The Academy’s activities focus on conducting research in the humanities, exploring future scientific and social issues on an interdisciplinary level, as well as promoting dialogue between science and society.
The Academy supervises the long-term cultural-scientific research projects which are funded by the Federal government and the States, such as the dictionary projects, editions, documentations and bibliographies. These traditional Academy Projects, of which 23 exist today, make the Academy the largest non-university research institution with a profile in the humanities in the region.
In interdisciplinary work and research groups, study and initiative groups – unique forms of collaboration for a German academy –, topics of particular scientific and social interest are explored by Academy members, external experts and young scientists, and presented to the general public in, for instance, research reports and memoranda.
To date, the Academy has established a number of research centres, including those for Basic Research on the Old World, Prussia-Berlin, and Language. Each of these centres pools the expertise found in different research projects. With their cross-project themes, they enhance the research profile of the Academy, stimulate innovations, and improve possibilities for intensifying cooperation between universities and non-university institutions in regional, national, and international contexts. Consequently, the Academy is aiming at increasing its impact on research and on the public at large.
23 long-term projects make the Academy the largest non-university research institution with a profile in the humanities in the region. These projects include large German and foreign-language dictionaries; historical-critical editions of ancient, medieval, and modern texts and sources; “classic” works from diverse scientific fields; as well as a number of documentations.
The Academy research projects are part of the Academies' Programme , a research funding programme co-financed by the German federal government and individual federal states. Coordinated by the Union of the German Academies of Sciences and Humanities , the Programme intends to retrieve and explore our cultural heritage, to make it accessible and highlight its relevance to the present, as well as to preserve it for the future.
In a rather innovative form for the academic world in Germany, Academy members work on interdisciplinary projects with external and talented young experts on issues relevant to the future of society. Their findings are presented to the public in research reports and memoranda. Central fields include the monitoring of short and long-term scientific developments in Germany such as Scientific Policy Advice in Democracies, The German Excellence Initiative and its Effects on the German University System, On the Future of Education in Technological and Natural Sciences in Europe, Gene Technology Report and the Assessment of Health Standards, Global Change – Regional Development or Fertility and Societal Development.