Germany has increased funding for product development partnerships in recent years

In 2017, Germany provided US$65 million for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), according to G-FINDER data (referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile). This makes Germany the fifth-largest public funder of R&D for PRNDs in 2017 (in absolute terms). Health R&D and PRNDs are highlighted as a priority in Germany’s 2017 to 2021 coalition treaty. These figures may differ from the trend numbers presented in the chart due to changes in the scope of the G-FINDER survey from year to year.

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A major instrument to channel Germany’s R&D funding is through product development partnerships (PDPs, 20% of funding in 2017). For the current PDP call (2016 to 2021) the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has contributed €50 million (US$56 million), a doubling of the contribution for the previous call from 2011 to 2015. The current PDP supports R&D on neglected tropical diseases and diseases primarily affecting children in the world’s poorest regions, including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria. In addition, the BMBF has increased its funding to the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP), from €10 million (US$11 million) for 2003 to 2013 to €30 million (US$34 million) for 2014 to 2020. Recent EDCTP funding was focused on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB.

In 2017, Germany’s funding focused on TB, malaria, and Helminth infections.

BMBF-funded PDPs 2016-2020:

  • International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) for the development of safe microbicides for women in HIV prevention
  • PATH for the development of malaria vaccines
  • Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) for more effective and affordable drugs for tuberculosis
  • Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) for the development of new malaria drugs
  • Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) for drug development against African trypanosomiasis, Visceral Leishmaniosis, Chagas disease and worm infections

In 2017, Germany’s funding focused on TB (US$22 million, or 33% of its total global health R&D funding), malaria (US$12 million, 19%), helminth infections (worms & flukes; US$7 million, 11%), and HIV/AIDS (US$7million, 10%). Academic and other research institutions received 27% of all global health R&D funding.

Global health R&D was also a topic during Germany’s G7 and G20 presidencies, with antimicrobial resistance (AMR) highlighted as a priority in the final communiqués of both summits. As an immediate outcome of the G20 summit, a G20 AMR R&D Collaboration Hub was launched in Berlin. In addition, a Global Health Hub Germany was launched with one aim being to strengthen the link between national research institutions and domestic mechanisms to enhance the country’s capacity and expertise on matters of global health R&D.

Three ministries provide funding for global health R&D

Political responsibility for global health R&D lies with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Its funding concept for global health R&D has four pillars: 1) Germany’s national research landscape, 2) support to PDPs, 3) support to EDCTP, and 4) strengthening African health research systems and increasing research cooperation with countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

BMBF provides two-thirds of Germany’s total global health R&D funding (66%, or US$43 million in 2017). For its engagement with Africa, BMBF has its own dedicated Africa Strategy, which was reissued at the end of 2018. It has a focus on innovation, training, and qualification.

Government-funded research institutions play a significant role in Germany’s global health R&D landscape. The German Research Foundation (DFG) is by far the most important funder. In 2017, it provided 26% (US$17 million) of Germany’s funding for global health R&D. The DFG is an association of public research organizations and receives funding from the federal government and federal states. Key research institutions that conduct health R&D include the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, the Robert Koch Institute, and the Max Planck Society.