With offices in Berlin and Bonn, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research is situated at the centres of both government and science. The main Office is in Bonn, the centre of science. In Berlin, the Office is located in the government quarter.
The Ministry, known until 1994 as the Federal Ministry of Education and Science, was established by Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer as the Federal Ministry for Atomic Affairs on 20 October 1955. Thus, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has a history stretching back over half a century.
The name Federal Ministry for Atomic Affairs was clear evidence of the political goal of the 1950s for the peaceful use of nuclear power. At that time, the funding of major research organizations was still the responsibility of the Federal Ministry of the Interior. Other tasks became part of the Ministry's focus for the first time in 1962 with its re-naming as the Federal Ministry for Scientific Research. These activities involved general science funding as well as funding for space research. The Ministry funded the expansion of national research centres, part-financed university construction programmes and established a first funding programme for data processing.
Following an amendment to the Basic Law giving the Federal Government certain responsibilities in education planning and research funding, the Ministry was re-named the Federal Ministry of Education and Science (BMBW) in 1969, the name it kept until its merger with the Federal Ministry for Research and Technology (BMFT) in 1994. The BMFT had been founded in 1972 to support basic and applied research and technological development. Right from the beginning, the main focuses were in the areas of space, transport, environment, energy, data processing, biotechnology and health research. The merger of the BMBW and the BMFT in 1994 resulted in the BMBF of today.
The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has offices in Bonn and in Berlin. The basis for this division between the "old" seat of government and the capital is the Berlin/Bonn Act which is intended to offset the consequences for the Bonn region resulting from the move to Berlin by parliament and government. One of the key aims is to strengthen Bonn as a centre for scientific and research activities.