Research topics of the Berlin sciences

The rich expertise of Berlin's scientific landscape

Berlin is a unique science location: Berlin universities offer more than 700 different degree programs, in which close 200.000 students conduct research. About 20% of them come from abroad in to get to know the capital’s open research atmosphere. The promising cooperations between universities, non-university research institutions, and technology centers makes Berlin a hotspot for business and science.


The science metropolis unites a total of:

  • 4 Universities (including Universität der Künste, UdK) and the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • 7 Universities of applied sciences
  • 3 Art colleges
  • 25 state-recognized private colleges
  • and around 70 non-university research institutions.

Non-university research in Berlin:

In addition, there are research centers of the Helmholtz Association, institutes of the Leibniz Association, the Max Planck Society, and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, as well as independent research institutes. The collaboration of researchers is interdisciplinary: whether it is clusters of excellence, graduate schools, or special research areas - Berlin offers cutting-edge research.

Overview: Scientific Institutions

Future concepts

Excellence Alliance: The Berlin University Alliance (BUA) has been funded as an excellence alliance in the Excellence strategy competition of the Federal and State governments since 2019. A committee of experts, which consists mainly of the Science Council and the German Research Foundation (DFG), selected the Berlin University Alliance, the Technische Universität Berlin, the Freie Universität Berlin and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin with the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin for funding within the framework of the Excellence strategy (ExStra) of the Federal and State governments. The interdisciplinary research projects of the alliance will be funded with up to ten million Euro per project up to 2026. 

Excellence Clusters: In 2018, Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin jointly received funding approval for seven Excellence clusters starting in January 2019. The funding period is seven years. Funds totalling around 335 million Euro were raised. 

The Berlin Exzellence Clustersn:


Cooperation is crucial to the capital's success

The network between the various scientific institutions is strengthened, for example, by the IFAF Institut für Angewandte Forschung Berlin (Institute for Applied Research), which pools the research expertise of Berlin's four state universities of applied sciences. 

The 35 professorships in the field of digital transformation at the Einstein Center Digital Future (ECDF) also show that Berlin is steadily consolidating its place as a leading science metropolis in Europe


Research focus in Berlin: The German Center of Digitization

Myon Beuth-Hochschule für Technik

Digitization is being researched and driven forward in the capital. Central hubs of the Digitization Strategy include the following institutions:


  • BIFOLD – The Berlin Institute for the Foundations of Learning and Data – combines the AI expertise of the capital and is a beacon of cutting-edge research. It was created in early 2020 by a merger of the Berlin Big Data Centre (BBDC) and the Berlin Centre for Machine Learning (BZML). 
  • Einstein Center Digital Future – An inter-university and interdisciplinary alliance to promote and research the digitisation of society. The ECDF is a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) made up of more than 30 companies and organisations, all four Berlin universities, the Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin and more than ten research institutes from science in Berlin. The ECDF started its work in 2017 and has a planned duration of six years. 
  • Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society – The German Internet Institute is a joint project of Berlin and Brandenburg funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The consortium consists of all four Berlin universities (including the UdK Berlin) as well as the University of Potsdam, the FOKUS Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems and the Berlin Science Centre for Social Research (WZB). 
  • Fraunhofer High Performance Center “Digital Transformation” – In conjunction with the four Fraunhofer institutes FOKUS, HHI, IPK, and IZM in Berlin, the city of the future and the digitization of industry and production are being investigated here.

Medical research in Berlin - A dynamic healthcare location

TU Berlin Lichtmikroskop

Berlin is home to the Charité (which is the largest university hospital in Germany), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC), and the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH).


  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin – More than 21,500 employees, including 5,242 researchers, doctors and 307 professors. 9,485 students are enrolled at the Charité. With over 3200 beds, the Charité is one of the largest university hospitals in Europe and is the centre of medical research in Berlin.  (Status: May 2023)
  • Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine – The Berlin Institute for Health Research is part of the Charité. The research areas are translation and precision medicine. 
  • Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) – The MDC is a biomedical research centre. As a member of the Helmholtz Association, the MDC, founded in 1992, advocates medical progress, for example in the area of cancer research. It bears the name of Nobel Prize winner Max Delbrück, one of the founders of modern interdisciplinary genetics and molecular biology. 

Berlin - a leading international location in the field of health economy

HealthCapital: In the health economy cluster, the promotion of Berlin as one of the leading locations in the areas of health care and life sciences is promoted. The German capital region Berlin-Brandenburg occupies a leading position internationally in the health economy, health care and life sciences.

World market leaders, renowned scientists, first-class clinics, innovative start-ups, and specialists from all over the world work together daily to deliver world-class services for the regional and global healthcare markets. 

Big data, digital health and telemedicine are research focuses of the innovative pharmaceutical, medtech and biotech companies. Closely networked with the city’s many medical facilities, they make Berlin an attractive health location.

Humanities and Social Sciences - Berlin attracts industry experts from all over the world

HTW-Berlin Bibliothek

In Berlin, interdisciplinary expertise meets diverse fields of research in the humanities and social sciences – from the ancient world to global change processes.