About RKI

The Robert Koch Institute, abbreviated as RKI by AbbreviationFinder, is a state institute based in Berlin.

The RKI is a public health care facility. Its mission is to maintain the health of the population – that is, to recognize diseases, to combat them and to protect people from them. Diseases, especially infectious diseases, are being researched there on all levels. In order to find out what makes people sick and healthy, infectious and non-infectious diseases and their risk factors are examined in detail. The aim of the experts is to identify pathogens at an early stage and to combat them.

The Robert Koch Institute is an independent authority subordinate to the Ministry of Health. It advises the federal ministries and draws attention to risks such as contagious diseases at an early stage. The RKI also develops strategies for defense against them. To this end, the institute conducts research in various areas and examines viruses, bacteria, diseases of civilization and the occurrence of epidemics.

The institute also has the task of providing information. That is why the institute is networked around the world in order to prevent possible outbreaks and spread of the disease. The Robert Koch Institute, for example, plays a central role in combating the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

The Robert Koch Institute goes back to Robert Koch . As a doctor and bacteriologist, he recognized the multitude of virusesa challenge that he could only face with a team of specialists. In 1891 he founded the “Royal Prussian Institute for Infectious Diseases”. Thanks to the composition of experts, the institute was able to specialize even better in communicable diseases and deadly pathogens. R. Koch was director of the institute until 1904. In 1912 the institute was renamed the Robert Koch Institute.

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Robert Koch Institute

Robert Koch Institute, abbreviation RKI, leading institution of the public health service in Germany for the detection, prevention and control of diseases, especially infectious diseases, based in Berlin.

Robert Koch Institute

Tasks and goals

The RKI is the national public health institute for Germany. It works as an independent higher federal authority in the business area of ​​the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) on scientific findings, v. a. with a view to diseases with a high degree of danger, a high degree of prevalence as well as great public and health policy interest for decision-makers (federal government, federal states, parliaments).

As the central federal institution in the field of public health, the RKI has a significant influence. It advises the responsible federal ministries, in particular the BMG, draws attention to health risks at an early stage and develops strategies to counter them. With regard to the detection of new health risks, the institute takes on an “antenna function” in the sense of an early warning system. As an institute with a state mandate, the RKI also has the task of informing specialist science and the general public. It is responsible for health reporting (GBE) in terms of content and coordination.

The RKI conducts research in the fields of virology, bacteriology, immunology, epidemiology of infectious and civilization diseases as well as biological safety. Various scientific commissions are based at the institute for this purpose. Special tasks are assigned to him by the Infection Protection Act, the Genetic Engineering Act and the Transfusion Act, such as the approval of the import and use of human embryonic stem cells.


The RKI is one of the oldest biomedical institutes in the world. The main focus of the facility is still the study of infectious diseases and their spread. When it was founded, many diseases were only discovered or classified as infectious diseases in the first place. In 1891 the “Royal Prussian Institute for Infectious Diseases” was founded. Its first director was R. Koch, who discovered the tuberculosis pathogen, among other things, and managed the institute until 1904. In 1912 it was renamed the Robert Koch Institute.

For the first 20 years, the institute was located in a converted residential building next to the Berlin Charité. In 1900 the company moved to its current headquarters on the north bank in Berlin-Wedding. Until the years after World War II, the RKI was assigned to the Berlin city administration. In 1952 it became part of the Federal Health Office, as the tasks extended beyond the borders of Berlin. Since 1994 the RKI has been a higher federal authority in the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Health.

There is a museum in the institute with an extensive exhibition. The scientific legacy of Robert Koch is kept underneath; including letters, certificates, manuscripts for publications and contracts as well as photographs and microscopic preparations.