- © DAAD / Sigrid Gombert
Companies play an important role in German research. Industrial research is the most important pillar of German research outside the public sector. More than two-thirds of the annual funds invested in research come from industry. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany make a substantial contribution to new knowledge and discoveries. Although many companies achieve high standards of research themselves, they also invest in collaborations with research partners. Industry-funded research often produces rapidly realisable results and applications.
German industry does not always only act as employer here. Many companies also support research and young researchers or endow professorships. For example, companies finance over 400 of the current total of 1,000 privately funded endowed chairs. Nevertheless, the focus is firmly on developing fresh research talent. Young researchers receive targeted support in the form of scholarships and prizes – usually from corporate foundations. Fostering up-and-coming researchers has a high priority for German companies. They invest 2.2 billion euros a year in students and higher education, which is almost twice as much as they spend on research and development at universities.