"The prophet counts for nothing in his own country"

"The prophet counts for nothing in his own country"

Businessbreakfast with Science Senator Dr. Ina Czyborra

Text: Philip Zettl | Policy Officer


Ina Czyborra's Senate Administration combines two departments of outstanding importance for Berlin: science and health. Both are internationally recognized for their excellence, but also face major challenges, reported the senator in her tour of her department's current agenda.

The first challenge: hospital reform. This was "urgent and unavoidable", explained Czyborra, but also warned against using the Danish hospital model - 26 hospitals throughout the country versus 150 hospitals in Berlin and Brandenburg alone - as a model. During a visit to Denmark, she had learned about the advantages of the Danish system, but had also learned that their care network was not comparable to our contribution-financed system. The senator left open the question of whether hospital closures would be unavoidable, but emphasized that all hospitals would have to change. The future lies in more specialization and therefore more quality, more digitalization and more outpatient treatments. Berlin and Brandenburg must think together in this regard.

Ideally, the hospital reform will also help with the second megatopic of the healthcare sector, the shortage of specialists. More specialization and concentration would make it possible to pool resources. Instead of spreading specialists across many locations, they should work on a few, but well-staffed and well-equipped wards. Czyborra also referred to the reform of the nursing profession, the creation of additional study place capacities and the importance of skilled worker immigration in the fight against the shortage of skilled workers.


In the field of science, the focus is currently primarily on strengthening scientific excellence and defending the Clusters of Excellence of the Berlin University Alliance - the only network of excellence at Berlin universities in Germany. In 2026, the next round of the Excellence Competition, the existing seven clusters are to be defended and three more added. Social relevance is becoming increasingly important here - cutting-edge research alone is no longer enough. However, this could not succeed without a solution to the building deficit, which now amounts to 8 billion euros. Czyborra explained that she would like to see a university construction company based on the Austrian model, which would be allowed to raise funds on the capital market. The annual 5 percent increase in university funding as part of the university contracts was also hard-won and she would defend it fiercely.

It is interesting to note the stark contrast in the way Berlin is viewed from Germany and abroad: "The prophet counts for nothing in his own country." With the Charité, Berlin has the sixth best hospital in the world and Berlin's universities enjoy an outstanding reputation worldwide, he warned: "Our federalism is unique in the world and often ensures productive competition. But too much small-mindedness threatens to cause us to lose touch internationally. We cannot have 16 Charités in Germany, but must promote the top locations."

The Senator then used her closing words at the business breakfast, which was moderated by Simon Batt-Nauerz (Co-Chairman of the Health Committee) and Henning Banthien (Chairman of the Education and Science Committee), to promote her own cause: it was not only the clinics that were desperately looking for specialists, the Senate Administration was also reliant on them and advertised for work in her company.

Our event was also picked up in the capital's press. Here you can read the report from the Tagesspiegel


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