Research Funding

Research Funding

Research Funding

The diversity of sponsoring options is unique. Alongside large organisations such as the German Research Foundation (DGF) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), up-and-coming scientists are also supported by numerous prominent foundations such as the Alexander von Humboldt foundation or the VW Foundation. In addition, there are also individual programmes provided by universities and extramural research establishments.

Funding programmes and databases

Germany has a wide range of funding options available for foreign scientists. More information can be found here:

Brochure: German Funding Programmes for Scientists and Researchers

Overview of selected funding programmes run by the most important research funding institutions for German and foreign academics.

The brochure is dedicated to international students, graduates, junior and senior researchers interested in a research stay in Germany.    

Download brochure here!


Overview of funding organisations

Research funding in Germany is provided by government bodies, various organisations, including many of the large non-university research institutions, and industry

A variety of organisations in Germany (Begabtenförderungswerke) specifically aim to foster young talent. Twelve organisations that work nationwide have formed a working group called the Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Begabtenförderungswerke in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. They support outstanding undergraduate and doctoral students.

Many of the large organisations that foster young research talent are organised as foundations. The range of different foundations is multifaceted. Many major sponsors of new research talent are organised as foundations.

Federal and state governments are the main sponsors of research in Germany alongside industry. Ministries significantly fund research through so-called project management organisations.

The influence of European funding is increasing as Europe grows closer together. The European Commission’s Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development define key areas for research and research funding. In addition, the Commission’s various programmes make a significant contribution to the networking of the European research landscape and the formation of a European Research Area (ERA).

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is the largest research funding organisation in Germany. It provides financial support for research in higher education and public research institutions, but does not run any research establishments itself. The DFG funds research in all disciplines using a bottom-up approach. That means any researcher can submit an application without any subject restrictions.

The German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) concentrates on application-oriented research and development at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). That is why it primarily promotes interchange between industry and science in order to swiftly put new research findings into practice. Its services are especially oriented towards German firms.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers. The DAAD offers foreign (junior) researchers funding opportunities to become acquainted with the German research landscape. Another goal of the DAAD is to strengthen the international networking of German higher education institutions and make them more attractive

Companies play an important role in German research: more than two-thirds of the annual funds invested in research come from industry. Although many companies achieve high standards of research themselves, they also invest in collaborations with research partners. Industry-funded research often produces rapidly realisable results and applications.

As an intermediary organisation of German foreign cultural and education policy the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation aims to promote international cultural dialogue and academic exchange. Its research scholarships and prizes enable outstanding researchers from abroad to complete long-term research stays in Germany.

The German Academies of Sciences and Humanities have a long tradition in the German research landscape. Academies are research facilities where long-term projects of basic research are carried out. They also provide guidance and advice to society and policymakers. The Academies offer many interesting opportunities for international researchers.