Hessens state government views the promotion of education, research, and the sciences as the most important investment in the future. The largest portion of this investment goes into research carried out at the institutions of higher education. In addition to the state-financed institutions of higher education and private education centres, Hessen has a rich tradition of many highly competitive non-university research institutes. The broad range of expertise offered by the research institutes extends from natural sciences and medical research to engineering and the arts. These institutes are a major source of innovation and progress that reaches far beyond Hessens borders.
The state supports closer cooperation between non-university research institutes and neighbouring institutions of higher education. Cooperation agreements and the joint appointment of professors to the highest positions within institutes of research serve to cement such relationships. Synergy effects are created by carrying out research projects together and sharing facilities and resources.
As is the case with institutions of further education, structural reforms are also taking place in non-university institutes of research with the aim of safeguarding the quality of research and further improving the position of these institutes in the competitive struggle for research funds. With regard to larger external research institutes, Hessen has begun to introduce performance-related financing with programme budgets, cost
benefit analysis, performance plans, and regular evaluations. Such reforms act as a pilot function for research institutes in other Federal States.