Source description last updated: 5 January 2021

In brief: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) is a politically independent German think tank based in Berlin that advises political decision-makers on international politics and foreign and security policy.

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Studies, Research Papers, Comments, “Aktuell”, “Point of View” and “Kurz Gesagt”

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Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), created in 1962 (SWP website: History, undated) is “a foundation with legal capacity under the German Civil Code. The purpose of the Foundation is ‘to conduct scholarly research in the fields of international politics and foreign and security policy, in consultation with the German Bundestag and the German government, with the objective of providing independent research-based policy advice and publishing the findings where appropriate’ (§2 [1] of the Statutes). To this end the Foundation maintains the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.” (SWP website: The Foundation, undated)

SWP “advises political decision-makers on international politics and foreign and security policy. Our services are orientated primarily towards the German government and Bundestag, as well as relevant international organisations such as the European Union, NATO and the United Nations.

SWP stands out [...] for its ability to draw on solid academic research conducted by our own staff. So as well as offering up-to-date information and demand-driven consulting, SWP also carries out rigorous academic work. We place a premium on independence. SWP is tied to no political party or other institution, nor to any programme or interest group.” (SWP website: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, undated)

SWP employs a staff of about 180 including some 60 researchers. (SWP website: Die Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, undated)


„In order to fulfil its purpose as defined in the Statutes, SWP receives a grant approved by the German Bundestag under the budget of the Federal Chancellery [...]. The grant is awarded on the basis of an annual budget prepared by SWP.” In 2019, SWP’s government grant amounted to 15.5 million euros. “The government grant covers 100 percent of SWP’s core activities [...]. In addition to its government grant, SWP may acquire external funding for special research projects from the public sector or other external sources. The funds acquired in this way should not exceed 25 percent of the government grant.” In 2019, SWP received external funding totalling 2.72 million euros from the national government (72.4%), foundations (19.5%), the European Union (1.0%), businesses (5.5%), the German Research Foundation (DFG) (0,4%), and others (1.2%).” (SWP website: Funding, undated)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: EU/Europe, the Americas, Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Middle East and Africa, Asia.

Thematic focus: international politics, foreign and domestic policy, economic development, domestic and regional conflicts.


“We set our own priorities and conduct our research freely, without preconceived outcomes. [...] Great importance is also placed on academic exchange with colleagues at other research institutes. SWP researchers take the time they need to grasp a topic in depth, and consciously ignore crisis-driven demands for undigested responses.” (SWP website: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, undated)

As SWP explains, “[a]ll researchers and authors are bound by the general principles of good academic practice.” Moreover, “SWP publications are subject to internal review. The type of review depends on the publication: SWP Comments (and in German SWP-Aktuell and SWP-Zeitschriftenschau) are reviewed by the Director of Research; SWP Research Papers (and in German SWP-Studien) are reviewed first by a colleague, and then by the Director or another member of the Executive Board.” Meanwhile, “SWP Comments (and SWP-Aktuells) are fact-checked by a member of the Information and Knowledge Management team.” (SWP website: SWP Publications – Quality Management, undated)

For further information on SWP’s research quality management procedures, please see:

Languages of publication:

German and English

Further reading / links:

Perthes, Volker: Scientific policy advice and foreign policymaking – Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, in: Lentsch, Justus & Weingart, Peter [eds.]: The Politics of Scientific Advice: Institutional Design for Quality Assurance, 2011, pp. 286-294

WDR – Westdeutscher Rundfunk: ZeitZeichen: 23.08.1962 - "Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik" gegründet, 23 August 2017

Wissenschaftsrat (German Council of Science and Humanities): Wissenschaftspolitische Stellungnahme zum Deutschen Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit der Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Berlin, 19 May 2006

Zunker, Albrecht: Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP). Entwicklungsgeschichte einer Institution politikbezogener Forschung, 2007


All links accessed 5 January 2021