France and Germany have joined forces to combat climate change with an ambitious programme addressing the fields of climate, energy and earth system research. Both experienced and junior scientists throughout the world have been invited to engage in sustainability research activities in these fields in the two countries. The aim is to contribute to the implementation of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and boost German and French research related to achieving the Agreement’s climate goals.
The Franco-German Fellowship Programme on Climate, Energy and Earth System Research is conceived for a period of four years, and the German Government is supporting it with 15 million euros. This money will be spent on facilitating research activities at German universities and extra-university institutions conducted by teams established by successful applicants. International researchers applying for support are required to have spent at least the last two years abroad.
The new fellowship programme was already announced by Germany’s Minister of Education and Research Johanna Wanka and her French counterpart Frédérique Vidal at the German-French Council of Ministers in July, as part of the French initiative “Make our planet great again”. The initiative is based on a pledge by the French Government in June to provide 30 million euros for climate change research.
This sum is complemented by a further 30 million euros contributed by the French research institutions. The German programme is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research via the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
The name of the initiative goes back to France’s new President Emmanuel Macron’s response to the USA’s announcing on the 1st June that it was pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Referring to the US government’s decision as “unfortunate”, and choosing a pun on one of US President Trump’s nationalist election campaign slogans, Macron called on “all responsible citizens” to support the battle against climate change and “make our planet great again”.
Mike Gardner, journalist, Bonn, Germany