The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific research community. A total of 24,000 staff work in its 15 scientific-technical and biological-medical research centres. The Association’s annual budget runs to more than €2 billion. The Federal and Länder authorities share around 70% of the total budget in a ratio of 90:10. The remaining 30% or so of the budget is acquired by the Helmholtz Centres in the form of contract funding.
The Helmholtz Association has been commissioned with performing research which contributes substantially to answering the grand challenges of science, society and industry. Scientists at Helmholtz concentrate on researching the highly-complex systems which determine human life and the environment. For example, ensuring that society remains mobile and has a reliable energy supply, that future generations find an intact environment or that treatments are found for previously incurable diseases. The activities of the Helmholtz Association focus on securing the foundations of human life long-term and on creating the technological basis for a competitive economy. The potential with which the Association achieves these goals is made up of the outstanding scientists working at the research centres, a high-performance infrastructure and modern research management.
To succeed in meeting these responsibilities, the Helmholtz Association concentrates its work in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter plus Transport and Space. Scientists develop research programmes for each of these fields. International experts review these programmes. Their evaluation forms the basis for the programme-oriented funding given to Helmholtz research. Within the six research fields, Helmholtz scientists cooperate with each other and with external partners - working across disciplinary, organisational and national borders. Indeed, the name Helmholtz stands for concerted research in which networks form the key principle behind inquiring thought and action. Concerted research is efficient and flexible. Helmholtz uses this research to create an effective basis for shaping the future.