Research organisations

Science and research in Germany are characterised by a distinguished infrastructure, a wide variety of disciplines, well-equipped research facilities and competent staff. Germany offers various forms of research locations: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university institutes, companies and Federal as well as Länder Institutions. All in all, there are approximately 750 public-funded research institutions in Germany, plus research and development centres run by industrial corporations. In selected fields or regions, these industrial and academic institutions pool their research and development activities in networks and clusters.


Brochure: The German Research Landscape

Read more about the unique network of university and non-university research organisations which Germany has to offer. This booklet gives you an excellent overview of the german research landscape.

Below please find an overview of Germany`s research organisations:



The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG) conducts applied research for private as well as public enterprises and for the general benefit of the public. It has more than 80 research units and is the largest organisation for applied research in Europe. The Fraunhofer institutes conduct research under contract for industry, the service sector and public administration and also offer information and service features. More information about the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft can be found here:


Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres provides top scientific achievements to society, science and industry to tackle major challenges they are confronted with. The Helmholtz Association integrates 17 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres and is the largest scientific organisation in Germany. More information about the Helmholtz Association can be found here:


Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association connects 95 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities - in the form of "Leibniz ScienceCampi" (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example - as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the importance of the institutions for the country as a whole, they are funded jointly by the Federation and the Länder, employing some 19,100 individuals, including 9,900 researchers. The entire budget of all the institutes is approximately 1.9 billion Euros.


Max Planck Society

The Max Planck Society (MPG) is an independent, non-profit research organisation named after the world-famous physicist Max Planck (1858 - 1947). Primarily, the MPG performs basic research in natural science as well as in humanities, thus complementing research projects at universities. More information about the Max Planck Society can be found here:



Germany is home to almost 400 universities providing a variety of disciplines. Academic formation is characterised by a close link between education and research. The Federal Government and the Länder have set up the Initiative for Excellence that is intended to support research activities in various disciplines at German universities. More information about universities and their research activities can be found here:


Academies of Science

The key mission of the German academies of science is the coordination and support of long-term basic research projects and the development and cultivation of interdisciplinary dialogues. In addition, the academies give advice to society related to general and specific issues of science, including emerging issues. More information about the German academies of science, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities can be found here:


Federal Research Institutes

The Federal Government funds 38 research institutes that the Federal Ministries are in charge of. This departmental research is always directly related to the activity fields of a ministry. Its main task is to support the respective Federal Ministry’s activities and to provide the necessary scientific basis for the execution of sovereign tasks.


More information about the federal research institute can be found here:


Länder Research Institutes

The Federal States of Germany (“Länder”) act as research funding bodies, but they also run several research institutions which contribute to supporting the research activities of the Länder. There are more than 100 institutes covering a broad range of research areas. More information about the Länder research institutes can be found here:


Companies / Industrial Research

German companies are among the most innovative in Europe. Industry based and financed investments account for almost two thirds of all R&D funding in Germany. Companies co-operate especially closely in the field of applied research, working together with globally operating Fraunhofer Institutes and the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations "Otto von Guericke" (AiF). More information about industrial research can be found here:


German Federation of Industrial Research Associations – AiF

The “German Federation of Industrial Research Associations” (AiF) was founded in 1954. As a registered non-profit association, the AiF promotes research and development (R&D) in all industry sectors in favour of small and medium-sized enterprises. The association acts at Federal as well as European level. More information about the AiF can be found here:


Networks and Clusters

Over the last few years, the Federal Government has initiated a series of projects aiming at the creation of networks and clusters that promote new technologies. They pool both industry and academic institutions in their research and development activities. One key aim of these aggregations is to accelerate the process of making new technology products marketable. More information about different initiatives to promote networks and clusters can be found here:


Research Infrastructures

Germany is home to several research infrastructures with global significance in physics, earth science, climate research or the humanities. Examples of research infrastructures such as DESY - Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron and the German Climate Computing Centre (DKRZ) can be found here: