Our Future is Yours

  • Our €4.45bn budget funds 250+ research institutes
  • Our 38,000+ staff in 18 research centres manage Germany's scientific infrastructure
  • Our six research programmes aim to solve society's grand challenges

NEWS:  The Helmholtz Association will fund up to 20 Young Investigator Groups (generally, for researchers with between two and six years' experience) in 2017.  The call for proposals will be in the New Year.

If you have an excellent research question and the skills (or would like to learn the skills) to lead a research team prepare your ideas now.  In 2016 nearly 200 proposals were received and 13 grants for  €300,000 a year were made to early career researchers with exceptional research proposals. 

The Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Welcome to the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organization. This page introduces you to the Association and how it supports Early Career Researchers (ECRs).  


The Helmholtz Association has annual expenditure of over €4bn and, commensurate with this level of funding, has world-class science infrastructure which is, in many cases, an international research hub.

The Association is named after Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894), one of the last great scientific generalists. His interests spanned the conservation of energy, physiology, acoustics, epistemology and perception and this range of research is reflected in the Association's mission which:

  • works across six fields of research with excellent infrastructure
  • has 18 major research centres
  • encourages depth and breadth of investigation
  • encourages interdisciplinary work to increase creativity
  • reflects on how scientific advances benefit mankind
  • is truly international in scope - which includes having a welcoming environment for early career researchers from around the world.

The Association has a culture of high achievement and to sustain this it supports especially talented early career researchers to establish themselves as pure scientists, research managers and technology transfer entrepreneurs.  Our ECRs have access the extensive academic, industrial and research networks of the Association.

The President (Professor Otmar D Wiestler) manages an annual fund of approximately €90m which finances prestigious ECR development programmes in its 18 independent research centres (the members of the Association). To date, the President's Strategic Fund has helped found 13 new graduate schools, 21 new research schools and almost 200 post-doctoral Young Investigator Groups, which allow exceptional postdoctoral researchers to lead their own research groups.

The Fund has created thousands of openings for PhD candidates and post-doctoral scientists and provided access to mentoring programmes, international networking and the Helmholtz Management Academy.

As a Helmholtz researcher you will have access to exceptional scientific infrastructure and international academic networks. Our working language is English which increases our international reach and international mix within our schools and centres.

The Association is committed to the highest standards of talent management.  If you are interested in being part of the Helmholtz Association's research community please explore these webpages and the pages of our 18 research centres.  You will quickly begin to understand the scale of our work and where you might fit in.

This page is regularly updated with news relevant to Early Career Researchers

Print Version

Early Career Researchers (ECRs)


Early Career Researchers - Our Future is Yours


Doctoral Training

7,000 doctoral candidates in

13 Graduate Schools


21 Research Schools


Young Investigators Groups (YIGs)

YIGs in Energy

YIGs in Earth and Environment

YIGs in Health

YIGs in Aeronautics, Space and Transport

YIGs in Key Technologies

YIGs in Matter


Six Research Fields

Internationally high-impact research across six fields with state-of-the-art infrastructure


Earth and Environment


Aeronautics, Space and Transport

Key Technologies



18 Helmholtz Research Centres

Interdisciplinary approach in 18 renowned research centres

Research Centres (map)

Facts and Figures

The Helmholtz Association in numbers