Their passion is new ideas, unknown territory: scientists in Germany research the body, plants, animals, virtual space, the ocean’s depths, and outer space. They advance knowledge in every aspect of life. Research has a long tradition in Germany and offers excellent opportunities – including for young scientists from abroad. Industry provides the lion’s share of research spending. However, the Federal Government also funds education and research – to the tune of no less than 15.3 billion euros in 2015. With a high-tech strategy, it supports researchers in finding answers to important questions and in quickly implementing their ideas, in fields such as digitalisation, sustainability, the working world, healthcare, mobility, and civil security.
Universities play a key role in the German research world. Alongside teaching, basic research is the second pillar of the universities. There are numerous familiar names: 15 large and research-focussed universities are affiliated in the German U15 initiative. They include Heidelberg University and Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in München. These universities and Technische Universität Munich are often among the frontrunners in international rankings. Numerous top researchers work at one of the very many internationally-renowned research institutes run by the Max Planck Society, Helmholtz Association, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, and Leibniz Association. There are also many interesting opportunities here for up-and-coming researchers from abroad, for instance, doctoral studies. The DFG, the German Research Foundation, is responsible for promoting science. It is the largest organisation of its kind in Europe.
It goes without saying that German research is highly international. The best results are often the result of teamwork – with fellow researchers in other disciplines and from all over the world. Today, ten percent of employees at German higher education institutions come from abroad. And almost half of scientific publications are written by researchers in Germany working in international teams.