Political Staff and Organization

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is headed by Federal Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research is headed by Federal Minister Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka. She is supported in her duties by the Parliamentary State Secreteraries Stefan Müller and Thomas Rachel, and the Permanent State Secretaries Cornelia Quennet-Thielen and Dr. Georg Schütte. The Federal Ministry, with over 900 staff members, is divided into eight Directorates-General.

The Directorates-General

The BMBF is organized in eight Directorates-General, each of which is responsible for different tasks.

Directorate-General Z - Central Services

The Directorate-General for Central Services discharges central control and regulatory functions and provides a suitable framework for optimum work in the BMBF. It covers the responsibilities of human resources and staff development, organization, staff planning and management, budget, legal affairs, data protection, and information technology. Further tasks are tender review and corruption prevention, controlling, grant-awarding procedures, and staff at BMBF-funded research institutions.

Directorate-General 1 - Strategies and Policy Issues

Directorate-General 1 deals with policy and strategy issues. This includes the further development of the High-Tech Strategy, the development of a basic concept for innovation policy, and the creation of effective instruments for the promotion of the gifted. Another task is raising awareness of research through public dialogue and the Science Years. And finally, Directorate-General 1 performs an advisory function within the BMBF and addresses generic issues. Central fields of work are innovation-friendly framework conditions, new perspectives for the knowledge society, cooperation between the Federal Government and the Länder, equal opportunities, and statistics.

Directorate-General 2 - European and International Cooperation in Education and Research

Directorate-General 2 is responsible for the governance and development of Germany's international cooperation in education and research. This includes cooperation within Europe and the European Union, bilateral relations throughout the world, and German representation in multilateral organizations such as the OECD and the United Nations. In discharging this function, Directorate-General 2 is supported by a network of counsellors at German Embassies in major partner countries and in Brussels, by the BMBF's International Bureau at DLR, and by German research, science and education organizations that are engaged in international cooperation.

Directorate-General 3 - Vocational Training and Lifelong Learning

This Directorate-General is subdivided into two Directorates.

Directorate 31 "Vocational Training" is responsible for all questions regarding training and training places. This includes the Vocational Training Act and the Upgrading Training Assistance Act. The development of new training occupations, the modernization of existing training occupations and the regulation of required qualifications in further training are a permanent task. The annual Report on Vocational Education documents the development of initial and continuing vocational training in Germany.

Directorate 32 deals with the areas of lifelong learning, educational research and continuing education. Horizontal topics, such as cultural education and new media in education are also developed further in this Directorate. The most extensive national school programme to establish all-day schools is located here just as the monitoring of international benchmarking studies (e.g. PISA) and the national education report issued jointly by the Federal Government and the Länder.

Directorate-General 4 - Science systems

Directorate-General 4 deals with the development and promotion of the German science system, including institutions of higher education and non-university research, and with support for the cultural sciences. Its responsibilities in the higher education sector include the Initiative for Excellence, the Higher Education Pact 2020 and the Quality Pact for Teaching, the Bologna reform, legislation in higher education, and training assistance legislation. Further tasks are the development of the German science system, joint promotion of science together with the Länder, support for research infrastructures, and the improvement of general conditions for science (Academic Freedom Initiative).

Directorate-General 5 - Key technologies - Research for Innovation

All projects related to modern key technologies are located in Directorate-General 5. These technologies open up new market and employment opportunities; they enable sustainable business, change vocational requirements and influence our everyday life. Nanotechnologies, electronics, optical technologies or microsystems technology are among them just as modern software systems, the further development of the Internet or the development of security research. Research at universities of applied sciences ensures that innovative research projects are rapidly implemented in industry; in this field too, Directorate-General 5 is making contributions.

Directorate-General 6 - Life Sciences - Research for Health

Directorate-General 6 is responsible for all central research areas in the life sciences. The area of health research includes basic genetic aspects, the origin and prevention of illnesses, effective control of the most common diseases, a healthy diet, individualized medicine, the treatment of patients suffering from specific diseases or requiring long-term care, and the innovative capacity of the health care industry.

Responsibility in the area of bio-economy focuses on the development of innovative concepts for securing an adequate food supply and for using renewable resources and biotechnological methods which save resources and the environment and protect the climate. Promoting the dialogue on ethical and legal aspects is another important task because research results may have a lasting impact on our lives.

Directorate-General 7 – Provision for the Future - Basic and Sustainability Research

Directorate-General 7 deals with central issues of government provision for the future. It covers a broad range of activities from basic scientific research to sustainability research. This includes research into the structure of matter and the origin of the universe, the changes and risks in System Earth, the future of the energy supply, the potential of new environmental technologies, climate change and its impact, and the prospects of sustainability concepts including social and economic aspects.

Directorate-General 7 is responsible for project funding in these areas and addresses institutional issues of major national and international centres which operate large research facilities for basic scientific research and nuclear fusion.