- © AWI
- 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 are conducted in a wide range of disciplines, such as
- materials science,
- biochemistry and medicine,
- energy technology and physics.
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
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.