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DFG projects

Succeeding in a highly competitive environment

The amount of third-party funding which a university attracts is a key indicator of its performance. Funding provided by the DFG (German Research Foundation) is especially significant, as it is awarded on the basis of particularly strict criteria. Accordingly, the percentage of applications which are successful is relatively low – from 2009 to 2012, only just over 32 percent of DFG applications from across Germany were approved. When it comes to DFG funding, FAU has been ranked among the top ten best universities in Germany for many years.

On the following pages you will find lists of all DFG projects which FAU is currently involved in, along with a short description of each project:

The Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ (EAM) is the only interdisciplinary research partnership of its kind in Germany focusing on materials science and process engineering. Key research activities at EAM include the fundamental and applied aspects of design and the development of high-performance materials. EAM is affiliated with FAU and is part of the Excellence Initiative run by the DFG (German Research Foundation), Germany’s largest organisation for research funding.

The Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT) was founded at FAU in November 2006 as part of the Excellence Initiative. Key research activities at SAOT include optics and optical technology, which are pivotal to 21st century engineering. Optical technologies have a wide range of applications in science and industry, such as in information and communication technology, process technology, manufacturing technology, energy and environmental technology, and medicine.

Collaborative Research Centres (SFB) and Transregios (TRs) are research institutions at universities which are awarded long-term funding where researchers work together as part of an interdisciplinary research programme.


Research Training Groups (GRK) support young researchers. They give doctoral candidates the opportunity to carry out their work within the framework of a co-ordinated research programme supported by senior researchers and professors.


Research Units (FOR) are groups of several researchers based at one or more locations. They often contribute to establishing new areas of research. The aim of Clinical Research Units (KFO) is to promote research groups involved in disease or patient-orientated (translational) clinical research and set up permanent research groups in clinical facilities.


Priority Programmes (SPP) bring transregional collaborations together and support research which promises to produce significant findings if funding is centrally co-ordinated.