Research in Germany


Research Institutions

Overview of German research organisations and funding organisations:

Fraunhofer Fraunhofer Society (FhG)

  • Founded in 1949
  • Approximately 66 institutes
  • Applied research
  • 90% of research is commissioned by business, industry or government. The main aim is to transfer scientific expertise to practical applications.
  • 24.000 employees, mainly scientists and engineers
  • Annual budget: approximately EUR 2 billion, allocated as:
    • 30% public funding
    • 70% contract research

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  • Founded in 1970, renamed in 1995, restructured in 2001
  • Association of 15 large-scale research centres for the natural sciences, technology, medicine, biology
  • Six priority research areas: energy, earth and environment, health, key technologies, structure of matter, transportation und space
  • 37.000 employees, including approximately 15.000 scientists
  • Annual Budget 2015: EUR 4 billion, allocated as:
    • 70% public funding (90% federal, 10% states)
    • 30% third-party resources

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Leibniz Leibniz Association (WGL)

  • Founded in 1995
  • Umbrella organisation for 86 research institutes and service facilities
  • Between basic research and applied research
  • Fields: humanities and educational sciences; economics, social sciences, regional infrastructure research; life sciences; mathematics, natural sciences, engineering; environmental sciences
  • 17.500 employees, including about 8.800 academics
  • Annual Budget 2015: EUR 1,5 billion, allocated as:
    • 77% institutional basic research (funded equally by federal and state governments)
    • 23% third-party resources, of this 59% DFG

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MPG Max-Planck-Society (MPG)

  • Founded in 1948 as successor of Kaiser Wilhelm Society
  • Umbrella organisation for 80 research institutes and centres
  • Basic research in the areas of:
    • Life sciences, particularly biology and medicine
    • Natural sciences, particularly physics and chemistry
    • Humanities and social sciences
  • 17.000 employees, including about 5.500 scientists and scholars; in addition, about 13.000 (2015) doctoral candidates, post docs, visiting researchers and scholars, more than half of this coming from abroad
  • Annual budget 2015: EUR 1.6 billion, allocated as:
    • 81% basic budget (funded equally by federal and state governments)
    • 14% project budgets from states, federal government and European Union
    • 5% own income, member dues, donations

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DFG German Research Foundation (DFG)

  • Founded in 1952
  • Self-governing body of German scientific community
  • Annual budget 2015: EUR 2.6 billion
  • Funding research projects and facilitating cooperation among researchers, currently supporting about 30.000 projects
  • Highlights:
    • DFG Research Centres
    • Research Training Groups
    • International Research Training Groups
    • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize
    • Emmy Noether Programme

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  • Founded in 1953
  • Awarding a great number of research fellowships and awards for postdoctoral scholars and scientists every year:
  • Up to 800 research fellowships
  • Up to 150 research awards
  • Up to 150 research fellowships for young German scientists
  • Open to applicants from all nations and all academic disciplines
  • The Georg-Forster Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers is designed for researchers from a developing country with above average qualifications, at the beginning of their academic career and only for those who have completed their doctorate in the last four years. The Fellowship allows postdoctoral researchers to carry out a long-term research project (6−24 months) selected by themselves in cooperation with an academic host they have selected themselves at a research institution in Germany.

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