Wanka trained as a mathematician in East Germany.

KAY NIETFELD/DPA/PICTURE-ALLIANCE/NEWSCOM

Wanka trained as a mathematician in East Germany.

Doing the math in Berlin

Kai is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine based in Berlin, Germany.

German science minister Johanna Wanka, a mathematician from the former East Germany, faces a major challenge: She must find a way to bridge the differences between state and federal leaders on how to fund research and education. Discussions on how to spend €9 billion over the next 4 years are dragging on because of deep disagreements over who decides how the money is used. Wanka also wants to push through a constitutional amendment that would allow the federal government to help fund the country's ailing universities. German science leaders say time is running short: Further delays put at risk the recent gains made during years of generous budget increases.

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