The Leibniz Association comprises 87 research institutions which address scientific issues of importance to society as a whole. They provide infrastructure for science and research and perform research-based services – liaison, consultation, transfer – for the public, policy makers, academia and business. They conduct research ranging from natural science, engineering and environmental science via economics, social science and infrastructure research to the humanities.
The typical Leibniz institute is a compact, flexible unit of excellence. Each institute works in a thematically defined, groundbreaking research field. An interdisciplinary approach and academic freedom characterise the work, which has a strategic mission: The research tasks at Leibniz institutes span knowledge-oriented basic research and applied research and build a bridge between them. The institutes cooperate with universities, institutions belonging to other research organisations and commercial enterprise at national and international level.
Leibniz institutes complement university research. The current excellence initiative also reflects this close cooperation. It promotes clusters of excellence, graduate schools and outstanding concepts for the future. Leibniz institutes are involved in many of these measures. As a result of their strategic approach to research, Leibniz institutes already play a central role in research networks and centres, regional clusters, collaborative research centres and research training groups. More than 200 directors and leading scientists hold joint appointments as professors at neighbouring universities.