Research and innovation
Germany is a nation of innovation. The foundations for this are found in its ambitious cutting-edge research and global academic networks.
How Germany is fostering scientific advances, which institutions are helping to shape the research landscape, and where particularly elaborate projects are being implemented.
Facts and figures
420 higher education institutions
The German higher education world offers excellent prospects even beyond the big cities.
2.9 million students
More than half of young people in Germany now study for a university degree.
107 billion euros for research and development
Germany is one of the few countries that spends more than three percent of its GDP on research and development.
Around 400,000 researchers
International researchers currently account for 12 % of academic personnel in Germany.
86 Max Planck Institutes
The MPIs are dedicated primarily to basic research.
76 Fraunhofer Institutes
At Fraunhofer, the focus is on applied research.
96 research institutions in the Leibniz Association
The fields covered by the Leibniz Institutes range from engineering to humanities.
19 research centres in the Helmholtz Association
Fields of research: energy, earth/environment, health, key technologies, materials, transport and space.
At the Fraunhofer Institute in Erlangen, a team headed by electrical engineer and mathematician Karlheinz Brandenburg develops the MP3 process for compressing audio data, which is nowadays standard throughout the world.
Nine years after the discovery of the giant magnetoresistance effect, which led to the breakthrough of gigabyte hard drives, the German Peter Grünberg and the Frenchman Albert Fert are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.
The European Patent Office honours Heidelberg physicist Josef Bille, the inventor of the eye laser, for his lifetime achievement. With almost 100 patents, Bille paved the way for present-day eye surgery using lasers.
Stefan Hell, a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, together with two US researchers receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing high resolution fluorescence microscopy.
The Joint Science Conference involving the Federal and state governments resulted in a resolution on a package of measures to give a definitive boost to research and teaching in Germany: With the “Future Contract for Strengthening Study and Teaching”, the “Innovation in Higher Education Teaching” agreement, and the continuation of the “Pact for Research and Innovation”, the donors aim to invest more than 160 billion euros over the next ten years.
Less than a year after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the USA and the EU issue initial approvals for a vaccine against the virus. The vaccine was developed by the German Biontech firm, working in collaboration with Pfizer. The vaccine saves millions of human lives.