Research and development (R&D) are very important to German companies, regardless of whether they are large corporations or small and medium-sized companies. Investments in this area have been increasing for years: with almost 54 billion euros, the majority of the 79 billion euros that were invested in research and development in Germany in 2012 came from companies.
In an international comparison, spending on research and development in the German economy is growing extremely dynamically: While it rose by only 1.4% worldwide in 2014, the increase for German companies was 11.3%. The automotive industry is the most active, but the chemical industry and electrical engineering are also heavily involved.
In 2012, German universities invested around 14 billion euros in research and development. The Federal Government has been promoting outstanding programs at universities since 2005 in its so-called “Excellence Initiative“. With the grant, the working conditions for young researchers from Germany and abroad will be improved even further. Since 2005, 39 universities have received funding from the Excellence Initiative. You can find an overview on the website of the German Research Foundation. You can find more universities here.
Renowned non-university institutes
In addition to business and universities, the non-university institutes in Germany offer good job opportunities for top international researchers. These institutes include institutions that are funded by the federal, state and local governments as well as publicly funded private non-profit organizations. These include the Fraunhofer Society, the Max Planck Society, the Helmholtz Association, and the Leibniz Association. With more than 60 research institutions, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is the largest organization for applied research in Europe.
These institutions conduct cutting-edge research in many different areas: in the environmental and energy sectors, in biomedicine, in the humanities or as a service for the public, politics and business.
Research in federal and state institutions
In addition, there are other institutions that conduct research financed by the federal and state governments. For example, the Robert Koch Institute in Berlin takes care of issues relating to disease monitoring and prevention, while the Institute for Microelectronics in Stuttgart researches new technologies.
There are a total of 38 research institutes that are in the service of individual federal ministries and conduct research from the respective areas of responsibility of the ministries. The federal states support more than 100 other institutes that are active in the natural sciences, but also in the humanities and law.
You can get a good overview of non-university and federal and state-sponsored research institutions from Research in Germany.
Networking plays a crucial role in science and research. For this reason, the federal government has launched several so-called cluster initiatives. Collaboration between researchers from companies and universities is specifically promoted in a city or region.
Both sides benefit from each other in the development of new technologies: Innovative ideas from academic research meet the service competence of the economy, and together both sides strengthen Germany as a location for innovation. Further information on cluster initiatives and networks can be found here.