Basic research and its breakthroughs in bioscience provide the basis for knowledge-based solutions to the pressing global challenges, including medicine, agriculture, the environment and, last but not least, climate change management. Each application-focused research is based on basic research. However, implementation of the results of the basic research of the application is not foreseen either in time or in content.
According to VBIO, projects in basic bioscience research should therefore not be openly or covertly measured by whether their findings are reflected quickly and directly in concrete applications. However, many scientists working in basic research are increasingly demanding a clear link to possible applications. "The long-term financial security of top-level basic research in Germany is comparatively positive compared to other countries," says Prof. Dr. Honey. Gerhard Haszprunar, President of VBIO. "Experiences with different research funding programs are different – but many of our members are increasingly taking a clear shift from priorities to application-oriented research."
The increased importance of applicability means that basic research often has to pretend to meet unrealistic requirements. Outside of the scientific system, this development leads to excessive expectations of potential users (e.g., patients) and the public. Failure by science to deliver the advertised application or deliver it in its entirety can undermine confidence in science.
According to VBIO, it requires a thorough understanding of the special nature of basic research at all levels of action. Decision-making bodies and research funding organizations are equally urged to acknowledge the importance and specificity of basic research, to appreciate it and to convey this appreciation to the public.
Additional funding must be available for basic research as well as scientific communication on basic research.
VBIO requirements in detail:
• Politicians and administrators are asked to understand, communicate and support the fundamental importance of high quality basic research for our society.
• The specifics and importance of basic research must be better communicated to the general public. This requires policy, research sponsors and individual institutions to establish additional communication programs. They must be designed in such a way that scientists receive not only additional financial resources but also time resources in order to be directly involved in scientific communication.
• Prerequisites for understanding the basics of scientific work must be created in science education in schools. Educational managers in countries or universities must provide appropriate curricula, appropriate hourly rates and well-trained teachers.
• We invite public funding agencies to design bidding procedures and eligibility criteria to reflect the specificity of basic research, without exaggerating the direct application of the findings.
• Public funding agencies should launch more long-term funding programs specific to basic research.
• Universities and research institutions should explicitly provide for stakes in basic research in their budget. However, this will only be possible across the country if appropriate institutions adequately improve the basic financial resources of the institutions.
• Research funding agencies, universities, and policy makers should provide additional federal and state funding for assistance programs that make the nature and importance of basic research transparent and understandable to the public.
This position of the VBIO umbrella organization is explicitly supported by the following member companies:
German Botanical Society (DBG), German Physiological Society (DPG), German Zoological Society (DZG), Ethological Society (EthoGes), Association for Biotechnology DECHEMA, Department of Biology Didactics (FDdB) at VBIO, Society for Genetics (GfG), Society of Plant Biotechnology (GfPB), Society of Plant Breeding (GPZ), Society for Experimental Animal Science (GV-SOLAS), German Society for Synthetic Biology (GASB), Association for General and Applied Microbiology (VAAM), Scientific Committee for Green Genetic Engineering (WGG)
VBIO e. V. is a common umbrella for anyone studying or working in the fields of biology, life sciences and biomedicine – whether in higher education, school, industry, administration, self-employment or research.
VBIO members represent the full range of life sciences from a molecular, cellular or organism-oriented perspective to biomedicine.
Dr. Kerstin Elbing (Communications Department), Berlin office VBIO, Tel: 030-287891918,