Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft
Stifterverband is the business community's innovation agency for the German science system.
Stifterverband is private, dedicated and not-for-profit association. Through donations, membership fees and other forms of income, Stifterverband generates annual funds of well over 120 million EUR, making it the largest private institution of its kind in Germany.
Stifterverband is a unique, highly respected institution focused on the future. Since 1920, industry has stressed the need for excellent universities and internationally competitive research institutes. However, it was only in Germany that companies joined forces with active members of the public to form a major science and learning initiative.
Stifterverband's work centres on creating a productive and open knowledge society. Its goal is to work together effectively with universities, institutes and companies, allowing homegrown talent to be developed to its full potential and new ideas to be brought to fruition. Stifterverband is a major driving force behind the cooperation between industry and science and behind the dialogue between academia and the general public. Tens of millions of euros are invested by Stifterverband in programmes, prizes and initiatives designed to boost autonomy and competition in Germany's academic system.
The goal is higher education opportunities for all
Stifterverband is actively involved in efforts to make higher education more universally accessible, to increase the number of graduates in science and engineering, to align studies and professional life more effectively, to improve curriculum development and provide better support to students from non-traditional backgrounds.
Stifterverband also works to ensure high standards in university teaching, a core function that is frequently neglected. Thanks to a combination of excellence initiatives, lecturing awards and guest lecturer programmes, the association has had considerable success - as evidenced by falling drop-out rates and growing student satisfaction.
The original idea was for companies and foundations to help universities to raise their profile and to finance additional academic chairs. In many cases, private funding is initially required to bridge gaps in a university's curriculum and to steer research in a new, forward-looking direction. Stifterverband popularised this model in Germany, providing advice and specialist services and sponsoring over 250 foundation chairs since the mid-1980s.
Higher level performance
Stifterverband helps today's autonomous universities to use their independence to its full potential. Recent programmes have been launched with a view to promoting professional quality and HR management, providing valuable training for science managers and raising the profile of the universities themselves.