Baden-Württemberg's qualities as a location of outstanding research is not only apparent in its broad range of universities, but also conspicuous through the large number of eminent national and international research centers based here, which enhance Baden-Württemberg's reputation as one of Europe's major research regions.
The Helmholtz Association employs more than 40,000 staff in 18 research centres with a focus on the natural sciences technology, medicine and biology. The researchers work on solutions to the main, most pressing problems of society, science and business. Their strategic, programmed research is focused on six areas: energy, earth and environment, health, matter, key technologies, aerospace and transport. With an annual budget in excess of 4 billion euros the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. With the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) and the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), the largest biomedical research Institute in Germany, two Helmholtz centres are based in Baden-Württemberg.
Others have branches in the state: the six German Centres for Health Research with its nine locations and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with two locations. The DLR carries out comprehensive R&D work in the areas of aerospace, energy, transport and safety. Baden-Württemberg is also home to the National Center for Tumour Diseases (NCT) in Heidelberg and the Helmholtz Institute for Electrochemical Energy Storage in Ulm (HIU).
Founded in 1949, the Fraunhofer Society works with international partners to advance applied research for the benefit of business and society. It receives research contracts from industry, service companies and public bodies. The aim of ist research activities is to transfer its findings into innovative products and services. The Fraunhofer Institutes also carry out their own initial research in order to have an influence on the development of the technology of the future. Research Topics include health and the environment, protection and safety, mobility and transport, production and services, communication and knowledge and energy and raw materials. The Fraunhofer Institutes work together in institute associations and joint research projects and also work closely with external partners such as universities and other research institutions. In Baden-Württemberg the Fraunhofer Society is represented by 13 institutions, a field office and three project groups.
With five Fraunhofer institutions each, Freiburg and Stuttgart are important research locations. The Fraunhofer Institute in Freiburg concentrates on studying solid state physics, solar energy systems and the mechanics of materials. The Fraunhofer Institute in Stuttgart focuses on industrial engineering and organization; building physics; interfacial engineering and biotechnology; manufacturing engineering and automation; and planning and building.
Max Planck Society
The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science e.V. is an independent, non-profit research organisation. Its institutes primarily focus on basic research in selected fields in the natural sciences, the humanities and the social sciences, and their discoveries and findings provide a foundation for innovations that are important for business and society. It has produced more Nobel Prize winners than any other research establishment in Germany, including Klaus von Klitzing and Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard. The research topics studied at the Max Planck Institutes complement the work of universities and other research institutions. Baden- Württemberg is home to thirteen Max Planck Institutes.
The Max Planck Society employs around 3,560 people in the state, including numerous researchers from all over the world. The Max Planck Institutes have a strong international network thanks to ist many joint research projects with foreign partners.
The Leibniz Association brings together 95 independent research establishments. Its research includes the natural sciences, engineering, environmental science, economics, spatial planning, the social sciences and the humanities. The Leibniz Institutes focus on issues that are relevant to society, the economy and the environment. They carry out empirical and applied research, including in the umbrella Leibniz research associations, and are or support scientific infrastructures and offer researchbased services.
There are seven Leibniz Institutes in Baden-Württemberg. The Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences performs social surveys and data analyses for the public good. The Centre for European Economic Research in Mannheim studies the overall economic situation in Germany and Europe, and makes important contributions in the field of labor market research. The Mathematical Research Institute in Oberwolfach and the Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (KIS) in Freiburg are the Leibniz Association's natural science institutions.
Baden-Württemberg Innovation Alliance
In a region that is home to many mid-tier businesses, the Baden-Württemberg's Innovation Alliance (inn-BW) plays an important role thanks to its targeted applied research activities. innBW is an alliance of 13 independent applied research institutions with a total of 1,150 employees. The institutes target their research to meet the needs of business and the economy and focus on areas of technology that are important for them.
With some 4,500 industry-related projects in key areas for the future, such as health and elderly care, sustainable mobility, energy and environmental technology, information and communication, innBW plays an important role in the state’s technology transfer. The majority of its research is commissioned by small and mid-tier companies. For the development of new, innovative products, the focus is on materials and surfaces that are suitable for a range of technologies, microsystem technology / electronics, digitalisation, nanotechnology, biotechnology, photonics, production engineering and management systems.
The Innovation Alliance has the key function of building bridges between basic research at universities and the technical advances taking place in industry. The directors of most of these institutes are also professors at universities or heads of University departments. This guarantees that there are many exchanges of knowledge and personnel between the independent research institutes and the universities. Undergraduates and postgraduates can also gain further qualifications for future work in industry by writing dissertations and doctoral theses that are relevant to current practical issues in industry.