of approaching partners from outside the world of science. In doing so, they are helping to advance the science-based development of society and are better able to meet the growing expectations from the world of politics and society regarding the performance of the research and higher education system. The WR has helped to initiate and shape this change in discourse.

In its publication on perspectives on the German research and higher education system (Perspektiven des deutschen Wissenschaftssystems) from 2013, the WR called for all scientific performance areas to be promoted. This specifically includes the transfer of scientific findings.

In the following papers, the WR reinforces, and elaborates on, these positions:

Prospects for agricultural and food sciences | Position paper, 2023 (will soon be published in English)
Perspektiven der Agrar- und Ernährungswissenschaften | Positionspapier (Drs. 1189-23), April 2023

Science communication | Position paper, 2021 (German version only)
Wissenschaftskommunikation | Positionspapier (Drs. 9367-21), Oktober 2021

An impulse from the COVID-19 crisis: strengthening the resilience of the research and higher education system (Press release, 25 January 2021)


Knowledge and technology transfer as an object of institutional strategies (German only):
Wissens- und Technologietransfer als Gegenstand institutioneller Strategien | Positionspapier (Drs. 5665-16), Oktober 2016

as well as

Grand Societal Challenges as a Topic for Science Policy | Position Paper (Drs. 4594-15_engl), April 2015