Consultancy for Politics and Society

Since 2009, the science academies consolidated under the umbrella of the Union of German Academies have been actively engaged in political and societal consultancy under the leadership of Leopoldina - the German National Academy of Sciences – and in cooperation with acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering.

Consultancy for Politics and Society

In a time of continuous change, politics and society are often forced to make reasonable decisions quickly. For this reason, the demand for reliable bases for making these kinds of decisions is growing rapidly. Together with national and international partners, the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities has taken upon itself the urgent task of providing accessible, reliable, nonpartisan information on the current status of related research in the humanities and natural sciences in order to highlight the relevance and application of this in relation to today’s societal challenges.

Outstanding researchers from Germany and abroad, including academy members and other experts, work in interdisciplinary groups to produce position statements and therewith recommendations and courses of action for current socio-political issues. All statements are subject to evaluation by independent experts prior to publication. This guarantees that decision-making in politics and society is informed by independent scholarly expertise. The Union works closely with Leopoldina – the German National Academy of Sciences – and acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering. In addition to publishing statements, individual member academies of the Union also host public events, offering a forum for open discussion with society and granting the public the opportunity to get involved in the production of politically relevant knowledge.

On this interface of science, politics and society, we thus witness key processes in the translation of academic research into societal knowledge and political action.

Cornerstones of Political Consultancy

  • Transparent and well documented working methods
  • Open and unbiased consultation based on expertise from various different disciplines
  • Position statements free of economic and political interests that provide recommendations for action on concrete societal issues
  • Accessible presentation and wide dissemination of recommendations as a basis for public discussion

Standing Committee

Ever since it was named the German National Academy of Sciences on 14th July 2008, the Leopoldina has upped its involvement in knowledge-based socio-political consulting, working to this end in close cooperation with acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering – and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. For this reason, Leopoldina set up a standing committee governed by their president.

The standing committee meets once every three months to discuss the topics to be delegated to the collaborative working groups that produce position statements and recommendations. These meetings allow representatives from all German science academies to address issues concerning socio-political consultancy that they hold to be particularly important.

Standing Committee Members:

From Leopoldina:

  • Prof. Dr Jörg Hacker, President of Leopoldina, Chair
  • Prof. Dr Bärbel Friedrich
  • Prof. Dr. Frank Rösler, Member of the Leopoldina Presidium

From acatech – the National Academy of Science and Engineering:

  • Prof. Dr Reinhard F. Hüttl, President of acatech
  • Prof. Dr Henning Kagermann, President of acatech
  • PD Dr Michael Klein, General Secretary of acatech

From the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities:

  • Prof. Dr Dr Hanns Hatt, President of the Union of German Academies of Scienes and Humanities
  • Prof. Dr Martin Grötschel, President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW)
  • Prof. Dr Gernot Wilhelm, President of the Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz

Council of Presidents

The Council of Presidents is currently comprised of the President of Leopoldina, Prof. Jörg Hacker (lead), one of the two presidents of acatech, and the President of the Union, Prof. Günter Stock. The Council generally meets once a month to discuss key issues concerning their collaborative efforts in socio-political consultancy.


© Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften 2014