Research Performing Organisations
Find out about Germany’s different types of research institutions: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university research 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. 395 higher education institutions which offer the entire range of disciplines. The German higher education system is characterised by a close link between learning, teaching 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 currently operates a total of 67 institutes and research units and is the largest organisation for applied research in Europe.
The Helmholtz Association is dedicated to pursuing the long-term research goals of state and society as well as maintaining and improving the living conditions of the population.
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The Leibniz Association is an umbrella organisation for 89 independent research institutes that address research issues of international importance, ranging from the humanities and the social sciences to the natural sciences and engineering. Leibniz institutes pursue both basic and applied research – often under one roof.
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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.
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The Federal Government funds 37 research institutes that are run by 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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German states (“Länder”) do not only act as research funding bodies, but also run several research institutions that support state research activities. There are approx. 160 such 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 more than 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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