Public Research Institutions in East Germany: a Promising Base for Economic Upturn?
In the 1990s a lot was done to strengthen public research efforts in East Germany. The main indicators relating to public research reflect an ambivalent picture. Investment by universities and public research institutions outside the universities reached a higher level than in West Germany. However, there remains an East-West gap with respect to the capital stock. The per capita stock of R&D staff in the university sector reached almost the level in the old Länder. With respect to the university R&D in engineering sciences, among those fields of university research which are particularly business-related, per capita stock of staff as well as per capita investment in the Eastern German Länder are above the West German level. In university natural science the East-West pattern of the R&D input factors mentioned is reversed. The receipts of the universities acquired from research contracts, which may be used as an indicator to assess the quality of public research, reveal shortcomings. These shortcomings, though these have been partly caused by the transitional situation in East Germany`s universities, where new institutions were built up only gradually. The R&D institutions outside the universities are obviously better equipped than such institutions in West Germany. The visible advantages offered by public sector research institutions in East Germany might be used much more intensively to foster the economic reconstruction in East Germany. In parallel with this, the remaining shortcomings of public R&D in East Germany should be eliminated. If reductions in universities´ capacities (due, for instance, to a declining number of persons who have a university entrance qualification) seem to be inevitable, the consequences of such restrictions should be carefully reconsidered.