Hermann von Helmholtz

Helmholtz Association named global “rising star” in natural science research

The Helmholtz Association, which consists of 18 centers, including the MDC, is setting high international standards through its research. This is reflected in the latest Nature Index rankings, in which Helmholtz took the No. 2 spot among the world’s fastest-rising research institutions.

It is thus one of the science world’s top rising stars. “I am thrilled that our researchers have received this recognition for their innovative and solution-driven work,” says Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association. The Nature Index measures the publication outputs of more than 10,000 leading international research institutions. Only articles published in prestigious scientific journals are taken into account. These 82 journals are selected by an independent panel of experts

I am thrilled that our researchers have received this recognition for their innovative and solution-driven work.
Professor Otmar D. Wiestler President of the Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association once again significantly improved its output in these journals, with a 14.3 percent increase on the previous year, according to the Nature Index Annual Tables 2021. “Thanks to the tight links between our research centers and to our joint work with other leading institutions worldwide, we regularly succeed in coming up with highly-creative, cutting-edge lines of research. And because our scientists also tackle the central issues of our time and develop solutions for highly complex challenges, their findings get a tremendous reception,” says Wiestler.

Even beyond the rising stars listings, the Helmholtz Association is one of the leading research organizations in the Nature Index: Helmholtz came in sixth in the overall global rankings of institutions, and it made a particularly strong showing in the area of Earth & Environmental Sciences, taking second place worldwide. Helmholtz also performed very well in Physical Sciences, ranking fourth in the world. In addition, its publication output grew significantly in the area of Life Sciences, climbing 33 percent based on Nature Index data.

Text: Helmholtz

Further information

Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC)


The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC) is one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutions. Max Delbrück, a Berlin native, was a Nobel laureate and one of the founders of molecular biology. At the MDC’s locations in Berlin-Buch and Mitte, researchers from some 60 countries analyze the human system – investigating the biological foundations of life from its most elementary building blocks to systems-wide mechanisms. By understanding what regulates or disrupts the dynamic equilibrium in a cell, an organ, or the entire body, we can prevent diseases, diagnose them earlier, and stop their progression with tailored therapies. Patients should benefit as soon as possible from basic research discoveries. The MDC therefore supports spin-off creation and participates in collaborative networks. It works in close partnership with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in the jointly run Experimental and Clinical Research Center (ECRC ), the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH) at Charité, and the German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK). Founded in 1992, the MDC today employs 1,600 people and is funded 90 percent by the German federal government and 10 percent by the State of Berlin.

Helmholtz Association


The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science, and the economy through top-level scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy; Earth and Environment; Health; Key Technologies; Matter; and Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With more than 43,000 employees at 18 research centers and an annual budget of around €5 billion, the Helmholtz Association is the largest scientific organization in Germany. The Association’s work follows in the tradition of its namesake, the natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894)