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German Data Forum hands over activities report to the state secretary in the education ministry Quennet-Thielen

Press Release, 28.04.2016


On 26th April 2016, Prof. Riphahn, Ph.D. (Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg) and Stefan Bender (Deutsche Bundesbank), as chairs of the German Data Forum (RatSWD), handed over an activities report for the German Data Forum’s 5th appointment period to Ms. Quennet-Thielen, the state secretary of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF). During the following meeting, they discussed the German Data Forum’s activities, focusing on evidence-based policy advice as well as national and international networking and cooperation. The German Data Forum and the education ministry highlighted their mutual interest in continuing close cooperation.

(Image Credit: BMBF / Hans-Joachim Rickel)

From the EU data protection regulation to the census in 2021 – the German Data Forum is in close exchange with policy makers and regularly issues statements and recommendations in order to improve research conditions for the social, behavioral, and economic sciences. A number of RatSWD working groups look at relevant current issues. The working group “Census”, for example, developed policy recommendations on future censuses drawing from past experiences made during the 2011 census and an in-depth analysis of European and international developments.


Efficient research policy requires strong national as well as international cooperation. During its 5th appointment period, the RatSWD has intensified its long-standing partnership with the UK Data Forum. The recent process toward the EU data protection regulation has again demonstrated the importance of representing the interests of science and research on the European level. In a dialogue with members of the European Parliament, the RatSWD has successfully pushed for incorporating the specific requirements of science and research into the regulation. 


The German Data Forum will support the process of adjusting national data protection law to the EU regulation and contribute its expertise from research, data production, and data protection into the upcoming legislative processes. BMBF and RatSWD agreed that the voice of researchers needs to be heard more in the public discourse. Both appealed to scientists and researchers to make their positions clear and communicate them to the public.
The recently published report gives an details the wide range of the German Data Forum’s activities: national networking of research data centres, recommendations on the archiving of qualitative data, issues of research ethics, the German panel survey landscape, how to deal with big data, and better research access to data on education, health, and immigration.

The report is currently only available in German at www.ratswd.de/zwischenbericht

Please write an e-mail to office@ratswd.de for press inquiries and if you wish to order a hard copy of the report.

The German Data Forum is an independent body of empirical researchers from universities, university-level institutions, and institutions of independent scientific research as well as representatives of important data producers. It was established by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in 2004 with the goal of sustainably improving the research data infrastructure and its international competitiveness.