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EFI funding

From small beginnings to excellence in research

FAU is one of Germany’s leading research universities and represents a diverse range of outstanding academic approaches and perspectives. A full-spectrum university, it brings all disciplines together, which means FAU offers perfect conditions for innovative ideas which often span different fields of research.

Image: FAU

Image: FAU

FAU set up the Emerging Fields Initiative (EFI) in 2010 to provide funding at an early stage for high-risk interdisciplinary collaborative research projects. As an internal funding programme, ETI promotes the dialogue between researchers, stimulates strategic alliances with important partners and increases the attractiveness of FAU for excellent researchers from all over the world.

A large number of highly innovative research projects and promising research consortia have been set up at FAU since ETI was implemented. During the next step from 2021, EFI will support research networks with an expert research base on their journey to excellence. This strategic project funding allows FAU to strengthen its research profile as a top university. Our partner in this venture is the STAEDTLER Foundation, which is supporting the initiative with a matching funds model. A strict selection process ensures the quality of the research projects.

An insight into EFI funding

So far, 31 emerging innovative and interdisciplinary research projects have received funding as part of EFI.

  • EFIMoves – Diagnosing and treating motor disorders

    Sensor-based movement analysis

    Sensor-based movement analysis (Image: Kurt Fuchs)

    The ‘EFIMoves’ project aims to develop and validate cutting-edge multi-modal medical diagnostic techniques. Mobile and integrated sensor-based movement analysis is a simple, cost-effective and individualised method that can be used to analyse movements and develop approaches for treating motor neurone diseases. The eGAIT system the researchers developed has been awarded the Bavarian Innovation Prize in health telematics.

  • ELINAS – Erlangen Centre for Literature and Natural Sciences

    Graphic with letters

    Image: ELINAS Projekt

    Literature and the natural sciences may appear to be poles apart when it comes to interpreting our world, but when these two areas are combined they have the potential to improve our understanding of current and future problems and how to deal with them. The ELINAS project has considered this research field systematically and from the historical perspective and has brought together expertise in the fields of cultural studies and the natural sciences to develop a common systematic approach derived from the various special discourses.

  • Molecular Communication Systems

    Scientist with molecules

    Image: Colourbox.de

    For new applications in the fields of biology, nanotechnology and medicine, it will in future be necessary to find ways to connect objects and machines in dimensions that can be measured in nanometres and micrometres. As electromagnetic waves are not suitable for the nanoworld, molecules are to be used to carry information. Researchers at FAU have designed the first test environments in the world for molecular communication.

    Made possible thanks to co-financing from the STAEDTLER Foundation

  • Tapping the Potential of Earth Observations (TAPE)

    Glacier front detection

    Front-detection: Glacier front detection using different training weights for U-Nets. green: ground truth, red: prediction, yellow: intersection of ground truth and prediction. (Copyright: Holzmann et al. 2021, http://arxiv.org/abs/2101.03247)

    The aim of this project is to analyse the time series of Earth observation (EO) data with innovative deep learning methods in order to develop efficient algorithms for dealing with the large amounts of data involved. The value of these EO products is further increased by advanced interpolation techniques and assimilation in geophysical models.

    Made possible thanks to co-financing from the STAEDTLER Foundation

  • Novel Biopolymer Hydrogels

    Swelling experiment

    Swelling experiments confirm physical aspects of cortical folding. (Image: Sylvia Budday)

    This project involves manufacturing biopolymer hydrogels and cataloguing their mechanical properties. They serve as replacement materials in order to understand and model the highly-complex behaviour of soft biological tissue. This could make the process of selecting suitable materials for 3D printing of artificial organs or generating models for prognoses considerably easier in the future.

    Made possible thanks to co-financing from the STAEDTLER Foundation