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Past projects

Previous EFI projects

The overall aim of this project is the fundamental research and development of cell-based tissue structures and, based on this, the complete regeneration of damaged organs, for example, the regeneration of bones with integrated vessels. It is intended to reproduce the micro-anatomical structure of bones and blood vessels based on the combination of new manufacturing processes for three-dimensional scaffolds in conjunction with bioactive materials, specific growth factors and patients’ own cells. It is hoped that these processes will pave the way for new intelligent therapies via the application of customised biomaterials and the production of complete organs or parts of organs in the laboratory or directly in the operating theatre on or in patients. This combination would eliminate the need for the complicated and protracted cultivation of tissues.

Innovations in biotechnology and the life sciences do not only yield great progress in various areas of scientific and technological research and thus also drive economic development, but they also dynamically chart the fundamental relationship between nature, technology, and society. In the future bio-objects will take a key position in dynamic, knowledge-based societies and economies that far exceeds their current importance. They subvert established categories, thereby leaving the realm of the purely material and gaining a certain autonomy and independence from the contexts of their origin and use. This project aims to identify bio-objects as a driving factor for biotechnological developments, to chart their multidimensionality and to examine their effects on agents and society.

The goal of the project ‘Taxation, Social Norms, and Compliance: Lessons for Institution Design’ is to foster research on individual and social determinants of tax compliance. In particular, the project aims to investigate the role institutions and social and cultural norms play for tax compliance. With regard to formal institutions, the project considers the design of tax systems as well the role of tax administration and of tax accounting. Special attention is paid to social and cultural norms, an aspect which is crucial given the great impact these have on fairness and on the individual’s perception of other taxpayers’ behaviour. Finally, the project also includes several sub-projects that focus on behavioural economics, exploring the preferences and the decision behaviour of individual taxpayers.

Neurotrition describes the interaction between nutrition and the way the brain functions (neurofunction). Nutritional components and diet can modulate brain functionality and brain activity, while the brain’s activity patterns influence the quality and the quantity of nutritional intake. What is unclear in these two cases is how this happens. The neurotrition project therefore aims to bring together FAU’s expertise from the fields of science, medicine and medical technology to systematically study neurotrition on various functional levels. The project hopes to find out how brain functionality is influenced by nutritional substances and how neurophysiological processes influence the amount and the type of food consumed.

Geometry is where the research interests of physics and mathematics coincide. The reconciliation of quantum theory and the general theory of relativity into quantum geometry is regarded as one of the biggest challenges in modern fundamental physics. The FAU research project aims to help unravel this mystery. A successful quantum geometry theory could broaden our understanding of nature in areas where the classic general theory of relativity fails, improve our knowledge of the universe on the largest and smallest scales, and reveal new mathematical correlations.

Growing challenges in healthcare mean that there is a demand for new substances that are relevant for treatment and diagnosis to be developed. A new approach is to move away from conventional carbon-based medications and use innovative alternatives based on small, low-cost, inorganic bioactive metal and sulphur-based molecules. The unique oxidation-reduction activity of these molecules can be used to regulate the intracellular redox state and the activation of the immune response, as well as to treat neuropathological diseases and diseases caused by immune deficiency, inflammation or infection. Using these molecules is therefore a promising approach that could improve treatment for chronic inflammatory diseases in our ageing population. This unique interdisciplinary research project involves experts in inorganic chemistry, medicine and clinical practice and is co-ordinated by FAU’s Chair of Bioinorganic Chemistry.

The ever-increasing demand for energy has lead to a significant increase in the research and development of alternative, non-fossil fuels. The research project ‘Next Generation Solar Power’ has the objective of developing a ground-breaking platform to produce chemical fuels using solar power. In doing so, the new centre will focus on future generations of photovoltaics, on nanotubular metal oxide architecture (NMOA) for solar water thermolysis and on artificial leaves (AL). It is hoped that fuel and electricity will ultimately be produced as efficiently and as sustainably as possible and that energy costs will be comparable to those of current energy generation from fossil fuels. The research project ‘Next Generation Solar Power’, which already receives funding from external sources, was granted the status of a model Emerging Fields Project due to its outstanding academic quality.

Large-scale energy supply from regenerative sources (sun, wind) requires new technologies for energy storage. One attractive approach to tackling these technical challenges is the use of energy-carrying compounds. These compounds are charged at ‘energy-rich’ locations at an ‘energy-rich’ time and the stored energy is then released at a later date, whenever and wherever required. Diesel-like hydrogen carriers, which may be used in our current energy infrastructure (tankers, fuelling stations, etc.) and allow for decentralised energy storage, are of particular interest. The pivotal scientific issues regarding this include the selection of materials, the optimisation of the procedure and the assessment of energy efficiency. The research project ‘Energy Transport and Storage Systems’, which already receives funding from external sources, was granted the status of a model Emerging Fields Project due to its outstanding academic quality.

The Erlangen Centre for Astroparticle Physics (ECAP) focuses on research where the fields of astrophysics, particle physics and cosmology overlap. ECAP is making considerable contributions to innovative experiments in neutrino, gamma and X-ray astronomy and developing new instruments for particle and radiation detection. These activities have recently been supplemented by theoretical quantum gravitation research. The ECAP research project, which already receives funding from external sources, was granted the status of a model Emerging Fields Project due to its outstanding academic quality.