The wide-ranging work of Anja Karliczek, Federal Minister of Education and Research in Germany is examined here. With a focus on Horizon 2020 and biodiversity, we find out that these two excellent examples of science and research policy take us beyond the borders of the country
This article will look at the wide-ranging work of Anja Karliczek, who became Federal Minister of Education and Research and a Member of the German government of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel during March 2018. We’ll also look at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s (BMBF’s) views on Germany’s role in Horizon 2020 and their policies around biodiversity in the country. Before we do this, let’s take a look at Anja Karliczek’s career background. She was born in Ibbenbüren, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany on 29th April 1971.
Political career and academic background
Looking at Anja Karliczek’s political career and academic background, we know this included her time training and working for Deutsche Bank AG, as well as training in hotel management, where she gained qualifications to train apprentices. She also worked in a managerial position at the Hotel Teutoburger Wald in the 1990’s until becoming a Member of the German Federal Parliament (Bundestag) five years ago, in 2013.
Looking at her academic background, it’s worth noting here that she studied business management at the FernUniversität Hagen in 2008, gaining a diploma thesis, which concerned the fiscal advantages of transferring pension obligations from the perspective of the employer.
Anja Karliczek’s parliamentary background is rather interesting to look at, so let’s take a look at some of this before getting up-to-date with some of the present day objectives of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Parliamentary Secretary of the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group was a position she was elected to in January 2017. Anja Karliczek was a Full Member of the Tourism Committee from October 2013 to January 2017 and also Deputy Member of the Budget Committee and the 4th Committee of Inquiry.
We noted earlier Anja Karliczek’s experience in hotel management. More recently, in the areas of tourism, she was responsible for initial and continuing training in the hotel and catering sector, the EU funding period 2014-2020 and quality initiatives in the German tourist industry. In addition, she was the Parliamentary Group’s rapporteur on the Finance Committee for the subjects of old age provision, the Life Insurance Reform Act and Solvency II with the Investment Directive, as well as employee shareholding.
Anja Karliczek’s political career began in 2004 when she was elected as Member of Tecklenburg Town Council. She held the position here as Chair of the Lengerich Adult Education Centre Association and Chair of the Committee for Families, Senior Citizens and Social Affairs.
Deputy Chair of the CDU political group on Tecklenburg Town Council in 2009 is another position she held, plus it’s worth noting that between 2011 and 2014, she became the leader of the Tecklenburg CDU political group and took over as Chair of the Tecklenburg CDU Association. Today, she still holds this latter office. (1)
Horizon 2020 – The European Research Framework Programme
One key research policy supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is the new “Horizon 2020” framework programme which aims to create viable jobs and sustainable growth in Europe. In the Ministry’s view, research and innovation are a priority in Europe, as well as being a matter of great interest in Germany and an important part of European integration.
Horizon 2020 is giving funding in the region of €70 billion between 2014 to 2020, the activities of which encompass the entire innovation chain – from basic research to the provision of marketable services and products. The programme targets research institutions, higher education institutions, companies (especially SMEs) plus stakeholders in the wider innovation sector. We know that Horizon 2020 will support the pursuit of excellence of science in Europe, develop solutions to great societal challenges and expand the role of European industry. (2)
One example of the many areas of research supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is biodiversity. In light of the fact that the continuous loss of biodiversity is certainly a challenge for science, politics and society, the Ministry funds many research projects that set out to preserve Germany’s biodiversity.
We know that biodiversity is an important foundation for human existence in Germany and elsewhere. This is because it provides food, important medicinal ingredients, medicinal plants and natural substances (for building, clothing and raw materials), as well as so called ecosystem services, including climate regulation. It also offers protection from flooding and contributes to the provision of (drinking) water.
The loss of biodiversity is apparent in Germany, indeed, a quarter of all plant species and a third of all animal species are considered to be endangered. Under the banner of the “National Strategy for Biodiversity” (NBS), the BMBF, in partnership with the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) is funding research and implementation measures, which aim to halt the loss of biodiversity in the country and reverse the trend by 2020.
It’s worth noting here that in BMBF’s view, preserving biodiversity is comparable to the challenge that climate change presents, in that both developments are closely linked in terms of impact and cause. BMBF believes that global themes of this scale cannot be tackled in the context of national borders alone. For this reason, the BMBF has made the internationalisation of science and research one of the goals for their research funding. A joint search for solutions to tackle issues such as biodiversity and climate must take place across national borders. This policy is explained further in the quote below from the Ministry’s website, which details how biodiversity loss can be halted through the power of collaborative research, which ends this article on a positive note.
“The success of these research projects is dependent on cooperation between natural, economic, and social sciences as well as close cooperation with other stakeholders. For this reason the research projects, whether national or international, are being developed jointly with decision makers and other players in the target areas. This will allow the development of strategies and utilisation concepts that aim to realise the sustainable use of biological diversity.” (3)
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