Research Performing Organisations
Find out about Germany’s different types of research institutions: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university institutes, companies and federal as well as state (“Länder”) institutions. Profiles of each type of research organisation can be found here.
Germany is home to approx. 390 higher education institutions which offer the entire range of disciplines. The German higher education system is characterised by a close link between teaching, learning and research. This principle has a long tradition and was formulated by Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835), philosopher and founder of Humboldt University in Berlin.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft conducts applied research for private as well as public enterprises and for the general benefit of the public. It has 66 Fraunhofer Institutes and research facilities in Germany, and is the largest organisation for applied research in Europe.
The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and industry by performing top-rate research in strategic programmes covering the fields of aeronautics, space and transport, earth and environment, energy, health, key technologies and the structure of matter.
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The Leibniz Association is the umbrella organisation for 86 research institutes which address scientific issues of importance to society as a whole. It stands out for the wide range of research themes addressed by its institutes.
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The Max Planck Society (MPG) is an independent, non-profit research organisation named after the world-famous physicist Max Planck (1858-1947). Primarily, the MPG performs basic research in the natural sciences, life sciences, humanities and social sciences, thus complementing research projects at universities.
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The functions of German academies of sciences and humanities include providing guidance and advice to policymakers and society as a whole relating to general and specific issues of science and the humanities, including emerging issues.
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The Federal Government funds 40 research institutes that are run by the Federal Ministries. This departmental research is always directly related to the respective ministry’s field of activity. Its main task is to support the ministry’s activities and to provide the necessary scientific basis for the execution of government measures.
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The German federal states (“Länder”) do not only act as research funding bodies, but also run several research institutions that support state research activities. There are 130 institutes covering a broad range of research areas.
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German companies are among the most innovative in Europe. Industry based and financed investments account for almost two thirds of all R&D funding in Germany.
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Over the last few years, the Federal Government has initiated a series of projects aiming at the creation of networks and clusters that promote new technologies. One key aim of these bodies is to accelerate the process of making new technology products marketable.
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Germany is home to several research infrastructures of global significance in physics, earth science, climate research and the humanities. Examples of research infrastructures can be found here.
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The German Research Landscape - Who does research in Germany? (2013, 52 pages)
Read more about the unique network of university and non-university research organisations which Germany has to offer. This booklet gives you an excellent overview of the German research landscape. Target group: International students, graduates, junior and senior scientists interested in the German research landscape.
(PDF, 3.3 MB)