Science and Research in Frankfurt


At the forefront of science and research in Frankfurt is the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, the largest university in Hesse and among the largest in Germany. Moreover, Frankfurt is home to numerous other scientific research centres. Three Max Planck Institutes of international standing with a focus on biophysics, brain research and European legal history respectively are based here, the Fachhochschule [University of Applied Sciences] of Frankfurt am Main, Sankt-Georgen College of Divinity, and the Senckenberg research institute as well as several other scientific institutions. Lastly, there are also private institutions in the city working on large-scale research projects.

Frankfurt’s scientific tradition dates back to long before the foundation of its university in 1914. In 1763, the physician Johann Christian Senckenberg established his foundation for medicine and natural science – today internationally renowned -, which was to become the Senckenbergische Naturforschende Gesellschaft in 1817. In 1816, Frankfurt citizens founded the Polytechnic Society, further scientific organisations followed. This is testimony to the passionate interest the inhabitants of Frankfurt had in science, culminating in the foundation of the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, which was established and endowed by the citizens.

Thus, ideal conditions prevailed for advanced scholarship and science, as is exemplified by the names of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno, the founders of the Frankfurter Schule [Frankfurt School], Arthur Schopenhauer, Otto Hahn and Bernhard Grzimek, amongst others. Today, there are also are several scientists of international standing living and working here, some of them Nobel laureates, such as Jürgen Habermas, Hartmut Michel and Wolf Singer.

The FIAS (Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies) was established at the Goethe University in order to create a research cluster in Frankfurt and the Rhine Main area, so far the only one of its kind. The institute provides a platform for research scientists of various fields to exchange and discuss their findings.