German research landscape is highly diverse and complex in structure. For
example, public-sector institutions are financed both by the state and
by industry, while private research also receives state support. Funding
for research projects is provided by the Federal Ministry of Education
and Research (BMBF), the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labour (BMWA),
the federal states governments, social partners and foundations.
Government related research
are two federal institutes which are part of the civil service and funded
by the respective Ministry: The Federal Institute for Vocational Training
(BIBB) with the BMBF and the Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung
(IAB) with the BMWA.
1995 the BMBF and the BMWA have established Project management agencies
(Projekttraeger), consisting of organisational units sited within qualified
institutions, that carry out scientific, technical and administrative management
tasks, in various areas. The main tasks of project management agencies
consist of providing project support. Their work is focussed on advising
applicants in technical and administrative matters, preparing decisions
on support, supporting ongoing projects and monitoring project success.
management agencies also perform a number of additional tasks, such as
supporting planning, analysis and evaluation of programmes, organising
technical conferences and workshops, carrying out activities for international
co-operation and advising applicants regarding the EU's specialised programmes.
Loan-funded project management agencies are empowered not only to prepare
funding decisions for the BMBF, but also to take such decisions themselves,
within certain technical guidelines. The main project managing agencies
are the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB)
and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
addition to its use of project management agencies, the BMBF and the BMWA
operate two advising programmes designed to provide potential applicants
for support with fast, clear information about the ministries’ project-support
activities: the electronic application system “easy and profi – the project-support
information system" enables persons and organisations interested in obtaining
support to submit applications for support online.
support the participation in the Sixth Framework Programme for Research
and Technological Development (priority 7:"Citizens and governance in the
knowledge society"), the BMBF has established a national contact point
which is located within the DLR offices.
Publicly funded non-government research
research in federal or state institutes under their auspices, the Federal
Government and the Laender are jointly funding research carried out by
independent institutes through research societies. Under Art. 91 b of the
Basic Law, the two sides cooperate in supporting scientific research institutions
and projects of supra-regional importance. This includes the key players
in Germanys research landscape such as the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
(DFG), the Max Planck Society (MPG), the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (FhG)
and the Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat).
is mostly provided on an institutional basis. In each case, the percentage
of a research organisation's total budget that is provided as basic institutional
financing depends on the organisation's profile. Universities are the basis
of Germany's research system. Increasingly, basic financing provided to
higher education institutions – funding for which the Laender are responsible
– is being tied to performance indicators. Along with basic financing,
project funding from industry and from research sponsors – such as the
BMBF or the EU Commission – has increasingly been promoting greater orientation
to applications and fostering competition leading to more efficiency.
of the Max Planck Society (MPG) primarily carry out knowledge-oriented
basic research. This is why nearly 90 percent of the MPG's budget is provided
as basic financing. On the other hand, basic financing accounts for only
about 40 percent of the total budget of the Fraunhofer Society (FhG), which
is highly application-oriented. Basic financing for the FhG supports preparatory
research that enables Fraunhofer institutes to develop their competences
continually and to maintain their contacts to the academic world. Since
the FhG's basic financing is linked to third party funding that the organisation
is able to attract, the FhG has a high incentive to mobilise such outside
funding, especially from the business sector. Both the MPG and the FhG
have member institutes for certain fields of research.
the other hand the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Science Association (WGL)
is an association of individual institutes which are also jointly financed
within a framework agreement on research support ("Blue List" framework).
Funding for the programme is normally shared by the Federal Government
and the Laender on a 50:50 basis, although funding for some institutions,
especially service-function institutions, is split differently. To date
85 institutes are on the Blue List, some 10 of which are doing social science
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) provides a rather open funding structure.
It awards its funding, on a competitive basis, for winning project proposals
– especially from universities and research institutes. The main task of
the DFG is to support research at universities and public research institutions,
although most of its resources go to the university sector. DFG statutes
furthermore stipulate the tasks of supporting co-operation between researchers,
supporting young scientists, providing scientific advice for parliaments
and authorities and fostering relations between the science communities
in and outside Germany. To fulfil these tasks, the DFG has the following
instruments and procedures at its disposal: Individual grants, Priority
programmes, Research groups, Research centres, Collaborative Research Centres,
Transfer units, Research Training Groups (Graduiertenkollegs).
science-promoting foundations make a valuable contribution to safeguarding
the quality of research in Germany. The foundations complement public research
funding and are an expression of private financial commitment. The recent
amendment to Germany’s tax law provisions for foundations has enhanced
tax incentives for potential donors and improved instruments for long-term
protection of foundations' vitality The Association of German Academic
Foundations (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V.) is
an example of industry's concerted efforts to promote German science and
research. Other large German foundations such as the Volkswagen Foundation,
the Robert Bosch Foundation and the Bertelsmann Foundation also sponsor
projects or institutions in the field of education and training. Eleven
organisations for the promotion of young talent, financed largely from
federal funds, play a particularly important role in the German system
of foundations because of the grants and scholarships they provide to undergraduate
students and PhD candidates.