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Central research institutions

Horizontal organisation structure at FAU

In addition to its faculties, FAU has a number of central institutions which expand the scope of the research conducted at the University, conduct groundbreaking research or provide academic and scientific services.

The following institutions at FAU are funded by the Excellence Initiative:

The Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials – Hierarchical Structure Formation for Functional Devices’ (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 German Research Foundation, Germany’s largest organisation for research funding. Go to website

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. Go to website


The central institutions at FAU boost interdisciplinary collaboration in research, teaching and knowledge transfer going beyond the traditional faculty-based structure.

The Optical Imaging Centre Erlangen (OICE) was established in 2012 and is a Central Institute at FAU. It was founded based on the close collaboration between FAU and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light (MPL). OICE’s mission is to provide and co-ordinate access to high-end optical microscopes in its Core Facility Unit (CFU) and to develop new microscope systems and techniques in its Exploratory Research Unit (ERU). The Educational Training Unit (ETU) provides training for students and researchers in placements and seminars. Go to website

ZeLLIT is a central FAU institution and focuses on research on teaching and learning, innovation and transfer. It consists of three FAU institutes:

This makes ZeLLIT an institution which brings together all aspects of teaching and learning processes at all ages, learning innovation and research transfer according to research insights in particular in university teaching, and developments in society.

ZAR’s key research fields are ‘Body and Embodiment’, ‘Region and Practices’ and ‘Norms, Normativity and Norm Change’ – key aspects of human life which will be investigated in terms of their significance for religion. Go to website

FAU’s Central Institute of Healthcare Engineering (ZiMT) was founded on 1 December 2009 and has played a key role in establishing leading national and international research projects and teaching programmes in the field of medical technology ever since. It incorporates the University’s expertise in medical technology in a single organisation which is linked closely with partner organisations in related fields. Go to website

FAU’s Institute for Advanced Materials and Processes (ZMP) conducts interdisciplinary research connecting materials science, mechanical engineering, chemistry and physics. The dynamic and innovative environment at ZMP is ideal for developing new materials and manufacturing methods for lightweight components. ZMP was established to develop ideas which emerge from basic research into prototypes. Go to website

The Centre for Area Studies is concerned with interdisciplinary research in specific regions, focusing on the regions of North America, Ibero-America, Europe, Franconia, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Go to website

The Centre for Scientific Computing (ZISC) co-ordinates complex simulation tasks which involve multiple faculties and departments. Go to website

The Center for Applied Philosophy of Science and Key Qualifications (ZiWiS) undertakes joint research with all of FAU’s five faculties in the field of Applied Philosophy of Science. It focuses on topics such as freedom of research, confidence in research, science as an authority, interdisciplinary communication and ethics of science. In a teaching and advisory role, ZiWiS offers students from all faculties a comprehensive range of key qualifications and support at the start of each degree programme through orientation programmes (GOS). Go to website


The following centres have been set up at FAU by the Bavarian State Ministry to promote international collaboration between Bavarian universities and research institutes in the respective regions:

BAYLAT is responsible for strengthening existing research collaborations and student exchange programmes and encouraging links between Bavaria and Latin America with regard to research projects, events and publications. Go to website

Through the Bavaria California Technology Centre (BaCaTeC), the Free State of Bavaria supports collaboration between researchers from Bavaria and California as part of the programme Bavarian High-Tech Initiative for the Future. BaCaTeC is a central institute for Bavarian universities and is based at FAU. Go to website


The following research institutions linked to the key tasks of the University also offer fundamental academic and scientific services.

FAU is committed to providing excellent support for young researchers. The Graduate Centre was set up as a key part of this initiative. It supports young researchers, promotes interdisciplinary and international collaborations, and helps international doctoral candidates become part of the University community. Its main objective is to maintain the high quality of education and supervision that doctoral candidates receive at FAU. Go to website

Regional Computer Centre Erlangen (RRZE) is the University’s IT service provider. For students and staff, as well as for FAU’s organisational units, RRZE is the point of contact for information on the University network, web hosting and IT services. Furthermore, RRZE offers training, for example in word processing, spreadsheet programs, image editing or web development. Go to website

The Language Centre is a central FAU institution and is responsible for language teaching. It offers both the language courses stipulated in the curricula in the philological subjects, for example, and optional language courses in over 20 languages which constitute core skills. The Language Centre provides a wide range of practice-based courses and a professional learning and teaching environment for students who want to improve their international research and professional profile and FAU staff working in teaching and administration. Every semester, over 10,000 participants register for the language courses offered at the Language Centre. Approximately 90% of all FAU students participate in one or more language courses during their studies. Go to website

The University Library has served FAU’s research and teaching community ever since it was founded in 1743. Today, it provides access to 5.5 million media sources at over 130 locations, including 12,000 recent journals. The Library provides access to approximately 25,000 electronic journals and 1,200 databases. Go to website

The Centre for Teacher Education co-ordinates teaching degrees and placements for all teaching degree programmes. It also advises students and is involved in the quality management of degree programmes for teachers in training. Go to website


The following institutes fall under the responsibility of the faculties:

The Erlangen Centre of Islam and Law in Europe (EZIRE) researches and teaches on the topic of Islam and Muslim life in Europe, from a multi-disciplinary perspective. In addition to research and teaching, EZIRE also offers various services such as courses, advice, expertise and expert reports. Go to website