Robert Koch Institute

Vice President: Lars Schaade

The Robert Koch Institute ( Abbreviation: RKI) ( in its own notation: Robert Koch Institute or Logo Robert Koch Institute ) is a Federal Institute for infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases in Berlin and a central monitoring and research institute of the Federal Republic of Germany. It is named after the physician and microbiologist Robert Koch and the German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG ) under the direct authority.


The mission of the Robert Koch Institute includes the observation of the occurrence of diseases and related health risks in the population as well as the derivation and scientific Justify the measures necessary for the effective protection of public health. This includes the development of necessary diagnostic, experimental or epidemiological methods that are not otherwise available, and the assessment of genetic engineering operations and environmental health effects and methods.

Legal basis of the RKI is § 2 of the Law on downstream equipment of the Federal Health Office of 24 June 1994 Thus, it is particularly active in the following areas.:

Other tasks include the RKI transmitted by § 4 of the Infection Protection Act of 20 July 2000.

As part of its task of continuous observation (health monitoring), the RKI health survey ( DEGS ) and the " Study on the health of children and young people regularly conducts " Health in Germany to date " ( GEDA ) as a supplement to the" Study on Adult Health in Germany " in Germany " ( KiGGS ) by.

The Robert Koch Institute is

  • The central research and reference device of the BMG in the field of biomedical sciences, especially infectious diseases,
  • The central facility of the BMG for the measure -oriented analysis of health data,
  • The reference means the BMG for quality criteria and standards of practice in genetic engineering and environmental medicine,
  • The central facility of the BMG in the public realm ( public ) health service.


After an institute had been considered for the study and control of infectious diseases in Prussia since 1887, the Tenth International Medical Congress in Berlin in 1890 was decisive for its establishment on 1 July 1891, the scientific department of the Royal Prussian Institute for Infectious Diseases. Robert Koch headed the institute until 1904. His first employees Georg Friedrich Loeffler were Gaffky and his eventual successor in office. A new building of the Research Institute in Berlin-Wedding in 1900 was based next to the new building of the Clinical Department at the Rudolf Virchow Hospital, today the headquarters of the Robert Koch Institute. The Institute took appropriate tasks for cities and Reich authorities. Also international inquiries were answered.

The time from 1933 to 1935 represented a significant turning point in the history of the Institute: Two -thirds of the previously employed academic staff there were then no longer at the Institute, most projects were not continued.

The Prussian Institute was founded in 1935 initially affiliated to the Reich Health Office, was from 1942 independent Reichsanstalt production and was given the name Robert Koch Institute. Individual employees of the Institute participated in the inhumane human experiments in concentration camps, others had held important positions in comparable ( military science-oriented ) research system of the Third Reich as other medical facilities this time.

After the Second World War, the Institute of Health Administration of the city of Berlin was assigned, but retained a special status because his duties were not limited to Berlin. In 1952 it became part of the Federal Health Office until its dissolution in 1994. Since then the company is as higher federal authority a scientific institution within the Federal Ministry of Health. In the wake of German reunification in 1991 the RKI affiliated with several former GDR authorities.

In 2008, the Robert Koch Institute was awarded the Integrationsspreis for the best employ people with disabilities in the State of Berlin.

Structure and governance

Reinhard Kurth retired after reaching the age limit to 30 November 2007, and headed the institute until the handover to his successor as acting.

The official handover to Jörg Hacker issued on 29 February 2008 at the RKI by Ulla Schmidt, former Federal Minister for Health. Jörg Hacker resigned February 28, 2010; Acting Head was the Vice President of the Institute Reinhard Burger.

Burger was introduced on August 19, 2010 in a ceremony by the Minister of Health ( Philipp Rösler ) in his office.

The RKI is divided into the following departments:

  • Department of Infectious Diseases
  • Department of Epidemiology and Health Monitoring
  • Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
  • Centre for Biological Safety
  • Center of genetic engineering
  • Project groups Infection Biology and Epidemiology
  • Line area and Centralized Management
  • Department of Legal Affairs
  • Press, Public Relations, Libraries
  • Research Affairs and Coordination

In the building on the north shore, there is also a Robert -Koch- Museum with the chef 's Mausoleum.

Currently, the construction goes on for a high- security laboratory of the highest safety level 4 (BSL -4). Here, for example, are experimenting with pathogens such as the Ebola or Lassa virus. It is the first BSL -4 laboratory of the federal government. Completion was scheduled for late 2013. After bankruptcies of construction companies and problems in procurement, the laboratory will now be built in late 2014 ready.