UQ and Germany

Leading-edge research collaboration

Home to hundreds of German students and academic staff, an extensive cultural program, and a thriving social club, German culture is alive and well on UQ campuses. Through a strategic alliance with the Technical University of Munich, and collaboration with the Helmholtz Association and the Max Planck Society, among others, groundbreaking discoveries have never looked more promising for both nations.

Fast facts


German students enrolled at UQ


Germany-UQ co-publications


academic staff born in Germany


research project collaborations


alumni in Germany


agreements with 15 official partners

Fast facts show full-year 2020 data.



UQ has partnered with Germany-based researchers on 2513 co-publications in the past 5 years. The top research areas include Neurosciences Genetics, Heredity Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology. Our top co-publishing partners are the Helmholtz Association, Max Planck Society, and University of Munich.

Research collaboration

In the past 5 years, UQ has collaborated with 48 institutions on 66 research projects. Key collaborators include the Helmholtz Research Centres, Max Planck Institutes, and Ludwig Maximilians University. 

Research funding

German organisations, including Boehringer Ingelheim International GmbH, International Paralympic Committee, and Aurubis AG, have contributed A$3,453,679 towards 43 research projects in the past 5 years. 

Collaboration in action

Plum pickings: ancient fruit ripe for modern plates

An Indigenous fruit which is one of the earliest known plant foods eaten in Australia could be the next big thing in the bush foods industry. The UQ research team is led by researcher Associate Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa (pictured), who said the green plum not only tasted delicious, but contained one of the highest known folate levels of any fruit on the commercial market. The team, including Dr Heather Smyth, Dr Michael Netzel and Dr Horst Schirra, is working with Professor Philippe Schmitt-Kopplin from Technical University of Munich in Germany, and the Helmholtz Zentrum München, as well as Professor Michael Rychlik from Technical University of Munich to uncover the green plum’s chemistry, and its acids and sugars, to provide a more detailed nutritional profile of the fruit.

Bound by infection: identifying how COVID-19 interacts with cells

Two international studies have shed light on why the virus that causes COVID-19 is so infectious compared to other SARS viruses. UQ researchers collaborated with colleagues in the United Kingdom and Europe on the studies, which also showed a way to potentially prevent the virus from infecting cells. In a new study published in Science, Dr Giuseppe Balistreri of the University of Helsinki in Finland and Professor Mikael Simons of the Technical University of Munich in Germany collaborated with UQ researchers to show that the virus can also enter cells using another receptor, called neuropilin.

Australian - German Science and Innovation Day

UQ PhD candidates, postdoctoral students and academic staff participate in the annual Australian-German Science and Innovation Day. UQ hosted the event in October 2019, in collaboration with Griffith University, Queensland University of Technology, Digital Technologies Institute, the German Embassy, University of Southern Queensland, and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). Hosted at Customs House, academics from various Australian universities presented their latest findings and elaborated on their collaborative experiences with various German partners. UQ previously hosted the inaugural event in 2016. UQ was also represented at the adjoining Australian-German Business Day where Professor Nicole Gillespie delivered a keynote. 

Fuelling the new energy revolution

UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) is harnessing the power of the sun to produce a wide range of hydrogen-methane and oil-based alternative energy fuels. Located in Pinjarra Hills, Brisbane, UQ's Centre for Solar Biotechnology has been developed in partnership with the Queensland Government, Siemens (Germany), Bielefeld University (Germany), the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), KBR Inc (USA), Neste Oil Corp (Finland), and Cement Australia. Led by Munich-born Professor Ben Hankamer (pictured, right), the Centre brings together 30 multidisciplinary teams to fast-track the next generation of microalgae biotechnologies and bio-inspired artificial solar fuel technologies.

Equipping students for digital revolution

A $500 million plus software grant from Siemens will give UQ students and researchers access to advanced technology, building their skills in digital and data driven industries. The grant is linked to the recommendations and work of the Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum – an industry led group established to support improved collaboration between Australia and Germany on preparing for industry for the fourth industrial revolution. The partnership will equip students with the tools that are being used to design and develop everything from Space X to the Mars Curiosity Rover, Maserati Ghibli and other world-leading innovations.

Shaking up the bioeconomy

UQ is rapidly expanding collaboration with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and São Paulo State University (Unesp) Brazil in biotechnology and its impact on future economies. The three universities are founding members of the Global Bioeconomy Alliance – a new initiative to develop the production and use of biological resources to provide products, processes and services within the frame of a sustainable economic system. The network aims to establish a more competitive, innovative, energy-secure and sustainable world by combining agricultural, technical and social aspects of bio-based industry and society. Through collaborating with a growing network of researchers worldwide, the Alliance will develop holistic strategies to boost the global bioeconomy.

Humans changed the planet earlier than we knew

UQ researchers used an online survey to gather land-use estimates throughout the past 10,000 years from archaeologists with regional expertise. The data was crowdsourced from experts around the world to gain a unique perspective on how farmers, pastoralists and hunter-gatherers have significantly changed the planet over the last 4000 years. The researchers found humans had caused significant landcover change on Earth up to 4000 years earlier than previously thought. The School of Social Sciences' Dr Andrea Kay said some scientists defined the Anthropocene as starting in the 20th century, but the new research showed human-induced landcover change was globally extensive by 2000BC. Two of the team's lead authors have joint appointments at UQ and The Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.

UQ and the Technical University of Munich

Since formalising a partnership in 2011, UQ has rapidly expanded collaboration with the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Agreements include staff mobility initiatives, joint symposia in both Germany and Queensland, visiting professorships, internships, and research exchange agreements. UQ's Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology, for example, has a linked degree program with TUM where students can graduate with the integrated Bachelor of Engineering/Master of Engineering from UQ and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from TUM. The TUM and UQ graduate schools have also signed a research exchange agreement to improve student access to a variety of career development programs.

German students at UQ

Germany is among the top 22 countries of origin for UQ students and German students make up the 2nd largest cohort of Europeans studying at UQ. Since 2016, 232 German students have been enrolled in UQ degrees. Study AbroadPhD studies and the Master of Business popular program choices. 

The UQ German Club offers opportunities for students to socialise, learn about and promote German cultures, and build community. All students, German and non-German, are invited to join in.

Image: UQ German Club stall at UQ Open Day

Person at market stall with German flags

German culture at UQ


German is one of the most widely spoken languages on earth, and a major community language in Australia. At UQ, students can study German through the School of Languages and Cultures, which offers more than 15 German language courses. Students study the country’s history, politics, cultures and society while developing spoken and written languages skills from a wide range of authentic, contemporary sources. 

The Institute of Modern Languages (IML) at UQ also offers German courses for the wider community.

Video: What to expect while studying German at UQ, and where graduates can go.

Student mobility

Student exchange

Germany is the 4th most popular country for student exchange at UQ. We have agreements with 11 universities in Germany, including the Technical University of Munich (TUM), Humboldt University of Berlin, Technical University of Berlin, and University of Mannheim. 

Munich partnership advances biomedical science

The Faculty of Medicine has a student exchange partnership with LMU, enabling LMU students to complete 4 months clinical and research training at UQ. Since 2012, UQ has welcomed 15 LMU students. LMU has a strong history of association with UQ, being one of 4 international participants in the 7th International Postgraduate Symposium in Biomedical Sciences, held at UQ in late 2016. The symposium showcased advanced biomedical science developments from UQ, LMU, the University of Oxford (UK), and Pierre and Marie Curie University (France).

Master of Engineering with TUM

The Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology has a double-degree agreement with the Technical University of Munich (TUM) through membership in Top Industrial Managers for Europe. Students graduate with a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Information Technology from TUM and a Master of Engineering from UQ.

Global research degrees

UQ's research exchange programs can kickstart international collaborations for research higher degree students. Doctoral candidates from the Technical University of Munich (TUM), for example, can study part of their program at UQ – and vice versa.


UQ has 2042 alumni living in Germany. Alumni from or with significant links to Germany include:

Professor of Bioinorganic Chemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München Butenandtstr (LMU) (PhD 2013)
Communications Manager of IT services at Dataport AöR, Hamburg (Bachelor of Social Science (Hons) 2003)