Academies are associations of renowned individuals from the worlds of scholarship and the arts.
The academies help policymakers and the public to find suitable answers to current issues and problems with opinions based on outstanding specialist knowledge. In addition, a key mission of the academies is to coordinate and support long-term basic research projects and to develop and cultivate interdisciplinary dialogues. They organise symposia and public events, with which they make a valuable and research-based contribution to dialogue between research, society and the economy.
The Leopoldina is the German National Academy of Sciences and unites researchers with outstanding expertise in almost all fields of research. Yet there are many other academies in Germany, too. They include the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities, which is an association of eight state academies. Then there is the National Academy of Science and Engineering, acatech, which represents the technical sciences at home and abroad. And since the beginning of the new millennium Die Junge Akademie has represented new scholarly talent.
©Leopoldina / Markus Scholz
The main Leopoldina building in Halle.
Being the German National Academy of Sciences, the Leopoldina provides independent science-based policy advice on matters relevant to society. To this end, the Academy develops interdisciplinary statements based on scientific findings.
In these publications, options for action are outlined; making decisions, however, is the responsibility of democratically legitimised politicians. The experts who prepare the statements work in a voluntary and unbiased manner.
The Leopoldina represents the German scientific community in the international academy dialogue. This includes advising the annual summits of heads of state and government of the G7 and G20 countries. With 1,600 members from more than 30 countries, the Leopoldina combines expertise from almost all research areas.
Founded in 1652, it was appointed the National Academy of Sciences of Germany in 2008. The Leopoldina is committed to the common good.
Approx. 1,600 members, including over 500 international scientists and scholars; 183 Nobel laureates among its members
Approx. 100 staff
Close relations with science academies on all continents
Annual budget: 17.2 million euros, including basic funding of 13.2 million euros from the Federal Government and the State of Saxony-Anhalt and 3.2 million euros in third-party funding (2019)
acatech, the National Academy of Science and Engineering was founded in 2002. It represents the interests of the German scientific and technological communities at home and abroad. It is an autonomous, independent and non-profit organisation.
As a working academy, acatech supports policymakers and society, providing qualified technical evaluations and forward-looking recommendations. Moreover, acatech is determined to support knowledge transfer between science and industry and to encourage the next generation of engineers.
acatech works to promote sustainable growth through innovation. Its work focuses on four core areas:
Die Junge Akademie, founded in 2000 by the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, is the world’s very first academy for early career researchers.
©Die Junge Akademie
Die Junge Akademie has set itself two overriding tasks: encouraging academic, especially interdisciplinary, discourse among outstanding young academics as well as promoting initiatives at the intersection of academia and society.
The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities is comprised of eight German academies of sciences based in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Göttingen, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Mainz and Munich. The main task of the Union is to coordinate the Academies Programme and to enhance the profile of its member academies at home and abroad. The member academies of the Union have elected more than 2,000 scientists and scholars from a wide range of disciplines as ordinary, corresponding and extraordinary members.
The eight academies in the Union are:
The Academies Programme
The Academies Programme (Akademienprogramm) is coordinated by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities. It is currently Germany’s most comprehensive research programme in the humanities and social sciences, bringing together research projects of the academies under one umbrella.
It involves about 140 projects with almost 200 working groups. The projects include dictionaries and editions in the humanities, long-term studies at the interface between the natural sciences and humanities as well as basic research projects in social sciences and cultural studies.
Once a year the academies affiliated in the Union organise the so-called Academies’ Day, where they present their research to the public at large.
The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities administers the Academies Programme, which is funded equally by the German states (Länder) and the Federal Government with a total budget of 70.8 million euros (2020). As the individual Academies of Sciences are state institutions rather than federal institutions, their basic budgets are funded solely by their respective states.
The affiliated bodies of the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities award numerous prizes, medals and scholarships. They support junior researchers and acknowledge special research accomplishments or a person’s outstanding life’s work.