HeidelbergGreat Value Attached to Science and Research

24 August 2021

Heidelberg citizens see the need to keep areas of land free for growth

The city greatly benefits from the academic institutions in Heidelberg – with the university at the centre of an outstanding network. Heidelberg citizens agree on this. A large majority of them also share the view that research and teaching need room to grow, so that Heidelberg as a research location can remain competitive. These are the main results of a survey conducted in the context of the 2020 Heidelberg Study.

Neue Universität

In October last year, 1,100 residents were asked their opinion by phone for the representative study. Apart from local policy-making, civic participation in decision-making processes or transportation in the city and region, one of the main topics was science and research. Almost all the interviewees are convinced that the city benefits very strongly (66 percent) or strongly (29 percent) from organisations like the university and research institutes. Together these opinions make up 95 percent. For the neighbourhoods in detail, a majority of the residents of Neuenheim, the Old City, Handschuhsheim and Bergheim state – although more hesitantly – that they see the various scientific and research institutions as being of very great, or great, benefit.

When it comes to the question of land use, the vast majority of those interviewed – 81 percent – agree fully (36 percent) or tend to agree (45 percent) with the statement that science and research need room to grow, so that Heidelberg as a research location can remain competitive. In principle they have a great deal of trust in science and research. On a scale of between –5 (don’t trust them at all) and +5 (trust them fully) the assessment averaged out at 3.6, which is a high rating.

In general, Heidelberg citizens are very interested in science and research, with 63 percent of interviewees stating that their interest was very strong, or strong. Just under one third (30 percent) said that in the last few years they had attended a public lecture or event by an academic institution in Heidelberg on several occasions. Another 17 percent said that they had participated in such an event at least once.

Almost all of those interviewed – here again 95 percent – are of the opinion that the city’s reputation is very strongly, or strongly, shaped by the academic institutions. 86 percent also see them as having a corresponding influence on the labour market and 79 percent on economic strength. Regarding the founding of companies in Heidelberg, 55 percent of interviewees believe that this is very strongly, or strongly, influenced by scientific activities. 62 percent also see such an impact of science and research institutes on cultural life.