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Research

Interdisciplinary Centres

Crossing borders

FAU places great importance on interdisciplinary collaborations which cross the boundaries of individual subjects and actively promotes this in its Interdisciplinary Centres. These centres cover subjects such as Islamic religious studies, labour markets and the world of work, gerontology, neuroscience, embedded systems and molecular materials. This allows research projects which require different disciplines to work together in order to succeed to be easily organised across departments and faculties. A summary of all the interdisciplinary centres at FAU and their research activities is given below.

The Interdisciplinary Centre Gender Difference Diversity (IZGDD) links and expands several research priorities in a number of disciplines. In its research, the centre aims to combine gender, diversity and diversity-related interests, activities and expertise from the different disciplines and  develop new fields and adequate approaches for their exploration through interdisciplinary collaboration. Theoretical, historical, cultural, literary, sociological and arts-based perspectives are connected with applied research for example in the legal or medical field.

Through the FAU emerging fields initiative (efi), the SynBio project was launched in 2014 as a network of biochemists, chemists, physicists, bioinformaticians, mathematicians, pharmacists and materials scientists and their work has evolved in the field of synthetic biology ever since. The focus of the research activities planned at the Applied Protein Center Erlangen (APCE) is on the modelling, production, characterisation and optimisation of protein-based bio-hybrid materials and complex biosystems for biochemical, technical and bio-medical research and application.

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences (IZ Digital) brings together researchers from a range of disciplines at FAU. Its aim is to promote digital humanities and social sciences by supporting and carrying out joint events and projects related to research, teaching and further training. IZ Digital collaborates with relevant organisations in the region, and with national and international institutions. Supporting young researchers in the area of digital humanities and social sciences is a key objective for IZ Digital. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Public Health’s goal is to develop and intensify healthcare research in light of demographic change by concentrating on the following: analysing the benefits and costs of innovative developments in healthcare technology, supporting transfer between industry and research by implementing the results of research studies in healthcare practice, and providing evidence-based advice for networks of decision-makers. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Media Studies brings together subjects and degree programmes related to the media from all of FAU’s faculties. IMZ supports a comparative approach to media discourse, the planning and implementation of collaborative research projects and events, and joint degree programmes and graduate projects, such as IMZ’s Graduate School, which was founded in 2007. Go to website (in German)

IZIR was founded in 2002 as a platform for training teachers of Islamic religious studies. Its tasks involve formulating legal frameworks and professional standards for the teaching of Islamic religious studies and trialling them in a school environment. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Aging Research was set up to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of gerontology in order to provide better advice for policy-makers and better represent the concerns of older people in the public domain. ICA’s goals include initiating research projects related to gerontology and finding practical applications for significant results. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Dialect Studies and Language Variation promotes co-operation between the different branches of linguistics at FAU and regular contact with other subjects in other faculties. Key questions in IZD research include: What are dialects? What are the most important tasks in dialect research? Which disciplines are involved in dialect research and which disciplines need the results? Go to website (in German)

The various branches of Classical Studies and related disciplines involved in the Interdisciplinary Centre for the Study of the Ancient World co-ordinate, concentrate and develop their expertise in this interdisciplinary centre. The different subjects, some concentrating on textual sources and others focusing on physical relics, work together to provide new inspiration for research and teaching, both in terms of content and methodology.

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Lexicography, Valency and Collocation connects and co-ordinates research in subjects from various disciplines at FAU which deal with the way in which words are used in larger linguistic units and the description of this use of words. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for European Medieval and Renaissance Studies co-ordinates and supports Medieval and Renaissance studies which have traditionally been one of FAU’s strengths. Its work focuses on the European culture of the Middle Ages as a process and an interaction which helps shape identity. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre of Interface-controlled Processes is a joint project involving groups of researchers from the fields of physics, chemistry and materials science. Their work concentrates on fundamental material properties which can be manipulated via the interface between different materials. The Centre focuses on three key topics: firstly, the preparation of interface-modified geometric structures (mainly looking at structural properties), secondly, structure-property relationships in interface-modified structures and applications (electronic/optical properties, theoretical descriptions), and finally interfaces of particulate systems and interface-stabilised nanoparticles. Go to website

IZKF currently involves 150 researchers from 31 departments, clinical departments and institutes who are working on four research priorities divided into 42 sub-projects. The Centre aims to strengthen the links between the research groups and to improve the quality of the clinical research at the Faculty of Medicine by establishing high-quality sub-projects which are largely practice-based, and strengthening the interaction between different clinical departments and theory-orientated institutions. Go to website

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Aesthetic Education aims to raise the profile of the aesthetic dimension of education as a topic of research and teaching. The goal of its joint projects is to research the possibilities which aesthetic education opens up as a specific method of viewing the world, dealing with other people, and developing personality. In order to do so, researchers from various subjects within different faculties are working together to investigate the processes of aesthetic perception, design and judgement. Particular emphasis is placed on promoting aesthetic education in practice. Go to website

This Interdisciplinary Centre brings together the diverse research initiatives at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology which deal with contemporary literature and culture. There are links to almost all areas within the faculty such as German studies, Romance studies, Slavonic studies, Islamic studies, Chinese studies, or theatre and media studies, to name just a few. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Molecular Materials was established in 2007 and is a platform for interdisciplinary research projects in the fields of molecular materials and nanotechnology. There are currently 20 groups from the departments of Chemistry and Physics involved in ICMM. The participating researchers are experts in the fields of molecular electronics, functional carbon-rich molecular architectures, redox-active metal complexes, light-energy conversion, electron transfer in molecular and supramolecular materials, molecular magnetism, molecules on surfaces, inorganic nanostructures, and biomimetic materials. Go to website

