Scientist in a laboratory

Many major sponsors of research or new research talent are organised as foundations. They include the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, which uses mainly public funding to enable highly qualified international researchers to undertake research stays in Germany. However, there are also organisations, such as Stiftung Bildung und Wissenschaft, that primarily support junior researchers.  

Other large foundations, such as the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Volkswagen Foundation, the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the Klaus Tschira Stiftung and the German Foundation for Peace Research, also support researchers, research projects and institutions with substantial funding. 

Organisational details

An especially important body here is the Stifterverband, a registered charity that brings together approx. 3,000 companies, business associations, foundations and private individuals. The trust capital of the over 670 foundations supported by the Stifterverband’s subsidiary Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (DSZ) currently amounts to approx. 3.1 billion euros.

The largest organisation of foundations is the Association of German Foundations. It represents the interests of over 22,000 foundations in Germany.

Facts and figures

Over one in three foundations are devoted to education. The promotion of science is named as the goal of one in four foundations.
Over 300 endowed chairs have been established by foundations. This makes them the largest sponsor of professorships after industry.

Foundations provide approx. 500 million euros – that is 6.6% – of third-party funding at higher education institutions


Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e. V.
Baedekerstraße 1
45128 Essen
Phone +49 201 8401-0


DSZ – Deutsches Stiftungszentrum
Barkhovenallee 1
45239 Essen
Phone +49 201 8401-0