The UK has its Royal Society, France the Institut de France with its Académie des sciences, Italy has the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, and the US the The National Academies with the National Academy of Sciences, which bring together committees of experts in all areas of scientific and technological endeavor [...] to address critical national issues and give advice to the federal government and the public.
So far, Germany has been missing a comparable institution to produce evidence-based statements as a basis for discussions and political decisions. But since today, The German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina is Germany's first National Academy of Sciences - it was officially appointed so in a ceremony with Germany’s Federal President Horst Köhler, who also took over the patronage of the Leopoldina as the National Academy.
The Leopoldina was founded in January 1652 by four physicians in the Free Imperial City of Schweinfurt to explore Nature to the Benefit of the Human Being, and is named after Emperor Leopold I (1640–1705), who was well-known for his interest in the arts and sciences of his time.
Let's hope that the new Academy will establish a fruitful two-way exchange between the inhabitants of the Ivory Tower and the public, or its elected representatives, respectively.