Research organizations

research Enlarge image (© Science and research in Germany are characterized by a multi-faceted infrastructure, a wide variety of disciplines and well-equipped research facilities. This forms the structure of the three main pillars of the German research landscape: university research, industrial research as well as research conducted at institutes.

Within these pillars, German research additionally differentiates itself by its type (basic or applied) and form of financing (public or private). In this respect, the private industry focuses exclusively on applied research, whereas university research engages mainly in basic sciences and is publicly funded with some exceptions. In selected fields or regions, these industrial and academic institutions pool their research and development activities in networks and clusters to work more efficiently and to benefit from a higher level of knowledge.

Explore below some of the leading research institutions in Germany, sorted by their funding mechanisms from public to private, and their research focus from fundamental to applied.


Max Planck Society

The research institutes of the Max Planck Society perform basic research in the interest of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. In particular, the Max Planck Society takes up new and innovative research areas that German universities are not in a position to accommodate or deal with adequately.The variety of topics in the natural sciences and the humanities at Max Planck Institutes complement the work done at universities and other research facilities in important research fields.

Helmholtz Association

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

The Helmholtz Association is a community of 16 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres. The Association strives to gain insights and knowledge to help preserve and improve the foundations of human life. It does so by identifying and working on the grand challenges faced by society, science and industry. Helmholtz Centres perform top-class research in strategic programmes in six core fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport.

Leibniz Association

Leibniz Association

The Leibniz Association is a union of German non-university research institutes from various branches of study, bringing together 89 institutions from a variety of different disciplines. Its mission is to enhance interdisciplinary scientific work in humanities, social and life sciences, economics, mathematics, natural sciences and engineering as well as to promote up-and-coming academics and develop a comprehensive system of quality management.


Fraunhofer Gesellschaft

With 67 institutes spread throughout Germany, each focusing on different fields of applied science, the Fraunhofer Society is the largest organisation for applied research and development services in Europe, and represents an important part of the German research landscape. Two of its key missions are to harness scientific knowledge and technological expertise as well as to undertake applied research of direct utility in private and public enterprises and wide societal benefit: health, security, communication, energy and the environment. As a result, the work undertaken by Fraunhofer researchers and developers has a significant impact on people’s lives.

Research organizations


Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Education and research are the foundations for our future. The promotion of education, science and research by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research represents an important contribution to securing our country's prosperity.

New Fraunhofer professor at Tshwane University of Technology

Wolfgang Diehl with Students of TUT

Prof. Wolfgang Diehl, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films, has been appointed Industrial Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in Pretoria. With his appointment the good academic cooperation of many years and Prof. Diehl’s dedication as an associate professor at the TUT since 2011 is recognized.