About the programme "Understanding Society – Shaping the Future"

Research conducted in Germany in the humanities, cultural sciences and social sciences is highly regarded all over the world. It is strengthened by targeted funding provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and is always geared to current requirements.

In recent years, the BMBF has launched two framework programmes for the promotion of the humanities and social sciences: the funding initiative "Freiraum für die Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung" (2007 - 2012), and the funding initiative "Geistes-, Kultur und Sozialwissenschaften" (2013 - 2017). The core objectives were the internationalisation of the humanities, cultural sciences and social sciences, structural education, and the encouragement of young academics. The results are impressive: The research competencies and achievements of the humanities and social sciences are much more visible both within the academic community and in the public perception of them.

Programme "Understanding Society – Shaping the Future” (2019-2025)

Building on this, the current BMBF Framework Programme "Understanding Society – Shaping the Future” is strengthening the humanities and social sciences: It creates scope for researchers and for research into new subject areas, as well as for the development of powerful research data infrastructures. The humanities and social sciences, as explained in detail in Research, can thus provide a greater contribution to understanding social developments, accompany and promote social innovations, contribute to the development and preservation of cultural heritage and, for example, harmonise social diversity and cohesion. Around 700 million euros will be available for this purpose up to 2025.

This support is also essential in view of the growing number of students, the teaching hours, and the underfunding of the humanities and social sciences, especially of the so-called Secondary Subjects. Ultimately, the aim is to preserve and expand the diversity and expertise that characterises Germany as a research location, to encourage young academics, to improve international competitiveness, and to give science a fresh impetus, especially by means of innovative research based on needs-based research data infrastructures.

To ensure that academic findings are better directed to where they are needed, the current Framework Programme specially promotes the application orientation of research in the humanities and social sciences, whether by means of cooperation with partners in practice or via more intensive academic communication.

With its focus on research aimed at overcoming societal challenges, the current BMBF Framework Programme complements both the High-Tech Strategy 2025 of the Federal Government and the Research Framework Programme of the European Union.