State research institutions

The German states (Länder) and municipalities act as research funding bodies and operate several research institutes that support state research activities. There are 139 institutes covering a broad range of research areas. 

One example is the Center for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW). The state of Baden-Württemberg set up ZSW in 1988 as a non-profit foundation that brings together universities, research institutes and companies. Today, it is one of the leading institutes for applied research in the areas of photovoltaics, renewable fuels, battery technology, fuel cells and energy systems analysis. Some 320 scientists, engineers and technicians, including more than two dozen international scientists, are currently employed at ZSW’s three sites in Stuttgart, Ulm and Widderstall. 

Another example is the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), which has research facilities in Kaiserslautern, Saarbrücken and Bremen, laboratories in Berlin, Lower Saxony and Darmstadt, and branch offices in Lübeck and Trier. It is one of the world’s leading research centres in the field of AI.

A researcher is conducting experiments with a mobile robot system.

Facts and figures


143 research institutions

6,000 staff, including more than 2,400 R&D personnel;
among them 1,300 researchers

Total budget: 731 million euros, 231 million euros for R&D (2020)

Research activities

Research activities are conducted in: 

  • Engineering
  • Humanities
  • Health research
  • Natural sciences


The total budget in 2020 was approx. 731 million euros, of which 231 million euros were allocated to R&D.

Piechart shows that departmental research institutes are primarily publicly funded (92%). Approx. 5% of these research institutions’ revenues come from their commercial activities and 4% from other sources. Deviation in the total amount is due to rounding.

State-level research institutes are for the most part publicly funded (630 million euros). Approx. 5 per cent of the revenues of these research institutions come from their commercial activities.