Funding organisations

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation promotes research collaborations between excellent international and German researchers. It awards more than 2,300 research fellowships and research grants every year. 

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) is the central research funding organisation for universities and non-university research institutes in Germany. It supports research projects and funds cooperation between researchers – also at an international level.

Logo of the German Ressearch Foundation (DFG)

European Union

The European Union (EU) funds research in a variety of ways through its research and innovation framework programme. These measures include not only support for basic and applied research, but also funding programmes for collaboration and exchange in higher education.

The flag of the European Union. It consists of twelve yellow stars on blue background.


The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft based in Germany is the world’s leading applied research organisation. Prioritising key future-relevant technologies and commercialising its findings in business and industry, it plays a major role in the innovation process. A trailblazer and trendsetter in innovative developments and research excellence, it is helping shape our society and our future.

Logo of the Fraunhofer Association

German Academic Exchange Service

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers.

Logo of the German Academic Exchange Service: A blue circle wherein is written DAAD in white capital letters.

Helmholtz Association

The 18 Helmholtz Centres develop, build and operate complex research infrastructures. This includes accelerator facilities, telescopes, research ships and supercomputers that are available to Helmholtz users from around the world. Helmholtz thus pursues long-term research projects that aim to help find solutions to key challenges facing society, science and business.

Logo of the Helmholtz Association

Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association is the umbrella organisation under which nearly 100 research institutions address scientific problems that have societal and international relevance. They are characterised by the great variety of their research topics in the humanities and social sciences, as well as in the natural and engineering sciences. Leibniz institutions, universities and industry partners work together on interdisciplinary issues in Leibniz Research Alliances and Leibniz ScienceCampi.

Logo of the Leibniz Association


A physicist, Nobel laureate and the founder of quantum physics, Max Planck was driven by a desire to research and understand. And this is precisely what the research organisation that bears his name has made its guiding philosophy. The Max Planck Society has been very successful with its top-level basic research: since it was established in 1948, it has produced 20 Nobel laureates, two of which were women.

Logo of the Max Planck Gesellschaft

Academies of sciences and humanities

German academies of sciences and humanities honour researchers with prizes and medals and also award scholarships.

Seminar with Prof. Paul Geyer.


More than two-thirds of the annual funds invested in research come from industry. Companies either conduct research themselves or collaborate with research partners. (Early career) researchers are supported not only with job offers, but also with scholarships and prizes from corporate foundations.

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.


Public and private foundations enable research through the provision of funding. The range of different foundations is very wide. Many of them specifically aim to promote young talent.