The Alfred Wegener Institute was established in 1980. Since then, it has developed from modest beginnings into an internationally recognised centre for polar and marine research and makes significant contributions to Earth system and climate research in polar regions and coastal waters. Our work is aimed at identifying past and future changes in the global environment from a marine and polar perspective.

The Institute is a member of the Helmholtz Association of German research centres and pursues long-term research goals of the federal government on its own responsibility. Our work is guided by a multidisciplinary research programme whose specific objectives and quality are defined and reviewed. On this basis we compete, both individually and generally, at the national and international level. The outstanding success we have achieved in this competition is the foundation for our further growth.


One of our exceptional strengths is a methodology based on many different scientific disciplines and thus ways of thinking that altogether enable us to pursue new approaches in gaining an understanding of polar and coastal regions. This allows us to point out ways of achieving sustainability and acting in a farsighted and social manner.

We work together with numerous national and international institutes and organisations and share knowledge, resources and personnel on a basis of trust. This cooperation supports and enriches our work.

We bear a major responsibility in the scientific system by providing and operating extensive research infrastructure. We not only perform this function on our own, but also work together with partners in industry on a basis of trust and exploit a wide variety of synergies while acting as a reliable partner.

Advice and Innovation

One of our special concerns is providing the public with sound and comprehensible information on our research results and the way in which we obtain these results. Over and above that, we perform knowledge-based consulting services for the political, economic and social arena.

We endeavour to utilise results from research and development for the purpose of promoting environmentally friendly innovations and the advancement of sustainable technologies wherever possible. By the same token, we maintain high standards with regard to occupational safety, health and environmental protection.


In addition to excellence in research, we attach great importance to junior staff development and education. For this reason, we are actively involved in both school-based projects and vocational training and offer our doctoral candidates outstanding working conditions and structured further training concepts.

We provide for equality of opportunity and foster the compatibility of family and career. Furthermore, we make special efforts in taking care of our foreign employees as well as in supporting the integration of people with disabilities into training and work.


The work environment at the AWI is based on mutual trust between our employees. This not only applies in the areas of research, infrastructure and administration, or at the specific locations, but also over and beyond all boundaries.

In an environment characterised by flat hierarchies, employees can and should assume responsibility. We view ourselves as a community that has always demonstrated its internal cohesion, especially when unforeseeable events, e.g. on expeditions, make it necessary for many people to take rapid action.

Every job at the AWI offers the chance of lifelong learning, enables independent, responsible action and thus opens up every opportunity of attaining personal satisfaction in the working world.