How strong is the international dimension of the German science and innovation system, compared to other countries? To answer this question, we need valid indicators. The International Bureau supports the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in developing this in discussions with the research and agency organisations.

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Valid indicators are needed in order to be able to evaluate the quality of the international dimension of a science and innovation system. However, a generally accepted, internationally comparable set of indicators does not currently exist. Against this background, the BMBF announced in its Action Plan on “International Cooperation” (PDF, 4.6 MB) in the autumn of 2014 that it would design an indicator system. This was to be achieved by making detailed use of existing data sources, closely linked with the relevant national, European and international processes. At a national level, the Project on the Standardisation of a Core Research Data Set, which was financed by the BMBF, could be mentioned as an example; at a European level, there is the ERA Monitoring Mechanism/EMM. Internationally, above all the OECD is an important reference point.

These measures are in line with the Strategy of the Federal Government on the Internationalisation of Science and Research (PDF, 113 KB). issued in 2008. This states: “The conditions for collecting consistent and internationally compatible data for an international benchmarking of the German science system and its services are created in consultation with the German science organisations.”

The International Bureau supports the BMBF in this task. In 2011, a first workshop was organised to record the internationalisation of the German science and innovation system. The BMBF and IB discussed possible approaches on the quantitative description and evaluation of the level of internationalisation with research organisations and agencies. This dialogue continues with the objective of further honing the joint approach and of optimising and synchronising ongoing reporting and consultation processes in the area of internationalisation indicators at a national, European and international level.