Ten reasons to move to Germany as a researcher
Affordable cost of living In Western Europe, Germany stands out as having a relatively low cost of living. The most expensive German city in a Europe-wide comparison is the Bavarian capital Munich, ranked 38th. Paris ranks 14th, Dublin 20th, and London 23rd, while Berlin ranks 85th. According to the German government, the average monthly cost of housing, food and clothing per family was over €1,300 (US$1,500) in 2016. Skilled student Every year, about 27,000 Germans earn PhDs, with more than half in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. The percentage of doctoral graduates is the highest in the European Union (EU) at 2.2%. This large pool of graduates is in high demand because of their skill level and experience in research laboratories around the world, says Frauke Melchior, a chemist at Heidelberg University. Before starting a doctorate, German students will typically have spent at least three years on a bachelor’s degree and two years on a master’s degree, with lots of laboratory experience. In the United States, students spend at least two years on a bachelor’s degree, during which they will take on a variety of subjects with little or no laboratory work. Melchior, who discovered the protein-modified sumo family in 1996 while working at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, sees the extensive experience of German students as a major advantage. “If I had the choice between an American PhD candidate and a German, I would have taken the German.” Fahrvergnügen. the joy of The term Fahrvergnügen, which translates as pleasure or enjoyment of driving, was popularized by the German carmaker Volkswagen, but can be said to describe the German transport infrastructure in general. The German Autobahn system, the second longest motorway network in Europe at approximately 13,000 km, has no speed limits on half of its routes. High R&D Expenses Between 2006 and 2016, Germany increased its domestic spending on research and development from just 2.5% to about 3% of its gross domestic product (GDP). This marks the third largest increase in the EU and ranks the country behind only Sweden and Austria in the EU in terms of its overall spending levels as a ratio of GDP. Steady progress Germany’s healthy economy means that it offers plenty of employment opportunities in the private sector. The unemployment rate has been falling since the 2008 financial crisis and hit a low of 3.3% in November 2018. Valerie Domke, a theoretical physicist at the German Electron Synchrotron in Hamburg, says: “I think in Germany, for students who decide not to stay in research, the chances of getting a job in the private sector are very good. In Italy, Where he worked in the past, physics students often weren’t sure where they would find work.” But because the job market in Germany is great, anyone studying physics need not worry about hitting the road. There is no need,” she says. A government forecast for 2030 shows that this trend is set to continue and there will be an especially high demand for people in the health professions, management, engineering and the natural sciences. Christmas cash More than half of Germany’s workers receive the so-called thirteenth pay, or ‘Christmas money’. The amount paid can vary by industry, but it is not tied to a company’s revenue and is usually paid at the end of the calendar year. Similar plans exist in Austria and Italy. Affordable childcare The cost of raising children is heavily subsidized by the German government. The social-welfare system guarantees a monthly childcare allowance of at least €194 per child, with generous tax deductions depending on the family’s financial situation, to anyone living in Germany. Biomedical engineer Malgorzata Wlodarczyk-Biegun began her career in her native Poland and earned her PhD at Wageningen University in the Netherlands shortly after the birth of her daughter. She now works at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in the small town of Saarbrücken, where she appreciates her lab’s proximity to an affordable daycare center. “When the weather’s nice, we bike to his kindergarten,” she says. Childcare costs can vary widely depending not only on the city but also on the individual neighborhood. Nevertheless, seven hours of childcare can cost as little as €12 in Hamburg, one of the most expensive cities in Germany. “Childcare in the Netherlands was great, but of course here, it’s a lot more affordable,” says Wlodarczyk-Beagun. Collaborative research Germany has over 270 collaborative research centers funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for periods of up to 12 years, giving researchers time to work on complex, long-term, multidisciplinary projects at universities and institutions. Get. In 2017, DFG spent approximately €3.2 billion on research funding.


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