France and Germany start joint climate change research

France and Germany have launched a joint research programme as a contribution to implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. The programme, part of the French ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ initiative, invites climate, energy and earth system scientists worldwide to engage in research in the two countries.

The Franco-German Fellowship Programme on Climate, Energy and Earth System Research is conceived for a period of four years. Germany and France are inviting international scientists to form groups concentrating on sustainability research in the fields of climate change, energy transition and understanding the Earth system.

Programme activities in Germany under the 'Make Our Planet Great Again – German Research Initiative' are to receive funding via the German Academic Exchange Service, or DAAD, from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

With the €15 million (US$18 million) provided, excellent scientists of all nationalities in areas related to achieving the climate goals stipulated in the Paris Agreement will be offered the opportunity to establish research groups at German universities and extra-university research institutions.

Both experienced and junior scientists are invited to join the programme, which seeks to boost international links among researchers. Applicants are required to have worked outside Germany for at least the past two years. The programme is also hoped to give new impetus to climate-relevant research in Germany.

“Germany can boast an excellent research landscape, offering optimum conditions for international researchers, also for those working in the climate, Earth system and energy research fields,” DAAD President Margret Wintermantel maintains. “With this programme, we are happy to send out a strong signal emphasising international research in these fields and contribute to the climate goals set in Paris.”

Germany’s Federal Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka and her French counterpart Frédérique Vidal already announced co-operation between the two countries in the context of France’s ‘Make our Planet Great Again’ initiative for climate, energy and Earth system research, at the 19th Franco-German Council of Ministers meeting in July.

The initiative is based on a pledge by the French government in June to combat climate change by providing €30 million (US$36 million) for climate-related research. The French government's ‘Make Our Planet Great Again’ funding is complemented by an additional €30 million contributed by research institutions in France.

The name of the initiative goes back to French President Emmanuel Macron’s adaptation of US President Donald Trump’s nationalist slogan, ‘Make America Great Again’, to the climate issue as a response to the US pulling out of the Paris Agreement on 1 June.

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