Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres conducts advanced scientific research on behalf of society, science and industry to address the major challenges of the present.

Organisational details

The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation with 18 research centres, which are legally independent bodies working together in six research fields:

  • Energy
  • Earth and Environment
  • Health
  • Aeronautics, Space and Transport
  • Matter
  • Key Technologies

The Helmholtz Association is the only research organisation in Germany whose mission is to set up, operate and continue to develop large research infrastructures, such as particle accelerators, research vessels and aircraft. Its facilities are made available to teams from universities and non-university research institutes both within Germany and abroad.

The Association has three instruments to enable the centres to achieve their goals:

  • Inter-centre, programme-oriented funding
  • Development and operation of complex infrastructures and unique large-scale facilities
  • The Helmholtz President’s Initiative and Networking Fund.

Facts and figures

18 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres

Over 38,500 staff, including more than 14,000 scientists; 5,000 PhD students and 10,000 scientists from all over the world

Partnerships with institutions and organisations all over the world, international collaborative research projects in many countries

Annual budget: 4.4 billion euros (2017)

Research activities

The Helmholtz Association contributes to our understanding of the complex systems that influence human life and the human environment: not only questions relating to a secure and reliable energy supply, sustainable use of resources, future mobility or the treatment of previously incurable diseases, but also questions such as the origin of the universe. The Association’s research centres provide the most modern scientific infrastructure, which is also used by the international scientific community. In some cases, this equipment is the only one of its kind in the world.

International cooperation

The Helmholtz Association maintains offices in Beijing, Brussels and Moscow. It is involved in a large number of strategic partnerships with institutions and organisations all over the world. Traditionally, these primarily include partners in North America, but also in Asia and the Pacific region.

In addition, the Association is constantly working to develop relationships with research institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. This commitment has given rise to a variety of joint research projects with Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Russian partners.

Research Budget

Helmholtz Budget 2016
Source: Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association’s total budget amounts to 4.4 billion euros (2017). Approx. two thirds of this funding – 2.9 billion euros – comes from public-sector sponsors (in a 9:1 split between federal and state authorities). The individual Helmholtz Centres are responsible for obtaining more than 30 per cent of their budgets – 1.4 billion euros – themselves in the form of third-party funding provided by public- and private-sector sponsors.


Helmholtz Association
Bonn Office
Ahrstraße 45
53175 Bonn
Phone +49 228 30818-0


Helmholtz Association
Berlin Office
Anna-Louisa-Karsch-Straße 2
10178 Berlin
Phone +49 30 206329-0