Institutional funding

In addition to the temporary funding of projects, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) also focuses on long-term institutional funding. A brief, exemplary overview here shows which research institutions in the social sciences and the humanities the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding jointly with the Federal States.

Doktorhut auf Buch; © Adobe Stock/ekaphon

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Leibniz Asscociation

The Leibniz Association currently comprises over 90 non-university research and infrastructure facilities. The "Humanities and Educational Research" section of the Leibniz Association brings together the expertise of leading research institutes in the fields of education and linguistics, history and cultural studies, as well as institutes that supply and develop research infrastructures. To these must be added the large research museums with their unique collections. The Economic and Social Sciences, Spatial Sciences ("Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Raumwissenschaften") section is also dedicated to the topics of Democratic Participation and Social Integration.

Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin

Since 1981, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, an "Institute for Advanced Study", has provided researchers with the opportunity to work on their own research projects for one year free from any teaching duties. Since then, more than 1700 Fellows have conducted research there, and every year sees the addition of around 40 Fellows. The expenses are borne jointly by the Federal Government and the State of Berlin.

Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities

The Academies Programme of the eight German Academies, which fall under the umbrella of the “Akademienunion”, is the largest research programme in the humanities in the Federal Republic of Germany. Long-term projects are dedicated to the examination of past cultures, social forms, writings, notes, scholars, legal systems, religious ways of life both in Germany and beyond. Research topics are chosen from the fields of theology, philosophy, history, literature and linguistics, art history and archaeology, epigraphy and onomastics, as well as musicology. The quality and level of research conducted in the Academies programme is quite remarkable. In order to be accepted into the Academies Programme, research projects must meet the following criteria:

  • Duration of between 12 and 25 years and with
  • high academic relevance
  • supra-regional significance for the state as a whole
  • a minimum financial volume of 120,000 euros per year.

With the digitisation of old sources, and with open access and open sources, the programme is creating the important empirical foundations for disciplines in the humanities – and thus represents basic research in the humanities par excellence. These projects also often represent the global centre for certain research topics. Not only does the Academies Programme develop, preserve, interpret and visualise human cultural heritage nationally and worldwide, but it is also creating an invaluable store of knowledge for our future. The Federal Government and the Federal States jointly finance the academy programme – with a total of 70,8 million euros in 2020.

Max Weber Foundation

The Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad is the only institute in Germany that conducts basic research exclusively abroad, and currently has ten institutes worldwide, as well as further research groups and offices. As internationally cooperating Centers of Excellence abroad, they reflect and promote the capabilities of the German humanities and social sciences. Since spring 2019, the researchers have been engaged in the research project "Wissen entgrenzen: Internationalisierung, Vernetzung, Innovation in der und durch die Max Weber Stiftung" (Removing the Borders of Knowledge: Internationalisation, Networking, Innovation in and through the Max Weber Foundation) with the aim of opening up innovative fields of research. Once a year, supported by the Peters Beer Foundation as well as the Marga und Kurt Möllgaard Foundation, both part of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, the Max Weber Foundation (MWS) confers Gerald D. Feldman Travel Grants to young academics (humanities and social sciences) with an international focus.