About us

The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities is the umbrella organisation of eight German academies of sciences and humanities. The member academies comprise a total of over 1,900 scholars of diverse subjects, all of whom are outstanding representatives of their research fields, both nationally and internationally. Together they are committed to promoting scientific exchange, excellence in research, and supporting young early-stage researchers in the sciences and humanities.


Our member academies

The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities is the umbrella organisation of eight German academies of sciences and humanities in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Göttingen, Hamburg, Heidelberg, Leipzig, Mainz und München.

Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Saxonian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig
Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz
North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts
Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg
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Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities


In 1992 reconstituted, the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities goes back to the Scientific Society of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, which had been founded in 1700. The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy is following the tradition of the Scientific Academy Berlin which as Prussian Academy of Sciences covering the Natural Sciences and the Humanities had reached fame worldwide. The history of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy has been shaped by 78 noble prize laureates and today, it is with about 200 elected members a scientific affiliation going far beyond the borders of the disciplines and the Federal states.

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Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities


„Fecundat et ornat – it is fertilizing and decorating“. In accordance with this leading idea the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen has been founded by the Sovereign King George II., August of Great Britain, Elector of Hannover, in 1751. As one of the oldest institution of its kind in Germany, which has been in place continuously, the Göttingen Academy is able to look back at a long tradition with famous members, like the brothers Grimm, David Hilbert and Werner Heisenberg.

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Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities


The Bavarian Academy of Sciences, founded in 1759 by the Elector Max III. Joseph, is one of the oldest and – according to the number of the members of staff, the research programme and the budget – the largest of the eight German Länder-Academies. Since more than 200 years it is committed to its tasks as traditional learned society, non-university research institution and as a hoard of a vivid scientific discourse. The Academy has about 175 ordinary members (being situated in Bavaria) and 150 corresponding members, who all have substantially contributed to the increase of the current stock of knowledge.

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Saxonian Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Leipzig


Since its foundation in 1846 as Royal Saxonian Society of Sciences the Saxonian Academy is following the tradition of the academy concept shaped by Leibniz assembling as learned society leading scientists of different disciplines to a regularly discourse and providing a platform for them, where long-term research in the region of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia can be conducted.

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Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities


The Heidelberg Academy of Sciences has been constituted in 1990 and since that time has always been committed to its founding idea of assembling the land’s eminent scientists for the purpose of interdisciplinary discussion and independent research. Until today it is a scholarly society and a modern non-university research institution in one. It organises scientific conferences and public lectures und promotes young scientists, e.g. through programmes such as the WIN-Kolleg and by awarding of research-prices.

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Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz


The Academy of Sciences and Literature, Mainz is an affiliation of personalities from science, literature and music, which is operating beyond regional borders. It is serving the cultivation of sciences, literature and music and is thereby contributing to the preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage. The Academy is a location of dialogue, having its focus on the exchange of knowledge beyond disciplines.It has been founded on Juli 9th, 1949 on an initiative of Alfred Döblin and of former members of the Prussian Academy of Sciences with support of the French military administration and of the Federal Government of Rhineland-Palatinate.

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Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Hamburg


In 2004 the Academy has been founded on the initiative of the city of Hamburg in order to stimulate interdisciplinary research in Northern Germany, to network universities and research institutions and to foster the dialogue between science and the public. The Hamburg Academy is the youngest of the federal state academies, which are affiliated in the Union.

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North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts


The North-Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and Arts has been founded in 1970 as successor of the Association for Research of North-Rhine-Westphalia, which has been initiated by the former Prime Minister Karl Arnold in 1950. Aim and purpose of this consolidation of the natural and technical sciences was to scientifically advice the Government of North-Rhine-Westphalia during the post-war-reconstruction. With building the Karl-Arnold-House in Düsseldorf in 1960 the Association gained an own building in which it could fulfil its tasks.

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The Union coordinates the Academies’ Programme, currently the most comprehensive humanities and cultural sciences research programme in Germany. In addition, the Union promotes the exchange of information and experience between academies, and conducts press and public engagement activities. It also organises events on current issues in science and research as well as the so-called Akademientag (“Academy Open Day”). Furthermore, the Union represents the German academies of sciences and humanities abroad and sends delegates to national and international science organisations.

The tradition of collaboration between German speaking academies is over 120 years old. In 1893, academies of sciences and humanities in the German language area formed the so-called “Cartel” in Leipzig in order to engage in collaborative research projects. In 1940 the National Socialists turned the Cartel into the Reichsverband der deutschen Akademien (“National Association of German Academies”). After the Second World War, the Göttingen Academy initiated the first presidents’ meeting. Several years later, the Association of West German Academes was founded, which changed its name to the Conference of German Academies in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1967. In 1973 the Conference was issued with a statute that has been subject to several revisions since. Almost two decades later, the Conference reorganised itself to form a registered association renamed the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities in 1998.

The Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities has been a member of the Council for German Orthography since 2002 where it is represented by Prof. Dr Klaus-Peter Wegera, a scholar from the Ruhr University of Bochum and a member of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences and Arts.

In cooperation with the German Academy for Language and Literature, the Union of German Academies makes a key contribution to public debates surrounding the development of the German language with the regular publication of the Bericht zur Lage der deutschen Sprache (“Report on the State of the German Language”). The first Report was published in 2013 with the aim of providing scholarly expertise on topics of particular interest in the public sphere.

Since 2007, the Union of the German Academies has been among the sponsors of the Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, which offers funding and networking opportunities for outstanding young researchers in Germany. The Union is represented on the Foundation’s board of directors by its president, and on the executive board by its general secretary.

The president of the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities further represents the Union in numerous national and international institutions, e.g. on the board of trustees of the German Research Council, in the senate of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, on the board of trustees of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (an association of German research foundations), and on the executive committee of the InterAcademy Panel (IAP).

In collaboration with the Max Weber Foundation, the Union of German Academies hosts a series of events called Geisteswissenschaft im Dialog (“Humanities in Dialogue”) which discuss current issues related to science, culture, and society.

Under the lead of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina and in cooperation with acatech, the German Academy of Science and Technology, the Union’s member academies also act as scientific advisory bodies on matters of politics and society.

The Union of German Academies has also organised a series of working groups on central issues of science and research, as well as on digitalisation and electronic publishing.


© Union der deutschen Akademien der Wissenschaften 2014