Companies play an important role in German research. Industrial research is the most important pillar of German research outside the public sector. More than two-thirds of the annual funds invested in research come from the private sector.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Germany make a substantial contribution to new knowledge and discoveries. Although many companies achieve high standards of research themselves, they also invest in collaborations with research partners. Industry-funded research often produces rapidly realisable results and applications

German industry does not always act only as an employer here. Many companies also support research and young researchers or endow professorships. For example, companies finance approx. 460 of the current total of 800 privately funded endowed chairs. And 84 per cent of large companies promote science and research, especially by providing funding.

Nevertheless, the focus is firmly on developing fresh research talent. Early career researchers receive targeted support in the form of scholarships and prizes. In many cases, scholarships are tied to one or more specialist areas.

In the foreground are parts of a complex machine, behind parts of the head of an old researcher with short white hair and glasses can be seen.

Educational investment budget

Some 55% of all companies invest in academic education. Large firms with over 250 employees show the greatest commitment here: 8 out of 10 make investments in this area. Companies spent a total of roughly 3.3 billion euros on academic education in 2015.

Facts and figures

More than 460 endowed chairs are funded by business and industry

Companies provide approx. 1.5 billion euros – i.e. almost 17% – of third-party funding at higher education institutions

More Information:

The cover of the brochure "Industrial Research in Germany". It depicts a robotic and a plant based hand shaking hands. Over it is written the brochure's title. On the bottom left there is the logo of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. On the bottom right is the logo of "Research in Germany"

Industrial research in Germany

2018, 32 pages

What makes German industrial research so successful? And what opportunities does it offer talented researchers? Find out in this brochure.