The Hans-Bredow-Institut was founded as an independent non-profit organisation by the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk broadcasting corporation NWDR in co-operation with the University of Hamburg in 1950. As an Institute at the University of Hamburg it is legally independent, however, there are various content-oriented as well as organisational cooperation undertakings with the University.
The research conducted by the Institute focuses on mediated public communication: Today, the different types of mass media shape people's everyday life, politics, the economy as well as culture to a greater extent than ever before. Understanding the underlying determinants, assessing future opportunities and risks, and providing orientation for the actors involved - this is the main focus of the Institute's research.
The Institute emphasises its role as an independent observer and combines sociological, legal, economic and pedagogical approaches, because it strongly believes that contemporary problems of media development call for an interdisciplinary and a cross-national comparative perspective. Cooperation and constant exchange with the different actors in the media sphere are basic values for the Institute's research.
Particularly important is the transfer of results via publications and conferences in direction of business practice, politics and the public sphere.
Our particular research focus is widely acknowledged: The German Science Council has stressed the Institute's high level of research and declared it one of Germany's most distinguished research institutions.
The Institute is funded by individual project incomes and third-party funds as well as regular contributions from the City of Hamburg, the NDR Media GmbH, the TV channel ZDF, the medienanstalten and the Medienstiftung Hamburg.
Current and detailed information about the Institute, its work and its staff can be accessed through the Institute's website in German. The annual research reports (available in english since 2006/2007) are also available for download.