ENET – the excellence track for high potentials

The best of university, non-university and business experience

The Erlangen-Nuremberg Excellence Track (ENET-LZE) is one of the fundamental aspects of our excellence strategy that aims to establish FAU as the university for the next generation of early career researchers. With the help of our partners, we have put in place a best practice programme that offers alternative, flexible career paths for excellent young researchers and the opportunity to follow a career spanning various organisations.

(Prof. Joachim Hornegger, FAU President)

The ENET-LZE programme has been developed within the High Performance Centre for Electronic Systems (LZE) in a partnership between FAU, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Device Technology (IISB).

One of the things that makes the programme unique that the third organisation involved is always a partner from the world of business. The partner in the first round is Siemens AG.

The target group consists of graduates in the early postdoctoral phase and individuals with many years of professional experience, ideally in the area of scientific project management.

Those selected are creative, innovative team players with good communication skills.

While being funded through the ENET-LZE programme, the young researchers can work in the partner organisations but still progress through the programme while performing their work in their own organisation.

Over a period of two years, excellent young researchers working on a joint project receive support from the initial idea through to market maturity.

What makes the ENET-LZE special is that, by means of its broad-based exchange concept, it provides young researchers with the opportunity to experience working in interdisciplinary and cross-organisational teams. They also gain insights into the perspectives and procedures of the other organisations.

The programme also offers participants the chance to:

  • Establish an excellent network of contacts
  • Work on high-profile research projects
  • Experience a unique form of career development
  • Decide on suitable career options autonomously and in a targeted fashion.

The aim of the programme is to generate a value network across sectors for all organisations involved in the programme. This collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Siemens AG will make it possible to generate a significant contribution towards driving innovation and unlocking new entrepreneurial potential that goes beyond that which could be created within the individual institutions alone.

This will have the effect of enhancing the performance, attractiveness and visibility of the institutions involved and the local region.


However, there is no innovation without people. For new ideas, organisations need to attract people with the right skills. The ENET-LZE enables top-performing young researchers to broaden their horizons across the various specialist disciplines and organisations. This will make sure that the right people are in the right posts. (Prof. Albert Heuberger, Executive Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits II)

The measures are diverse and are primarily designed to develop the participants’ networking abilities and soft skills, depending on their career aspirations. They include:

  • Individual coaching sessions with experienced trainers
  • Variable periods working in one of the partner organisations
  • Mentoring sessions
  • Seminars on the subjects of entrepreneurship, innovation management, leadership and research, communication and media
  • ENET-LZE networking meetings, during which the participants have the opportunity to present themselves to experts in their field and build up a network
  • ‘Fireside chats’ with high-ranking employees from the organisations involved

Details of the application procedure for the next round starting in 2018 will be published on this site six months prior to this date.

As soon as there is more specific information, it will be posted here.

For the partner organisations, participation means:

  • Collaborating in the network of basic research, applied research and industrial research and development alters and shortens the value chain, significantly increasing the speed of development.
  •  By working together in an interdisciplinary team, companies have a greater range of solutions at their disposal and can benefit from extraordinary new ideas.
  • Industrial companies broaden their scientific horizons whilst academic partners learn to appreciate issues better from a market or systems perspective.

For Siemens, the ENET-LZE offers the chance to create an edge in an environment characterised by an incredible speed of change. This is achieved through optimal collaboration in the research and development value chain, as well as through the networking of interdisciplinary teams. (Prof. Rolf Hellinger, Head of Technology and Pre-Development Power Electronics Technology, Test, Infrastructure & Processes)

The ENET-LZE team takes part in ‘Science sets Sail’

‘Science sets Sail’: during the summer of 2017, FAU invited internal and external scientists aboard the Thor Heyerdahl. In three stages, the ship sailed from Kiel to Malmö, Riga, Helsinki, Tallinn, Gdańsk and Rostock. During each stage, different teams of researchers came on board to discuss interdisciplinary topics and work hand in hand on deck. This year, the ENET-LZE team joined, too.

Dr. Nadine Lang who works for Fraunhofer IIS at the High Performance Centre for Electronic Systems (LZE) and is taking part in the ENET-LZE programme, went on board ship for one week and has reported back on her impressions, experiences and insights (German).

Impressions of our journey

Photos from Science sets Sail