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Wortmarke FSU

Research Profile

FSU's current research profile is composed of the following five priority research areas:

I. Optics, Photonics and photonic Technologies - Ernst Abbe Center of Photonics.

Carl Zeiss, Ernst Abbe, and Otto Schott initiated an interdisciplinary cooperation between science and industry in the area of optical tech­nology. This cooperation became a symbiosis that could be built upon and consistently intensified after 1990. Its current organizational structures are the BMBF funded Center of Innovation "Ultraoptics" (2004) and the Innovation Cluster "Optical Technologies" (2006; jointly with IOF). More than 10 Thuringian companies are involved in the latter, including the global players Carl Zeiss and Jenoptik. Beyond that, more than 70 SMEs and research and educational institutions are integrated into the innovation cluster via the Thuringian network OptoNet Association.

Selection of current collaborative research projects:

  • SFB/TR 7 "Gravitational Wave Astronomy Methods - Sources - Observation", Jena/Hannover/Tübingen (until 2010)
  • SFB/TR18 "Relativistic Laser-Plasma-Dynamics", Düsseldorf/Jena/München (since 2004)
  • DFG-FOR 532: "Non-linear space-time dynamics in dissipative and discrete optical systems"
  • "ultra-optics" - BMBF Center for Innovational Competence

II. Innovative Materials and Technologies

This focus has been a hallmark of top-level research at FSU Jena ever since the times of Zeiss, Abbe and Schott. Work in the realm of materials development and its applications and the investigation of the structure and properties of new substances is conducted across the disciplines and schools, concen­trating in Physics and Chemistry. Biology and Medical Science are involved via innovative basic and applied research in the area of biomaterials. The cooperation with non-university institutes and partners in the industry is exemplary in this respect. Most of FSU's patents are in this field. This extraordinary research spill out is documented by the fact that FSU was ranked best nationwide in the latest CHE-Rankings (2006) on "Patents as an Indicator of Applied Research and Development".

Selection of current collaborative research projects:

  • DFG-FOR 436 : "Metal Mediated Reactions Modeled after Nature" (until 2006)
  • NoE-EPNOE The European Polysaccharide Network (Network of Excellence, 2005-2009)
  • NoE-NANOQUANTA Nanoscale Quantum Simulations for Nanostructures and Advanced Materials (Network of Excellence, 2004-2008) 

III. Dynamics of Complex Biological Systems 

In the 20th century, the region became a Euro­pean research cluster for biotechnology, widely recognized as having a high potential for innovation. Hans Knoell, who founded the biomedical sciences in Jena and Germany in 1938, established a microbiological laboratory together with the Schott Company. Today's Beutenberg Campus, with its numerous research facilities and two business start-up centers (BIZ and TIP), has developed out of that first laboratory. The basic research conducted here ranges from the examination of global cycles of matter all the way to genome and protein analyses and biomedical science at the molecular level. The "Bio­Instruments Jena" concept won special mention at the BioRegio competition in 1996; 32 start-up and spin-off biotech companies are the outstanding result. Today, 22 com­panies with over 200 employees are working at the BioInstrumentation Center alone. In 2004, the Association for Biomedical Research was founded as an overarching organi­zational structure with the goal of bringing together all cooperative activities in research and further education.

Selection of current collaborative research projects:

  • Excellence Graduate School 214 "Jena School for Microbial Communication"
  • SFB 604 "Multifunktionelle Signalproteine"; "Multifunctional Signalling Proteins"
  • DFG-FOR 456 "The role of biodiversity for element cycling and trophic interactions: An experimental approach in a grassland community"
  • DFG-FOR 504 "Gene Expression and Proteome Dynamics in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii"
  • DFG-GRK 1257 "Alteration and element mobility at the microbe-mineral interface"
  • International Leibniz Research School for Microbial and Biomolecular Interactions
  • International Max Planck Research School "The Exploration of Ecological Interactions with Molecular and Chemical Techniques"
  • Helmholtz Interdisciplinary GRADuate School for Environmental Research (Beteiligung, Koordinierung durch Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung)
  • Marie Curie Research Training Networks "Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases: Structure, Regulation and Biological Function"

IV. Laboratory of the Enlightenment 

Early Romanticism, German Idealism, and the world literature of German Classicism have their roots in the unique cultural region of Weimar-Jena circa 1800. Here is where philosophies and concepts of modernity that would have global influence arose. These ideas acted time and time again as a magnet for researchers from all over the world, who were certainly also attracted by the region's unique research infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities. Indeed, the intellectual at­mosphere of the region during the passage from the 18th to the 19th century proved to be a "Laboratory of Modernity" in science, culture, and art. Far beyond merely retaining this heritage, the modern arts and humanities in Jena in cooperation with the Weimar Classics Foundation seize the classical era's claim to modernity and seek to adapt the fruits of the Weimar-Jena encyclopaedic spirit to today's intellectual challenges.

Selection of current collaborative research projects:

  • Research Centre "Laboratory of the Enlightenment"
  • SFB 482 "Phenomenon Weimar-Jena. Culture around 1800"
  • DFG-GRK 1412 "Cultural Orientations and Institutional/Structural Order in Southeastern Europe"

 V. Individuals and Social Change

Social change is not just a traditional research topic in Jena. Coping with change, using knowledge and experience, is in fact the duty of societies in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, towards their own future. Inspired by Jena's distinguished tradition of innovations in addressing social, economic, and political change, a research focus on the confrontation, difficulties, and dynamics of change in modern Europe has been developing in Jena since 1994 within the Social and Behavioral Sciences, with the involvement of Economics. Within the core of this research area is not just the empirical analysis of intergroup behavior, stability and change in the social elite, and the individual's confrontation of trends towards rapid transformation, but also consult­ing services of many types. The pertinent interdisciplinary research projects have made Jena a center of knowledge about social change and transformation in today's Europe.

Selection of current collaborative research projects:

  • Graduate School "Human Behaviour in Social and Economic Change" (mit MPI of Economics)
  • SFB 580 "Social Developments after Structural Change: Discontinuity, Tradition, Structure Formation"
  • DFG FOR 481 "Discrimination and Tolerance in Intergroup Relations"
  • Internationale DFG GRK 622 "Conflict and Cooperation between Social Groups"
  • DFG GRK 1411 "The Economics of Innovative Change"
  • DFG GRK 1402 "Human Dignity and Human Rights - Origins, Development and Application of a Central Complex of Values"
  • International Max Planck Research School "Adapting Behaviour to a Fundamentally Uncertain World"
  • DAAD-International Study and Training Partnership "Human Development in Context"
  • ESF Scientific Network: "EURELITE - European political elites in comparison: the long road to convergence"
  • European Integrated Project "INTUNE - Integrated and United? A Quest for Citizenship in an ever Closer Europe"
  • European Network of Excellence "DIME - Dynamics of Markets and Institutions"
  • BMBF-Interdisciplinary Research Consortium "Migration and Societal Integration"


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