Research and innovation

An epicentre for science, technology and academic inquiry

Cologne is one of the most vital and innovative locations in Germany and Europe for science and academia. The city and its environs boasts no less than 22 universities, many of which are internationally recognised for their cutting-edge research in a broad range of disciplines from artificial intelligence and pharmaceuticals to the economic analysis of market mechanisms.

22.00 Universities
100000.00 Students
14000.00 Graduates/year

14,000 skilled graduates every year

More than 100,000 students live and study in Cologne. With approximately 53,000 students, the University of Cologne is one of the biggest in Germany. Cologne’s Technical University is the largest public university of applied sciences in Germany with 22,000 students. The city is also home to the two largest European universities in the areas of sport and music – the German Sports University (DSHS) and the University of Music and Dance (HfMT). Each year, more than 14,000 highly qualified graduates launch themselves onto the job market and many of them begin their careers in the city and the surrounding region, which is a big selling point for companies setting up business here.

Stellar academic network

Cologne also has an extensive network of non-university research centres including four Max Planck institutes with a range of disciplines from the biology of ageing and metabolism, to plant breeding and the science of societies. The city’s scientific ambitions are not constrained by gravity either! The European Astronaut Centre, located at the European Space Agency (ESA), prepares astronauts for their missions in space. Cologne is also home to the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), one of Germany's biggest research centres. International corporations such as LANXESS, INEOS and Ford as well as hidden champions like Courage + Khazaka Electronic, Igus and Schwank also enrich Cologne as a centre of science with their important work.

Cologne: a crucible for innovation

Companies and startups are drawn to Cologne to be close to its network of universities and research centres, which are a driving force for progress and new enterprise. Cologne University hosts a unique startup network where anyone interested in starting a business in the region can access advice and support from a wide range of local academic institutions. Initiatives such as the Gateway Excellence Startup Center, StartUpLab@TH Köln and the cross-university project “Fit for Invest” also raise Cologne’s profile as a welcoming location for science-based business ideas and startups.

Download: sector overviews

Overviews of selected players within the ecosystem