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Scientific performance

Publications and transfer

ISI- or scopus-indexed publications

Publications are a key measure of scientific productivity, and Helmholtz once again recorded clear growth in this area. In 2019, a total of 17,097 papers were published in ISI or Scopus-indexed scientific journals. The number of publications thus grew by 2.2 percent over the previous year and by a total of 26,2 percent in the last five years. In a comparison of the periods 2009-2012 and 2013-2016, the share increased from 10.9 percent to 12.7 percent. Helmholtz is thus continuously increasing its share of Germany-wide publication volume and is at the top of the list of non-university research organizations.

Nature index 2020/21

A good measure of the quality of research findings is the number of times they are published in prestigious journals. The Nature Publishing Group releases a ranking of the top 200 research organizations worldwide. The “Nature Index” is based on publications in 82 journals that are independently selected as the most important by two panels of scientists from the fields of physics, chemistry, environmental science, and the life sciences. Helmholtz has ranked among the top ten international institutions for years. The table shows the Nature Index for the period September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2021.


Helmholtz researchers significantly boost Germany’s innovative capacity by disseminating knowledge and converting economically valuable results into entrepreneurial endeavors. Accordingly, Helmholtz places an increasing focus on the transfer of knowledge and technology. In the department of transfer and innovation, we work together with the transfer offices of the centers to promote the exchange between science, industry and society through networks, targeted transfer support programs and the development of joint partnerships. Over the last few years, a variety of new instruments and platforms have been established to promote these aims, including the Helmholtz Validation Fund, the Helmholtz Innovation Labs, and the Innovation Funds of the Helmholtz Centers. At 154 million euros, revenues from business collaborations in 2020 are slightly below the level of previous years, as is the number of patent applications at 352. The number of spin-offs is also stable at 23.

Technology transfer: Revenues

Research spin-offs

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