Research Infrastructures

German antarctic research station Neumayer-Station 3
The Neumayer-Station III is a German research station in the Antarctic operated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI).

Germany is home to several research infrastructures (RIs) of global significance.

What are research infrastructures?

Research infrastructures are major instruments, resources or service facilities for research in all disciplines that stand out because they are of at least national significance and have a long life – as a rule, more than ten years. In the case of the natural, biological, environmental and technological sciences as well as medicine, investment costs amount to at least 15 million euros.

Research infrastructures roadmap

Which research infrastructures will be required in the coming years and decades? Which are meaningful? Which are urgently needed? Decisions on these questions are recorded in the research infrastructures roadmap of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). On the basis of scientific and economic criteria, independent experts determine which new research infrastructures should be included in the roadmap and receive funding. The roadmap is also intended to facilitate policy decisions on which European and international research infrastructure projects Germany should participate in.

Research Activities

Research activities are conducted in a wide range of disciplines, such as

  • materials science,
  • biology,
  • biochemistry and medicine,
  • energy technology and physics.

Research Budget

The Federal Government provides the majority of funding for large-scale equipment in basic research with an annual budget of 1.1 billion euros (planned in 2014). The budget is also supplemented by international funding.

Important research infrastructures

Significant research infrastructures include facilities mentioned below: Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ), Polarstern and the FLASH.

Germany also contributes to the funding of joint international research infrastructures, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), Paris, France; the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Garching, Germany; and the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. Germany provides more than 20% of CERN’s budget, making it the largest contributor of funds for this most renowned centre of fundamental physics.

DESY - Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron

DESY - Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron

Founded in 1959, Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) is an internationally renowned centre of fundamental research and one of the world’s leading institutions investigating the structure of matter. DESY is a member of the Helmholtz Association and is supported by public funds. More DESY - Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron

DKRZ - German Climate Computing Centre

DKRZ - German Climate Computing Centre

The German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) provides high-performance computing services tailored to climate research. Its mission is to install and operate a high-performance computer system for basic and applied research in earth system sciences and to provide the associated services such as optimisation, parallelisation, data visualisation and data management. More DKRZ - German Climate Computing Centre

Research Vessel Polarstern

Research Vessel Polarstern

The research vessel Polarstern was first commissioned in 1982. Since then it has completed more than 250 expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. Specially designed for working in polar seas, Polarstern is currently one of the most sophisticated polar research and supply vessels in the world. More Research Vessel Polarstern

FLASH – Free-Electron Laser in Hamburg

FLASH – Free-Electron Laser in Hamburg

The costly extension and enhancement of the FLASH X-ray laser facility will enable scientists to peer even more deeply into the nanocosmos, for example, to film chemical reactions, investigate the properties of new kinds of data storage or observe biomolecules at work. More FLASH – Free-Electron Laser in Hamburg