The Labour and Socio-Economic Research Centre analyses labour markets and the world of work from various perspectives, in particular from the viewpoint of economics, sociology, psychology, management and law. It is divided into four research areas and focuses on internationally competitive research activities using an interdisciplinary approach. In addition, LASER offers policy advice on work-related issues and provides information to the general public. Go to website

ESI co-ordinates research, teaching and further training in the field of embedded systems at FAU. Furthermore, ESI provides a link between experts at the University and industry, in particular small and medium-sized business, in the area of designing embedded systems. ESI’s application centre which was set up with the Fraunhofer IIS is an important part of this project. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre of Ophthalmic Preventive Medicine and Imaging was introduced to intensify and consolidate the collaboration between the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Engineering in the field of preventative medicine. Its objective is to improve research conditions and increase the visibility of research results. Go to website (in German)

The Erlangen Catalysis Resource Centre is an interdisciplinary research centre involving groups from the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy and the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering. The aim of the ECRC is to strengthen all stages of catalysis research, from basic research to process development. Go to website (in German)

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Edition Philology was established to encourage closer collaboration between the numerous editing projects at FAU, enabling them to work together to investigate fundamental issues in editing, particularly in the application of new procedures. Go to website (in German)

The Emil Fischer Centre brings together working groups from areas of pharmacology, food chemistry and molecular medicine at FAU. The goal of the Emil Fischer Centre is to connect, strengthen and improve the focus of interdisciplinary research work in the areas of materials, target areas, and bioanalysis. Key topics include the identification of target proteins, target protein modification and formulation, target ligand interactions and target proteins in signal transmission. The Emil Fischer Centre is also responsible for co-ordinating interdisciplinary teaching and teaching doctoral candidates in pharmacy, food chemistry and molecular medicine. Go to website

More than 70 researchers from various departments, clinical departments, institutes, chairs and junior research groups have come together to form MICE – a joint research platform for all sub-disciplines of immunobiology and clinical immunology – and pool their expertise in fundamental immunology and clinical immunology research in Erlangen, a leading location for research in this field. The Medical Immunology Campus Erlangen focuses on collaborative research into the immune system’s fundamental mechanisms and processes and how they malfunction, and the application of findings from basic research in clinical practice. Go to website

The Erlangen Centre for Infection Research is a working group made up of institutions and researchers with expertise in a wide range of subjects, ranging from (bio)inorganic, medical and pharmaceutical chemistry to infection biology, microbiology, virology, immunology, pathology and clinical infectious diseases. ECI acts as a bridge between fundamental, pre-clinical and clinical research. Its main goal is to ensure that the results from in vitro and in vivo research are implemented in a clinical environment more quickly. Go to website

Neuroscience has become one of the most important disciplines in life sciences, in terms of both basic research and clinical practice. In recent years, intense global research efforts have led to huge advancements in knowledge and considerably increased our understanding of the nervous system in both a healthy and a diseased state. FAU established IZN to make an active contribution towards this development and raise its profile as a pioneer in modern neuroscience. Go to website

The Muscle Research Centre Erlangen (MURCE) brings together FAU’s experts in muscle research, cardiac research, developmental biology and healthy ageing to study translational aspects of biomechanics from the level of the organs to the body as a whole. It involves researchers from life sciences, medicine, engineering and the natural sciences. A key focus of its work is developing new technologies in muscle research and applying them in research into muscle disorders. The Centre offers laboratory facilities and training programmes to support young researchers in the relevant fields. Go to website

The Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN) conducts research into fundamental topics and current issues in human rights. Its basic and applied research contributes to regional, national and international developments in human rights. CHREN’s members act as advisors to institutions, authorities and political bodies at a local, regional, national, international and intergovernmental level, as well as organisations from industry and society. Furthermore, CHREN facilitates collaboration with other academic institutions in Germany and abroad, as well as governmental, non-governmental and supranational organisations. Go to website

CENEM is a centre for state-of-the-art measurement technology for microscopic and analytical characterisation of materials and components down to the atomic scale. CENEM focuses on several complementary analysis techniques to determine the structure and properties of materials down to the smallest length scales using microscopic, spectroscopic and diffraction methods with electron, ion, X-ray and neutron beams and scanning probes. Go to website


Aim of the Interdisciplinary Center for Functional Particle Systems (FPS) is to develop innovative methods and processes to generate, formulate and apply particles (building blocks) with tailored size, shape and structure as well as customized surface properties. The efficient generation of advanced multifunctional products with high value can however only be realized by interdisciplinary approaches. Based on the cross-sectional topic of particles, FPS brings together chemical engineering, materials science, chemistry, physiscs and medicine. Go to website

The Centre for Euro-Oriental Studies (CEOS) brings experts together from the fields of Middle East and Islamic studies, humanities, cultural studies, the history of medicine, law and economics, social sciences and theology. The centre aims to strengthen the University’s contribution to Middle East research with an innovative research approach. In terms of content, CEOS focuses on the processes of cultural interaction and hybridisation. By focusing on the regional categories ‘Europe’ and ‘Orient’, the centre aims to develop an innovative euro-oriental perspective beyond a dichotomisation of “Orient” and “Europe”. Go to website (in German)

Organisational framework