Are you thinking about conducting research in Germany? Or doing your PhD there?
Germany is an excellent choice to carry out a research project and get in touch with the German and international scientific community. Today in Germany money is invested in research like never before: Around 45 billion Euros are put into research and development every year. Consequently, science and research are carried out on the highest international level, and Germany occupies a leading position in science and research. So far, German scientists have received a total of 79 Nobel Prizes for their achievements in the field of natural sciences, including 29 in chemistry, 28 in physics, and 22 in medicine or physiology.
Science and research in Germany are characterised by a distinguished infrastructure, a wide variety of disciplines, well-equipped research facilities and competent staff. The country offers a variety of research locations: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university institutes, companies and Federal as well as state institutions.
With a total of more than 500 institutions of higher education, approximately 750 publicly funded research institutions, dozens of research-supporting organisations plus research and development centres run by industrial corporations, Germany is becoming more and more attractive to the world's best and the brightest. In selected fields or regions, industrial and academic institutions pool their research and development activities in networks and clusters. This will help you build up your own professional network with contacts not only in Germany, but in other European countries and beyond.
A wide range of funding options is available to foreign scientists, provided by government bodies, large organisations such as the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG) and the DAAD as well as numerous prominent foundations such as the Alexander von Humboldt foundation or the VW Foundation. In addition, there are also individual programmes provided by universities and other research establishments.
English – besides German – is the common language of research. Many German scientific journals use English as a publishing language.
And bear in mind that spending time in Germany for research is regarded as a career booster all over the world!
To help you get access to German partners in research, we have put together some useful online resources for you:
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst / German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
The DAAD is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. With considerable public funds at its disposal, the DAAD is committed to supporting research through its scholarship program. Furthermore, the worldwide network of DAAD representatives is available to assist you in learning more about DAAD's activities in the different regions in the world. The DAAD offers foreign (junior) researchers funding opportunities to become acquainted with the German research landscape. Another goal of the DAAD is to strengthen the international networking of German higher education institutions and make them more attractive.
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-daad
Direct link to the DAAD homepage: www.daad.de
Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung / Foundation
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is among the most important research foundations for international scientists. As an intermediary organisation of German foreign cultural and education policy, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation aims to promote international cultural dialogue and academic exchange. Towards this aim, the foundation awards up to 500 research fellowships and prizes to highly qualified foreign scholars annually, enabling them to undertake long-term periods of research in Germany. Researchers from all nations and from all fields of research can apply for these fellowships.
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-avh
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.humboldt-foundation.de/en
The Australian Association of von Humboldt Fellows is one of the biggest and best organised national associations – living proof for the many great and sustainable research co-operations between Australia and Germany.
The Researcher's Mobility Portal Germany
The German Mobility Centre at the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of a network of mobility centres in the EU Member States. The Mobility Centre's purpose is to provide information and assistance to international scientists and scholars coming to Germany to work in research. The Mobility Centre offers general information on a variety of topics related to research and offers comprehensive information on the German research landscape.
Leibniz Gemeinschaft / Association
The Leibniz Association is the umbrella organisation for 87 non-university research institutes and service facilities in Germany. It stands out for its enormous diversity of themes addressed by the institutes. The research work carried out and the services provided by the institutes range from regional infrastructure research and economics to research projects in the area of social sciences to natural sciences, engineering and environmental research. The Leibniz institutes are demand-oriented, interdisciplinary centres of competence and provide infrastructure for science and research and perform research-based services – liaison, consultation, transfer – for the public, policy-makers, academia and business. Scientific cooperation with universities is particularly close and intensive.
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/leibniz
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.leibniz-gemeinschaft.de/
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-leibniz
Max Planck Gesellschaft / Society for the Advancement of Science
The Max Planck Society (MPG) is an independent, non-profit research organisation named after world-famous physicist Max Planck (1858 - 1947). Max Planck Institutes carry out innovative basic research in the natural, biological and social sciences and the humanities, complementing research projects at universities. A special effort is made to promote young scientists in the Independent Junior Research Groups within the Max Planck Society. Here, talented young scientists who have excelled in their respective fields are given the chance of qualifying for top positions in the scientific field as part of a five-year fixed-term research program. There are currently more than 40 Independent Junior Research Groups in the Max Planck Society. In addition, about 3000 guest scientists and visiting scholars a year work at the Max Planck Institutes.
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/maxplanck
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.mpg.de/english
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-maxplanck
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / German Research Foundation
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is the largest research funding organisation in Germany. It provides financial support for research in higher education and public research institutions, but does not run any research establishments itself. The DFG funds research in all disciplines using a bottom-up approach. That means any researcher can submit an application without any subject restrictions. One of the most important aims of the DFG is to promote young scientists and scholars. As the "central institute of self-administration for Science", the DFG annually promotes 20,000 research projects and awards fellowships to foreign scholars.
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.dfg.de/en/index.jsp
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-dfg
Hermann von Helmholtz Gemeinschaft Deutscher Forschungszentren / Association of National Research Centres
The Hermann von Helmholtz Association is the largest German research organisation, funded mainly by the federal government. Its task is to pursue the long-term research goals of the state and society as a whole. The numerous Helmholtz centres conduct research in fields relevant for the future of society, e.g. health, the environment, energy, traffic, materials, space flight and key technologies. The Helmholtz Association integrates 17 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres and provides top scientific achievements to society, science and industry to tackle major challenges facing them.
