Densest research network

World class in research and development

Whether at the elite universities RWTH Aachen and Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn, Forschungszentrum Jülich, the German Aerospace Center, nine institutes of the Leibniz Association, 14 Fraunhofer and Max Planck Institutes as well as 64 collaborative research centers at universities – every day, many thousands of scientists and developers advance the know-how in their fields a little more. This creates ideal conditions for innovation and technology transfer in the densest research network in Europe.

Research institutes in NRW

RWTH Aachen Campus

In NRW, 68 universities, including two elite universities, fourteen clusters of excellence and five graduate schools, provide teaching and research at the highest level.

Forschungszentrum Jülich is part of the Helmholtz Association and with 6,500 employees one of the largest research centers in Europe. It develops innovative solutions in the areas of energy, environment, health and information technology.

Aeronautics, space travel, transport, energy and security are the research fields addressed by the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne. The backbone is formed by large-scale testing facilities such as wind tunnels, powertrain and material test beds, as well as a high-flux solar furnace. As part of the Helmholtz Association the DLR in Cologne employs around 1,400 people.

Under the umbrella of the Helmholtz Association the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) in Bonn conducts research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

center of advanced european studies and research (caesar) in Bonn conducts research in the field of neurosciences with modern photonic, molecular biological and chemical and microtechnological methods.

12 Max Planck Institutes in North Rhine-Westphalia concern themselves with, for example, bioinorganic chemistry, iron and coal research, social research, molecular biomedicine and radio astronomy.

14 Fraunhofer Institutes of Applied Research work in fields that include information technology, laser technology, logistics, microelectronics, molecular biology, production technology, software and environmental technology.

As an umbrella organization, the Johannes Rau Research Foundation (JRF) funded by the state of NRW brings together 15 legally independent, non-university and non-profit research institutes in NRW. The objects of the JRF are research cooperation, promotion of young scientists, public relations and regular evaluation of the member institutions.

Ten institutes of the Leibniz Association in NRW conduct research in different disciplines such as adult education, interactive materials, diabetes research, economic research and zoology. 

In NRW there are also 64 special research areas at universities in the state which are financed by the German Research Foundation.

R&D support in NRW

The close cooperation between industry and research is an important prerequisite for the innovative strength of North Rhine-Westphalia. To support this knowledge transfer further the NRW Ministry of Science provides a database for companies seeking contact with research institutes.

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In addition, the focus in NRW is naturally also on the promotion of new ideas and young researchers. More than 60 technology and business incubation centers promote innovative start-ups, spin-offs and the settlement of high-tech companies. They provide young firms with professional infrastructure facilities and established networks that ensure proximity to the market with partners from industry and research. In addition, 30 technology transfer units at the North Rhine-Westphalian universities support academics with business start-ups, trade fair presentations and patents.


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Trade & Investment Agency of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW)
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Germany’s No. 1 Economic Region

The excellent infrastructure, the central location and the high qualifications of the people make North Rhine-Westphalia an economic power of international standing. In terms of numerous economic statistics, NRW is world class.


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