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 the Gemeinschaft für studentischen Austausch in Mittel- und Osteuropa (GFPS) (only in German), that primarily support (doctoral) students or early career researchers.

Other large foundations, such as the Robert Bosch Stiftung, the Volkswagen Foundation, the German Federal Environmental Foundation, the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (only in German) and the German Foundation for Peace Research (only in German), also support researchers, research projects and institutions with substantial funding. 


Organisational details

An especially important body here is the Stifterverband (only in German), a registered charity that brings together approx. 3,000 companies, business associations, foundations and private individuals. The trust capital of the approx. 670 foundations supported by the Stifterverband’s subsidiary Deutsches Stiftungszentrum (DSZ) (only in German), currently amounts to more than 3.3 billion euros.

With more than 4,500 members, the Association of German Foundations (Bundesverband Deutscher Stiftungen) is the largest organisation of foundations in Europe. It represents the interests of over 23,000 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

More than 480 endowed chairs have been established by foundations since 1985. This makes them the largest sponsor of professorships after industry

More Information:

Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e. V.

  • Baedekerstraße 1
  • 45128 Essen

DSZ – Deutsches Stiftungszentrum

  • Barkhovenallee 1
  • 45239 Essen