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/helmholtz
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.helmholtz.de/en/
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-helmholtz
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft / Society
The Fraunhofer Society is the leading organisation for institutes of applied research in Europe, conducting applied research for private as well as public enterprises and for the general benefit of the public. It also offers information and service features. At present, the organisation maintains over 80 research establishments at 40 locations throughout Germany. Typical research fields in Fraunhofer's own centres include communications, energy, microelectronics, manufacturing, transport and the environment.
The Fraunhofer Academy is the Fraunhofer Society’s specialist provider of further training for people in employment. Its study programmes, certificate courses and series of seminars enable specialists and managers in business and industry to profit from a unique form of knowledge transfer from Fraunhofer research to companies.
By the way: Did you know, that Fraunhofer Society developed the MP3-format?
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/fraunhofer
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-fraunhofer
Internet Portal for Research in Germany
The “Research in Germany” portal is an information platform and contact point for all looking to find out more about Germany's research landscape and its latest research achievements. The portal not only provides researchers and scientists with information about research in Germany, but also addresses a whole host of other players from politics and government, business and industry. One key goal of the portal is to provide an overview of the research and funding opportunities in Germany. It also delivers the latest science and research news from Germany and upcoming events. Additionally, practical information supports foreign scientists and researchers in their decision to collaborate with German research organisations or to complete a research stay in Germany.
Search Engine for Research in Germany
Apart from a search engine, the portal also offers information about Germany's research landscape as well as the "Bundesbericht Forschung" (Federal Report on Research) that is compiled every four years by the federal government.
Connecting Australian European Science & Innovation Excellence (CAESIE)
CAESIE is a bilateral partnership initiative programme between the European Union and Australia. It is specifically targeted to establish science and technology collaboration and partnership between small to medium enterprises (SMEs) and researchers (in Europe and Australia) across three core priority areas: clean energy, healthy ageing through enabling technologies, and sustainable cities.
CAESIE is for researchers and SMEs in Australia and the EU who are seeking support to collaborate on programs or activities within the current CAESIE priorities. The range of activities is broad and it is worth while exploring these to see if you are eligible for support.
As part of facilitating the initial collaboration arrangements between SMEs and researchers, a Priming Grant can be made to eligible SME applicants to assist with travel costs to develop their relationship with a researcher or research organisation.
Are you looking for an institution where you can carry out your research project? Or are you looking for a research contact?
To help you reach your goal, the DAAD, in cooperation with the German Research Foundation (DFG), now offers you the opportunity to search through some 17,000 German research institutions. The database includes information on institutes and departments at German universities as well as on research institutions and organisations working outside the university sector.
© DAAD Lichtenscheidt
Germany is home to over 500 universities offering a variety of disciplines. Academic formation is characterised by a close link between education and research. The Federal Government and the states have set up an 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:
© DAAD Lichtenscheidt
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. They have a long tradition in the German research landscape. Academies are research facilities where long-term projects of basic research are carried out. They also provide guidance and advice to society and policymakers related to general and specific issues of science, including emerging issues.
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-academies
© DAAD Volker Lannert
Federal and State Governments
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.
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.
Federal and state governments are the main sponsors of research in Germany alongside industry. Ministries significantly fund research through so-called project management organisations.
The Federal States of Germany act as research funding bodies, but they also run several research institutions which contribute to supporting the research activities of the states. There are more than 100 institutes covering a broad range of research areas.
Federal research institutes: www.research-in-germany.org/federal
Networks and clusters: www.research-in-germany.org/networks
Funding opportunities: http://www.research-in-germany.org/main/research-funding/funding-organisations/67100/federal-and-state-governments-funding.html
State-funded research: www.research-in-germany.org/laender
© DAAD Sigrid Gombert
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).
Companies play an important role in German research: more than two-thirds of the annual funds invested in research come from industry. 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.
More information: www.research-in-germany.org/companies
Funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-companies
German Federation of Industrial Research Associations – AiF
The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (Arbeitsgemeinschaft industrieller Forschungsvereinigungen "Otto von Guericke" e. V., AiF) was founded in 1954. It concentrates on application-oriented research and development at small and medium-sized enterprises. As a registered non-profit association, the AiF promotes research and development in all industry sectors. The association acts at Federal as well as the European level and primarily promotes interchange between industry and science in order to swiftly put new research findings into practice. Its services are especially oriented towards German companies.
Portrait of the organisation: www.research-in-germany.org/aif
Direct link to the organisation: http://www.aif.de/
Overview of funding opportunities: www.research-in-germany.org/funding-aif
© DAAD Sigrid Gombert
Germany is home to several research infrastructures with global significance in physics, earth science, climate research and the humanities.
Examples of research infrastructures such as DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron, German Electron Synchrotron) and the German Climate Computing Centre (Deutsches Klimarechenzentrum, DKRZ) can be found here: www.research-in-germany.org/infrastructures
The influence of European funding is increasing as Europe grows closer together. The European Commission’s Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development define key areas for research and research funding. In addition, the Commission’s various programmes make a significant contribution to the networking of the European research landscape and the formation of a European Research Area (ERA).
© DAAD Sigrid Gombert
Many of the large organisations that foster young research talent are organised as foundations. The range of different foundations is multifaceted.
© DAAD Volker Lannert
Funding for Young Talent
A variety of organisations in Germany (Begabtenförderungswerke) specifically aim to foster young talent. Twelve organisations that work nationwide have formed a working group (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Begabtenförderungswerke in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland); they support outstanding undergraduate and doctoral students.
Further links and brochures
In addition to the above, you may find the following links and brochures to be of help: