Research performing organisations

Find out about Germany’s different types of research institutions: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university research institutes, companies and federal as well as state (Länder) institutions. Profiles of each type of research organisation can be found here.  


Fraunhofer is Europe’s largest application-oriented research organisation. A total of 72 institutes and research facilities work together under its umbrella in six major research areas: health and environment, security and protection, communication and knowledge, mobility and transport, production and supply of services, energy and resources.


Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association is the largest scientific organisation in Germany and is dedicated to pursuing the long-term research goals of state and society as well as maintaining and improving the living conditions of the population. The 18 independent research institutes within the Association develop, build and operate complex research infrastructures. 


Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association connects more than 90 independent research institutes that address research issues of international societal relevance, ranging from the humanities and the social sciences to the natural sciences and engineering. Leibniz Institutes pursue both basic and applied research – often under one roof. 



The Max Planck Society, named after the world-famous physicist Max Planck (1858– 1947), is one of Europe’s leading basic research organisations. It maintains a total of 84 research institutes in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the United States. Its researchers conduct basic research in the natural sciences, life sciences, humanities and social sciences, often taking an interdisciplinary approach.   


German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF)

The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) is organised by industry and is particularly involved in increasing the competitive strength of SMEs by supporting the efficient application and advancement of R&D programmes.