Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft

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The Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Donors' association for the promotion of humanities and sciences in Germany)[1] is a German organisation that seeks to address challenges in higher education, science and research. Its programmes and initiatives are aimed at finding workable solutions. The Stifterverband acts first and foremost as a thought leader and provides financial support to actors in academia that develop bottom-up solutions. In the context of its various programmes the Stifterverband frequently collaborates with partners from the business community. Moreover, the Stifterverband acts as a trustee for roughly 400 foundations that support a wide array of projects.

The Stifterverband was founded in 1920. Its headquarters are located in Essen and Berlin. Arend Oetker, a German entrepreneur, is the sitting president since 1998. He was succeeded by Andreas Barner in the course of 2013. The Secretary General of the Stifterverband is Andreas Schlüter.

Legally the Stifterverband is a private association that is financed through the donations of its 3,000 members. Major donors include large corporations Deutsche Bank, Daimler and Bosch, but also medium-sized companies and private individuals. Its board of trustees is composed of numerous current and former board and supervisory board members of the most important German companies as well as publicly financed academic research organisations.[2]

In 2011, the Stifterverband spent more than 35 million euros on its various programme activities. Nearly ten million euros went to endowed chairs at universities and universities of applied sciences across Germany.[3] Its associated foundations gave more than a hundred million euros to a variety of institutions and initiatives.


Funded by the German business community, the "Stifterverband" (Donors' association) was founded under the name "Stifter-Verband der Notgemeinschaft für die deutsche Wissenschaft," in December 1920, originally to assistant the Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft (Emergency Association of German Science), which had been founded shortly before, in October of the same year.[4] Carl Friedrich von Siemens was the first chair of the organization, and served until 1934.[5] In 1949, following the Second World War, it was re-founded in West Germany through the initiative of Richard Merton (1881-1960) and Friedrich ("Fritz") Gummert (1895-1963),[6][7] eventually taking on its current name. Merton served as the first postwar chair, from 1949 to 1955.[8]


The Stifterverbandes is a partner of the leading organisations within the German academic community including Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD), the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung as well as the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. In 1999, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft initiated the founding of Wissenschaft im dialog, an organisation for science communication.


The Stifterverband cooperates with major German research organisations in awarding prizes for outstanding achievements in a variety of fields. Together with the Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft it awards the Communicator-Preis for science communication. Since 1999 it awards the Erwin-Schrödinger-Preis for interdisciplinary research together with the Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft as well as the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft each award a „Preis des Stifterverbandes für die Deutsche Wissenschaft“. Together with the Hochschulrektorenkonferenz it awards the Ars legendi-Preis for excellence in higher education didactics.

„Stadt der Wissenschaft“ ("City of Science")[edit]

So as to incentivise German cities and city-regions to support science and higher education the Stifterverband awards the prize Stadt der Wissenschaft (“City of Science”).

The following cities have won the award in recent years:


  • Winfried Schulze: Der Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft: 1920-1995. ISBN 3-05-002900-5.


  1. ^ Commonly used English translation of the organization's name, as found, for example, in the following publication of a study commissioned by the German government: Harald Legler, Georg Licht, and Alfred Spielkamp, Germany’s Technological Performance: A Study on Behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Heidelberg: Physica-Verlag, 2000), p. 183.
  2. ^ Stifterverband: Board of Trustees
  3. ^ Stifterverband: Budgetary Expenditure 2010/11
  4. ^ Hammerstein, Notker (1996). Review of: Winfried Schulze, Der Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft 1920-1995 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1995). Historische Zeitschrift, 263(1), 248-250; here: p. 249. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  5. ^ Carl Friedrich von Siemens: Vorsitzender des Stifterverbandes 1920-1934. Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  6. ^ Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft [member overview], section "Background," on the website of the European Foundation Centre. Retrieved 2015-09-04.
  7. ^ Schreiber, Georg (1954). Deutsche Wissenschaftspolitik von Bismarck bis zum Atomwissenschaftler Otto Hahn. Publication of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forschung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen, Geisteswissenschaften, Heft 6. p. 51.
  8. ^ Richard Merton: Vorstandsvorsitzender des Stifterverbandes 1949-1955. Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft. Retrieved 2015-09-04.

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