The Max Planck Institutes conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Max Planck Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. The research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities.
Established in 1964, the Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH (Robert Bosch Foundation) is one of the major German foundations associated with a private company. Its charter describes its objectives as follows: public health care, international understanding, public welfare, education, arts and culture, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
The Stifterverband is a business community initiative advocating long-term improvement of the German education and research landscape. In order to achieve this goal, the Stifterverband provides funding for universities and research institutes, supports talents, analyses the higher education system, and devises recommendations for policymakers and business. The Stifterverband covers 3,000 businesses, trade associations, foundations and private individuals. Together, they form one of Germany’s biggest private academic patrons.
The Volkswagen Foundation has been funding research projects in all disciplines since 1962. Its mission is to establish forward-looking fields of knowledge. The Foundation is an independent, non-profit Foundation under private law. With a funding volume of up to 100 million euros p. a. it is the largest private science funder and one of the major foundations in Germany. It provides financial assistence to researchers in academic institutions in Germany, as well as other countries, and funding is available for projects in all disciplines.