Cutting-edge research from fundamental principles through to applications
The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is not just the aeronautics and space research centre of the Federal Republic of Germany. It combines its scientific work and technological developments in these areas with its expertise in energy, transport, security and digitalisation. In addition to its own research, in its capacity as a space agency, DLR is responsible for the planning and implementation of German space activities on behalf of the federal government. In addition, DLR serves as an umbrella organisation for one of Germany’s largest project management agencies.
DLR employs approximately 8000 people at 20 locations: Cologne (Headquarters and location of the Executive Board), Augsburg, Berlin, Bonn, Braunschweig, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Dresden, Göttingen, Hamburg, Jena, Jülich, Lampoldshausen, Neustrelitz, Oberpfaffenhofen, Oldenburg, Stade, Stuttgart, Trauen and Weilheim. DLR also has offices in Brussels, Paris, Tokyo and Washington D.C.
An active member of the Helmholtz Association
As the largest institution in the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, DLR is responsible for the fields of aeronautics, space and transport research, and also makes important contributions to energy research. Germany’s major non-university research institutions come together under the Helmholtz name. These differ from other non-university research institutions such as the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Society and the Leibniz Association, in that they are dedicated to finding solutions to major and pressing societal issues relating to Earth and the environment, health, energy, the structure of matter and key technologies. Of course, the work also includes aeronautics, space and transport. Research and development work is conducted on topics that range all the way from fundamental principles to their application in the form of services and products.
Organised as a registered association
DLR operates in the legal form of a registered association. As such, DLR is a legally independent entity with its own charter and statutory bodies (boards).
DLR receives 90 percent of its institutional funding from the federal government via programme-oriented funding from the Helmholtz Association (via the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy), and 10 percent from the federal states in which its 20 sites are located. In addition, it receives third-party funds from industry and additional support programmes, granted through competitive tenders.
DLR’s highest body is its General Assembly. This has delegated essential tasks to the DLR Senate, which meets twice a year as a supervisory body. The DLR Senate consists of up to 33 members, representing the scientific, business, industrial and state sectors equally. The Chair of the Senate is a State Secretary in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, which is responsible to the Federal Government for DLR. In addition to its supervisory role, the Senate advises and supports DLR on important issues such as its strategic direction and setting the course for the further development of DLR.
DLR Executive Board
DLR is managed by its Executive Board. Pascale Ehrenfreund has been Chair of the Executive Board since 2015, with Klaus Hamacher as the Deputy Chair. The Executive Board also includes representatives from DLR’s research areas: Aeronautics (Rolf Henke), Space Research and Technology (Hansjörg Dittus) and Energy and Transport (Karsten Lemmer). There is also a representative from the DLR Space Administration (Walther Pelzer), through which DLR functions as a space agency acting on behalf of the German Federal Government.