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A global hotspot for science

Heidelberg as a location for science

The university city of Heidelberg is a global hotspot for science, with a very high density of research activities in institutes and research facilities. Few locations can boast so many of the world’s leading universities and internationally renowned scientific institutes in such close proximity as in the city on the River Neckar.

The German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), the country’s largest biomedical research facility, is a world leader in cancer research. The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is supported by more than 20 European countries and conducts basic research in molecular biology.

According to international rankings, Heidelberg University is one of the top 50 universities in the world. The university hospital currently treats around one million patients annually. Four Max Planck Institutes and the College of Jewish Studies are other outstanding components of Heidelberg’s research activities.

Scientist (Photo: Dittmer)

“Heidelberg is known in particular for its knowledge-intensive companies. These benefit from their proximity to numerous universities and non-university research facilities,” explains the city’s lord mayor Prof. Dr. Eckart Würzner. “The interplay between the worlds of science, business and everyday living that has existed in the historic old town for centuries is now being rediscovered by modern-day urban development, research and industry.”

The university and research institutes account for around 17% of jobs in Heidelberg. Together with the university hospital, the university is the city’s largest employer, with over 14,000 full-time employees. In total, significantly more than half the 86,000 dependent employees in Heidelberg work in the knowledge-intensive services sector – including universities and colleges – or the health and welfare sectors. Employment growth in the past decade has been based to a significant extent on these sectors.

The university city of Heidelberg has great regional importance as a labor market center. Two thirds of those employed in the city commute in from outside. The economy is booming. The number of people in full-time employment in Heidelberg has risen to 117,500 – a new record.

Employees have an above-average level of education, and 35% of employees living in Heidelberg have an academic degree. The average for Germany is 12%. At the same time, the unemployment rate is below average compared with other cities in Baden-Württemberg.