Germany, a leading science nation, excels in research and development (R&D) and has the European Union’s largest innovation system. This comes as no surprise, as the federal government has invested heavily in universities, research institutions and scholarship programmes, thereby attracting outstanding talent from within the country and all around the world. Total government investment in R&D grew by a whopping 60 per cent from 2005 to 2013. Germany has also launched the much-acclaimed “Excellence Initiative”, which resulted in hundreds of high-profile research collaborations and added some 20,000 science jobs. Furthermore, in 2015, Federal Minister of Research and Education Johanna Wanka announced an additional investment of ₹36,500 crore in science from 2018–2028.

Cooperation at an international and European level is an essential cornerstone of innovation and research in Germany. There is a great interest in science and technology in German society, and scientists are highly respected and recognised as an integral part of the country’s identity. What’s Up, Germany? brings you a glimpse of the “land of ideas”.

“Where there
is this higher consciousness there is a capability of science.”

— Ludwig

Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany

This is a union of the country’s most important research organisations. It issues statements on research policy, funding and the structural development of the German research system. Its initiative, “Digital Information”, aims to improve the provision of information in research and teaching, thereby ensuring that scientists and scholars are equipped with information that best suits their needs. The idea is to guarantee the broadest possible access to digital publications and research, thereby strengthening exchange of data for cross-research cooperation.

Bringing Great Minds Together

German companies can rely on a strong institutional framework to support their innovation efforts. There are almost 1,000 public-funded research institutions and around 500 networks and clusters. In 2012, Germany’s gross domestic expenditure on research and development (GERD) was roughly ₹5.8 lakh crore. The country offers a wide variety of research locations: universities, universities of applied sciences, non-university institutes, companies, federal and state institutions.

research in germany


There are more than 400 universities which have a close link between learning, teaching and research. These universities operate on the principle “unity of teaching and research” (“Einheit von Lehre und Forschung”). Germany ranks third in the world in knowledge transfer between universities and companies.


Non-university Institutes

Research facilities, such as the renowned Fraunhofer Society, form an integral part of the German research landscape. Institutes like these focus on fluent cooperation between companies, universities and state governments, specialising in areas that need holistic solutions (for example, smart cities).


Small and medium-sized German companies (SMEs)—often global market leaders in niche products or services—and international players such as Siemens, BMW and Krupp, enjoy the benefits of participatory research. Combined, they contribute two-thirds of all R&D funding in the country, placing Germany among the top three countries when it comes to corporate R&D spending.

Clusters & Networks

Stronger together! In certain fields and regions, industrial and academic institutions work hand in hand, pooling their research and development activities in networks and clusters. This ensures increased access to knowledge and technologies.