Facts & figures

Resarcher inspecting plants in a greenhouse of the research centre Jülich
Biotechnology has become the basis and driving factor behind many applications in medicine, the food and feed industry and chemical industry.

Outstanding, innovative and open-minded – research in Germany has a superb reputation all over the world. It is a research community shaped by universities, research institutions and extensive research by industry. The research covers a broad range of different fields with the special focus on future-oriented topics. Germany is one of the countries worldwide that invest the most in research and development.

Record investments in research

The massive sum of 100 billion euros was invested in research and development (R&D) in Germany in 2017 alone. Part of this funding goes to projects in universities, non-university research institutions and government research labs.

However, the German private sector is the main investor when it comes to looking for new methods, products and applications. In fact, it contributes more than two thirds of total R&D funding in Germany. 2017 saw a record of almost 69 billion euros invested. The most important client: the German automotive industry.

Broad range of research

Higher education institutions are further important players in German research. They spend 17.3 billion euros to this end, conducting research across the entire spectrum of science. Basic research plays as important a role as applications-oriented research. This also applies to collaborative projects with companies and research institutes.

Interdisciplinary and international

One special characteristic of R&D in Germany is the involvement of large non-university research institutes. These mainly belong to the four major, internationally renowned research organisations, namely the Max Planck Society, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, Helmholtz Association and Leibniz Association.

Together with the federal and state (Länder) research institutions and other research institutions such as archives, libraries and specialist information centres, publicly financed non-university research organisations commit about 13.5 billion euros annually to R&D.

Key facts

Over 1,000 public and publicly funded institutions for science, research and development  

686,000 staff in R&D including 420,000 R&D researchers

Approx. 48,000 patent registrations worldwide (5th place)

Expenditure on R&D: 100 billion euros (2017)

Research budget

Facts and Figures Research Budget 16-9
R&D 2017, internal expenditure; source: Destatis 2019

In 2017 the gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) was almost 100 billion euros with more than two thirds of this total spent by industry. Higher education institutions account for 17% of this spending; public and publicly funded non-university research institutions, for example the Helmholtz Centres or the institutes of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, invest 14% of the R&D total.

Statistics and reports