The Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society (HIIG) is a research institute funded by private, non-earmarked contributions and third-party funds. HIIG was founded in 2012 by the Humboldt University of Berlin (HU), the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) and the WZB Berlin Social Science Center, together with the Hans Bredow Institute for Media Research (HBI) in Hamburg as a partner through an initial donation from Google in the amount of €4.5 million (until 2013). This funding was renewed again in 2014 (see below).

How we ensure the independence of our research:

Since our foundation, we have therefore committed our institute to transparency. We are interested in an open dialogue and critical discussion. The independence of our research is our main concern and a basic requirement for our work, which is secured by various structural measures and is constantly optimised:

  • The guiding principles of our research are academic excellence, societal relevance, independence and openness. Research at HIIG is guided by the “HIIG Guidelines to Ensure Good Scientific Practice”, which are based on the recommendations of the German Research Association (DFG). In addition, we have committed ourselves to Fundraising Governance Guidelines, which underlie our funding agreements.
  • The Institute’s research agenda and content-related orientation is developed by HIIG’s research directors, who are also conducting research in further prestigious academic institutions. Our research activities are  critically monitored and evaluated by an international Scientific Advisory Board.
  • The founding institutions are exclusively universities and research institutions. The funding structure and our research work are separated by a division into the non-profit research organisation HIIG gGmbH and non-profit financing organisations GFI gGmbH and Foundation for Internet and Society, see Organisation. This systematic division is also embedded in our articles of association.
  • The HIIG is mainly financed by private, non-earmarked contributions and third-party funds (e.g. ministries, DFG, foundations). Private donations are used to institutionally fund research in the field of Internet and Society. In addition, research partnerships with donors are possible, e.g. by supporting existing funding programmes or projects.

The graph above shows the ratio and development of our funding.

*The numbers of 2018 reflect the current status quo. Final numbers will be published in the Bundesanzeiger after our annual financial statement. Past research reports, financial statements as well as our research agenda and transparency reports can be found here.

In addition to the institutional funding by Google, there is a number of grants and third-party funded projects. Important contributors are shown above.

A detailed breakdown of all annual funding is published in the appendix to our HIIG research magazine encore.

current funders, supporters and partners

Thanks to the initial support from Google and further financial grants from the private and public sector, the Institute for Internet and Society was able to start its work in 2011 and was founded in 2012. Since then, the Institute has implemented numerous research projects through cooperation with other public and private sponsors, supported many researchers, formed a broad research network, and established pioneering formats for a better exchange of knowledge with politics, business, and civil society. We are grateful for the support of and successful cooperation with our funders & partners!



funders and supporters



Berliner Stadtwerke Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung  bmbfbmwiciscoCommerzbankdeutschebankDFKI dlrgemeinsam_digitalHans Böckler StiftungHWKicannmabbNEGZNXPqueenmaryuniSchering StiftungSilicon Valley Community FoundationUniversity of ExeterunifreiburgUniversitat Oberta de CatalunyavodafoneinstitutevolkswagenWWU Münster




Former funders, supporters and partners

Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) · Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Tehnologie · dwerft · Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst · DARIAH-DE · Der Standard · Deutsche Bank · Digitale Gesellschaft · Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Berlin · DRadio Wissen · E-Plus · Europäische Union · Facebook · Factory Berlin · Fiducia IT · Friedrich Ebert Stiftung · Filmuniversität Babelsberg: Konrad Wolf · Hochschule Anhalt · Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) · Investitionsbank Berlin · Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers · IHK Berlin · iLinc · KPMG · Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg · Berlin-Brandenburg · MIT Lab · Next Media Accelerator · Next Media Hamburg · New York University (NYU) · Queen Mary University London · Siemens · berlinbrandenburg · Tech Open Air (TOA) · Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg · Vodafone Institute · Zeit Verlag

HIIG's Structure

Want to know more about how our institute works?

About the institute


Global Network of Internet Research Centers


Jennifer Wollniok

Office Manager & Cooperations

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About HIIG

The HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective with the aim to better understand the digitalisation of all spheres of life.