Germany Global Health Research and Development

How is Germany’s global health R&D funding changing?

Germany spent US$228 million on global health R&D in 2022.

In 2020 and 2021, Germany’s global health R&D funding focused significantly on COVID-19 R&D, including a EUR750 million ( US$790 million) investment in national COVID-19 vaccine research. This funding was largely additional from emergency budgets outside the main budget, and further significant investments in global health R&D likely will not be repeated during in non-pandemic years.

Interest in global health R&D remains above pre-pandemic level and focus has shifted to new priorities, including pandemic preparedness, surveillance, and vaccine production.

How does Germany allocate global health R&D?

Disease priorities

Amongst NDs, Germany prioritizes tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The share of funding going to tuberculosis has decreased by 50% between 2018 and 2022, while the share of funding to malaria has fluctuated between 6% and 13% during the same period. Global health R&D for neglected diseases focuses chiefly on Sub-Saharan Africa, in line with Germany’s overall development policy.

A central mechanism to support global health R&D for NDs are PDPs. Within the context of its FFP, the German government prioritizes gender-sensitive global health R&D and notably research on SRH. Additionally, there is an increased national interest of BMBF in women’s health R&D.

Global health R&D was also a topic of interest during Germany’s previous G7 and G20 presidencies, where AMR was highlighted as a priority in the final communiqués of both summits.

Research into zoonosis is another global health R&D priority within the broader context of pandemic preparedness and prevention that gained greater attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recipient types

Funding for CEPI, EDCTP, both intermediaries, and PDPs account for about half of Germany’s funding. Approximately one third is provided directly to researchers and developers, including universities and research institutes. The latter is likely underrepresented in global health R&D data, as research institutes’ activities are highly fragmented, and the government has limited oversight of the research focus areas.

In Germany's 2024 budget, the budget line including funding for EDCTP and PDPs, witnessed an 8% cut, likely due in part to remaining additional COVID-19 funding being cut back.

R&D stages

The largest share of cross-cutting or unspecified global health R&D was invested in R&D for tuberculosis, kinetoplastid diseases, and HIV/AIDS. SRH received the largest share of funding in the clinical field and development stage, followed by tuberculosis. Tuberculosis was the top recipient of funding for discovery and pre-clinical.

Since 2018, a reduced proportion of German global health R&D has been spent on cross-cutting or unspecified R&D stages. Of this, 70% is invested in tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. The increase in clinical and field development was largely driven by an increase in Phase II and III clinical development.

Funding and Policy Outlook

What is the current government’s outlook on public global health R&D?

Germany sees R&D as a central element to tackling major social and global challenges, specifically in relation to the climate, the fight against poverty, and sustainable development.

Germany prioritizes global health R&D along three domestic lines:

  • Security: Global health R&D has been billed as critical to national security, therefore, preparing for a next pandemic is a priority;
  • Economics: Global health R&D benefits the domestic economy, in particular in the context of vaccine development and manufacturing, e.g., in 2020 when the Government invested EUR750 million in three German companies for Covid-19 vaccine R&D; and
  • Reputation: Becoming a global health R&D leader is perceived as a lever to strengthen global influence and the national reputation.

Germany’s policy on global health R&D is guided by the Global Health Strategy, and the Future Research and Innovation Strategy.

Germany’s ongoing budget crisis is expected to negatively affect the budgets of the upcoming years as the government shifts its priorities towards the challenges related to the federal court ruling, a reinstated debt brake, and the Ukraine and Gaza conflicts. The federal court ruling in November 2023 mandated EUR17 billion ( US$17.9 billion) in cuts to the overall budget for 2024, and a further EUR15-25 billion ( US$15.8 - 26.3 billion) in cuts required for 2025. This suggests that expressed strategic priorities around global health R&D may not be backed by funding due to the current reprioritization.

In 2024, the budget envelope for innovation in life science, including funding for CEPI, PDPs, and EDCTP, decreased by 7%, partly related to remaining additional COVID-19 funding being cut. Funding to the Helmholtz Association slightly increased by 2%. While the BMBF overall was not affected by the 2024 cuts, additional cuts in 2025 could affect the BMBF and Germany’s funding to global health R&D.

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