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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 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.

* Effective on 01 August 2023. 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 are 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!

Initial funding


Funders and supporters


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Former Partners, Funders and Supporters


Access Now · Advocate Europe · Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg · Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) · Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie · Berliner Stadtwerke · Bertelsmann Stiftung · betterplace lab · BI Norwegian Business School · Bundesministerium für Arbeit und Soziales · Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend · Bundesministerium für Finanzen · Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz · Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft (BVMW) · Cisco · DARIAH · DARIAH-DE · · Der Standard · Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) · Deutsche Bank · Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz · Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Berlin (DIW) · DFKI · Disruption Network Lab · Die digitale Gesellschaft · DRadio Wissen · dwerft · Erasmus + ·  E-Plus · Europäische Union (OpenAIRE) · Exeter University · Facebook · Factory Berlin · Fiducia IT · Filmuniversität Babelsberg: Konrad Wolf · Fraunhofer Fokus · Friedrich Ebert Stiftung · fritz · Gemeinsam Digital · GIZ · Hasso-Plattner-Institut · Haus der Kulturen der Welt · Hochschule Anhalt · Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht (HWR) · IHK Berlin   iLINC · innogy Stiftung · Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) · Institut für Innovations- und Informationsmanagement GmbH · Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) ·  KPMG · Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg · Berlin-Brandenburg · MIT Lab · NEGZ · neuland und gestalten · Next Media Accelerator · Next Media Hamburg · New York University (NYU) · NXP · Ostmost · Partake AG · Queen Mary University London · RIPE NCC · Robert Bosch Stiftung · Schering Stiftung · Siemens · Silicon Valley Community Foundation · berlinbrandenburg · Stifterverband · Technische Hochschule Brandenburg · Tech Open Air (TOA) · The Research Council of Norway · Universität Potsdam · University London · UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) · Vodafone Institut für Gesellschaft und Kommunikation · VolkswagenStiftung · Wissenschaft im Dialog · Wissenschaftsjahr 2019 · WWU Münster · Zeit Verlag


Jennifer Wollniok

Fundraising & Cooperations

Our research approach

HIIG researches the development of the internet from a societal perspective in order to better understand the digitalisation of all areas of life.

Internet & Society Foundation

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Research issues in focus

HIIG is currently working on exciting topics. Learn more about our interdisciplinary pioneering work in public discourse.