The Beginnings

On June 29, 2000 Die Junge Akademie was launched for initially ten years. The beginning was marked by the founders' critique of the deficiencies of the German academic system, which offers young academics little opportunity of developing freely or shaping the academic system.


In his ceremonial address upon the founding, the then President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW), Dieter Simon, described the core notions as follows: "We are under the impression that the German academic system is outstandingly age-friendly ... The development of young academics has slowed down. They become self-sufficient too late and are controlled gerontocratically or advised paternalistically. During their intellectual blooming, they have little opportunity of engaging in the academic process autonomously and institutionally secured, or participating in shaping it and its future. It should therefore almost be the duty of an established and self-critical academy to found an academy for young academics. It could be a first and humble attempt at compensating deficiencies at least in one respect.

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Consolidation and Internationalisation

In the first decade of its existence, Die Junge Akademie was classified as a project with the BBAW. It was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and, until 2005, the Volkswagen Foundation. Die Junge Akademie proved that it could fulfil the targets it had been set:


The interdisciplinary academic discourse was realised in Research Groups concerning, for instance, the evolution of genes, languages and cultures, the mechanisms of self-organisation or the ostensible power of interpretation of the biosciences. In science policy, Die Junge Akademie entered the debate with much-noticed surveys and statements: on junior professors, the reform of the Framework Act for Higher Education, questions of gender equality, research ratings, appointment procedures or the intertwining of careers in academic relationships. Die Junge Akademie sought out the dialogue with society via the annual prize question and numerous public events.

Moreover, Die Junge Akademie quickly developed into a role model and launch assistant within a gradually emerging international network of similar institutions: In many other countries, old academies also remembered the potential of rejuvenation and renewal and founded Young Academies. In 2008, with significant German involvement, the proposition was made for the founding of an independent Global Young Academy.

In this sense, there was no contentual question whether to continue Die Junge Akademie beyond its first ten years and retain its characteristics – especially concerning the freedom of choice of topics and work methods. Backstage, however, the end of the initial duration for the project brought about some changes: Since 2011, Die Junge Akademie is no longer a project with the BBAW, but an independent institution permanently anchored in the Leopoldina's budget. The continuation of the work in its original scope is ensured by financial donations. Funding is divided among the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (90 percent) and both the State of Sachsen-Anhalt and the BBAW (5 percent each).

Interviews and Reports

Die Junge Akademie magazine's anniversary issue also offers some insight into the first ten years' work of Die Junge Akademie.

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