The Foundation

As a partner for visionary and excellent research, our mission is to create an open environment for scientific breakthroughs.

Founded in 1889 by scientist and entrepreneur Prof. Ernst Abbe, we are now one of the largest and oldest science-funding foundations in Germany. 

Our funding activities are financed from the dividends of our foundation companies Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG. The companies have been under the inalienable sole ownership of the Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung for more than a hundred years. 

The special feature of our foundation lies in the combination of various foundation purposes, which must be fulfilled by the Foundation itself as well as by the foundation companies.

Foundation goals

  • the funding of research and teaching – especially in the natural sciences and engineering – by the Foundation itself
  • the economic safeguarding and continuation of the two foundation companies, taking into account the special social responsibility imposed on them
  • the promotion of general economic and charitable interests and provisions by the foundation companies


Since its first version in 1896, our statute has formed the legal framework for the objectives and purposes of the Foundation. In it, Ernst Abbe combined a visionary, modern, employee-friendly corporate philosophy with the charitable funding of science. 

To the Statute

The name “Carl-Zeiss-Stiftung” was chosen by the founder of the foundation, Ernst Abbe, to honour the services of his business partner and friend Carl Zeiss, who - according to Abbe - has earned lasting credit for the connection between science and technology.

Funding activities of the Foundation

We provide funding for research and teaching in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. We concentrate on key topics that address current scientific, economic and social challenges. Our funding activities focus on universities and scientific institutions in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. 

Foundation company

Carl Zeiss AG, headquartered in Oberkochen, and SCHOTT AG, headquartered in Mainz, are among the most well-known technology groups in Germany. Under the maxim that only those who are innovative can succeed economically, it is the vision of both companies to be at the forefront of international product development and advancement.