There are a large number of institutions conducting food and agricultural research – understood in a very broad sense – in Germany. Due to the federal constitution there is a shared responsibility between the Federal Government and the Länder (States) in funding research. Simplifying things one can distinguish three pillars: institutions funded by the federal ministries, institutions funded by the state governments and jointly funded institutions.
Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection
Within the German Government the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) is in charge of policy development in its portfolio. The following Federal Research Institutes provide scientific advice to support the decision-making process within the ministry:
Federal Ministry of Education and Research
In the German education and research system the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is not only a strong financial supporter but also an important partner for the Länder (states) and for industry. Alone or together with the Länder (states) or others, it provides funds for many different initiatives. Besides funding of institutions the BMBF provides financial support for innovative projects and ideas under targeted research funding programmes. Research funding supports scientific institutions and enterprises. The BMBF also funds individual researchers via special funding institutions. Priority is given to large science and research organizations and for project funding in areas which create jobs; the biotechnology sector is one important example.
State Governments supporting food and agricultural research
At the level of the States relevant activities are conducted by universities, universities of applied sciences and state funded research institutes. Universities are the most important actors with regard to research and training. There are a number of faculties in the fields of agriculture, food, forestry, horticulture and veterinary medicine dispersed all over Germany. The universities of applied sciences are offering courses of study in agricultural science, horticultural science and forestry. The functions of the state funded research institutes or departments are oriented towards assisting administrative and hand-on decision-making in the states and towards the acquisition of knowledge to benefit agriculture and rural areas. The research portal of the BMBF offers a comprehensive search engine and research map on all relevant programmes and institutions.
Jointly funded organisations of the Federal Government and the Länder (states)
There are four non-university research organisations and the German Research Foundation (DFG) which are jointly financed at present by the federal government (mainly the BMBF) and the state governments. Institutes and centres of these organisations are conducting basic, application oriented or applied research which is directly or indirectly relevant for the agricultural sector at large.
The following Leibniz Institutes are performing relevant agri-food research:
The following centres of the Helmholtz Society are conducting relevant agricultural research:
The following Max Planck Institutes (MPI) are performing basic research of agricultural relevance:
The following Fraunhofer Institutes (FI) are conducting applied research of agricultural relevance:
The Federal Government has a number of different instruments in order to fund the German research system, either through targeted, short-to-medium-term or through medium-to-long-term core funding of institutional research. Agriculturally relevant programme funding is provided by BMELV and BMBF in the following areas: