About us


Scientific contributions for more than 60 years

The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft (LBG) is a non-university research organisation with thematic foci in medicine and the life sciences as well as the humanities, social and cultural sciences. Together with academic and other partners, we operate the Ludwig Boltzmann Institutes (LBI) and the Ludwig Boltzmann Research Groups (FG) at various locations in Austria. These institutions are created after strict selection processes, initiate new research topics, can react flexibly to current social and scientific developments and conduct interdisciplinary pioneering research. At the same time, they offer scientists the freedom to think outside the box.

The Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft is an association (Verein) and operates a limited liability company (GmbH) as a wholly-owned subsidiary. The institutes and research groups are legally located either in the GmbH (all institutes and research groups since the reform in 2002) or in the Verein (institutes founded before the reform). The LBG office in Nußdorfer Straße is equally responsible for the Verein and the GmbH.

In 2020, the LBG was included in the new Research Funding Act (FoFinaG) as a “central research institution”. The FoFinaG names ten central research and research funding institutions that are guaranteed long-term, growth-oriented research funding by law. This gave LBG more long-term funding and planning security.

a. LBG Weinherbst 2021. Fotocredit: Moritz Nachtschatt

Ludwig Eduard Boltzmann (1844-1906), physicist and philosopher, taught at the universities of Vienna, Graz, Munich and Leipzig. His most significant achievements were in the fields of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics.

The namesake

It is not entirely clear how the Ludwig Boltzmann Gesellschaft came to its name. The most likely explanation is that Karl Michael Koch, director of the first LBI and one of the initiators of the LBG, chose the physicist as the patron saint. Koch knew Engelbert Broda (1910-1983), Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Vienna, and his biography “Mensch – Physiker – Philosoph” (Man – Physicist – Philosopher) about Boltzmann, first published in 1955, very well, which probably inspired him in his search for a name. As the title suggests, Broda’s work illuminates the “ingenious thinker” from different sides and pays tribute to his philosophical as well as his physical work. Perhaps Koch also liked Broda’s conclusion that in Ludwig Boltzmann’s case one can see that science is a highly human thing.

Source: geschichte.univie.ac.at/de/bilder/ludwig-boltzmann-1844-1906-physik-und-philosophie

Permanent development

To ensure consistently high-quality research, all research units are evaluated every three to four years by independent commissions to ensure continued high-quality research. 

These independent commissions consist of internationally renowned experts from the respective scientific field as well as specialists in scientific evaluation and research management. This ensures that the highest standards are maintained and that first-class research results are produced.

The results of these regular evaluations provide the basis for decision-making on the re-sharpening or correction of measures taken, but also on the establishment of new institutions or the continuation or dissolution of existing ones.

The LBG as a whole is also subject to evaluations. As a result of such an evaluation, the strategic goals of the LBG until 2025 were defined as follows:

  • Developing novel solutions to complex societal problems.
  • Unlocking the full potential of open innovation in science.
  • Modern approaches to leadership, management and individual career paths
Key Facts

Scientific publications 2020

  • Contributions to scientific journals 506
  • Monographs 15
  • Collected works (editorships, contributions) 140
  • Policy Papers 13
  • Other publications 35
  • Popular science 49

Ongoing quality control 2020

  • Number of SAB committees 16
  • Number of SAB members 73
  • Facilities evaluated 5

Key figures 2020

  • Employees 735
  • Program lines 74
  • Ongoing third-party funded projects 153
  • Habilitations and dissertations 22


Jahresbericht 2020

Der LBG Jahresbericht 2020 enthält neben Infos zu Facts & Figures auch Einblicke in die Forschungsarbeit an unseren Instituten, Centern und Forschungsgruppen.


Wissensbilanz 2020