Stifterverband: Who We Are

Stifterverband is the business community's innovation agency for

the German science system.

Stifterverband is private, dedicated and not-for-profit association.
Through donations, membership fees and other forms of income,
Stifterverband generates annual funds of well over 120 million EUR,
making it the largest private institution of its kind in Germany.

Stifterverband is a unique, highly respected institution focused on the
future. Since 1920, industry has stressed the need for excellent universities
and internationally competitive research institutes. However, it was only
in Germany that companies joined forces with active members of the
public to form a major science and learning initiative.

Promoting Science and Learning (Cover)What Stifterverband aims to achieve

Stifterverband's work centres on creating
a productive and open knowledge society.
Its goal is to work together effectively
with universities, institutes and companies,
allowing homegrown talent to be devel-
oped to its full potential and new ideas
to be brought to fruition.
Stifterverband is a major driving force
behind the cooperation between industry
and science and behind the dialogue be-
tween academia and the general public.
Tens of millions of euros are invested by
Stifterverband in programmes, prizes and
initiatives designed to boost autonomy
and competition in Germany's academic

The goal is higher education opportunities for all
Stifterverband is actively involved in efforts to make higher education more universally accessible, to increase the number of graduates in science and engineering, to align studies and professional life more effectively, to improve curriculum development and provide better support to students from non-traditional backgrounds.

Excellence initiatives
Stifterverband also works to ensure high standards in university teaching, a core function that is frequently neglected. Thanks to a combination of excellence initiatives, lecturing awards and guest lecturer programmes, the association has had considerable success – as evidenced by falling drop-out rates and growing student satisfaction.

Foundation chairs
The original idea was for companies and foundations to help universities to raise their profile and to finance additional academic chairs. In many cases, private funding is initially required to bridge gaps in a university’s curriculum and to steer research in a new, forward-looking direction. Stifterverband popularised this model in Germany, providing advice and specialist services and sponsoring over 250 foundation chairs since the mid-1980s.

Higher level performance
Stifterverband helps today’s autonomous universities to use their independence to its full potential. Recent programmes have been launched with a view to promoting professional quality and HR management, providing valuable training for science managers and raising the profile of the universities themselves.


Stifterverband also produces videos in the English language on topics of science, politics, education and economy. This is part of our YouTube channel.

Updates on Stifterverband's initiatives

MOOCMOOC Production Fellowships
250,000 Euros for online teaching. Internet users can vote for their favourite course idea until May 23, 2013. Ten fellowships will be granted to produce new online courses.


Service Centre for Endowed ChairsService Centre for Endowed Chairs
The Stifterverband is operating a service centre to help setting up endowed chairs and bridging industry and science.

PDF download

Rethinking EconomicsRethinking Economics
Economics between Industry and Science. Conference on January 23/24, 2012 in Frankfurt/Main with 250 scientists, business representatives and politicians.

Conference profile

Interactive Added ValueInteractive Added Value
Publication on new innovation models between industry and science. How the potential for innovation can be increased significantly by cooperation strategies. Published in 2011.

Read online & PDF download