Research and innovation are among the German government’s’ highest priorities, and the government initiatives – the High-Tech Strategy, the Higher Education Pact, the Excellence Initiative, and the Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation as well as the numerous funding opportunities for German and international researchers – have contributed substantially to Germany’s vitality as a key location for science, research and innovation.
The German research and innovation system has a broad, differentiated structure, and research is conducted in a variety of public and private institutions. At the public level, there are universities, colleges and universities of applied sciences. University research is characterized by a broad subject matter and methodologies, whereas at universities of applied sciences, there is more of a focus on applied research.
There is a wide range of non-university research conducted at private, non-profit institutions. Besides the various academies, foundations, and centers of innovation, four research organizations with different profiles make a significant contribution to Germany’s research and innovation landscape: the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Helmholtz Association, and the Leibniz Association.
Furthermore, central and local government research and development activities serve to prepare and support policy and administrative decisions. This departmental research focuses on current societal, technological, economic, and population health issues and develops courses of action for government measures.
Industry is an important player in the German research landscape. More than two-thirds of annual funding invested in research in Germany comes from the private sector. These funds are spent on the companies’ own research as well as on joint projects with partners from science. The research conducted in this sector is application-oriented in nature and is aimed directly at utilizable results.
Source: Federal Report on Research and Innovation 2010, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)