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Strong Research within a Regional Cluster: Jena – A Centre of Academia

Academic success is rooted in a rich tradition in Jena. Research centres and institutions close to the scientific community work hand in hand here. Two universities and nine non-university research institutions are concentrated at three locations within the city – in the city centre, in Lobeda and at the Beutenberg Campus.

The scientists who work here are tackling tomorrow's questions today: How do we age? How can we preserve biodiversity in the natural world or store sustainable and environmentally-friendly energy? Where do we humans come from and what are we evolving into? How do micro-organisms integrate into their environment and what conclusions can be drawn from this? What are the impacts of a change in system and how do societies which have experienced such change react to it? Answers are often found in both long-standing and new cooperations which yield highly innovative and productive research projects.

Other current research focuses in the so-called "Jena Cluster" include new approaches in diagnostics and the therapy of sepsis, the fundamentals and applications of lasers and laser systems, and the communications of micro-organisms, which provides the basis for developing new medicines. Jena-based experts work in a distinctly interdisciplinary and networked way, which has resulted in the emergence of specific centres for the various research fields.

High-tech on the Beutenberg Campus

The high-tech companies based within the region are an important hub within Jena's scientific network. Indeed, more than 50 start-ups have sprung up on the Beutenberg Campus alone, with bio-technology playing a particularly prominent role here. The underlying ideas and patents behind these start-ups often emerged from within the framework of the University and its programmes of study. The founders of numerous fledgling companies were also offered support by the Technology and Innovation Park (TIP) in taking their first steps into the business world.

In addition, well-established scientific cooperations are already in place with the Carl Zeiss Group, Jenoptik AG, Schott AG, Analytik Jena AG, Intershop AG and other business partners with strong research ties.

Successes in Coordinated Programmes (Selection)

1 Graduate School as part of the "Exzellenzinitiative"

1 DFG Research Centre

5 DFG Collaborative Research Centres

4 DFG Research Training Groups

4 DFG Priority Programmes

9 DFG Research Units

8 BMBF-funded Research Clusters


Research cooperations are nothing new in Jena. In the mid-19th century, the entrepreneur Carl Zeiss joined forces with the physicist and university professor Ernst Abbe and chemist Otto Schott to lay the groundwork for modern microscope engineering. By the same token, this cooperation -- built on entrepreneurial talent and the will to innovate -- played a decisive role in the development of Jena overall, with the humble agricultural centre growing into powerful industrial hub. The city and University are still benefiting from this evolution to this day.

Alliance of Universities

The tradition of education and academia in Central Germany stretches back even further. Territorial rulers in the early modern period founded schools and universities in an effort to ensure that young recruits for their administrative bodies were equipped with the required expertise. The fragmented political structure of Central Germany during this period paved the way for the comparatively high density of universities in the region we enjoy today. FSU Jena has joined forces with the universities in Halle-Wittenberg and Leipzig to form an alliance of universities spanning the borders of three federal states. Together, these three universities participate in the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) as well as in other large coordinated projects, such as studies on the Enlightenment and research within the Forum for the Study of the Global Condition.

The abundance of strong partners in the fields of academia and industry based in and around the region, with which the University closely networks on various levels, is the ideal prerequisite for a hotbed of innovation. The latest studies confirm this -- Jena offers all the right conditions for outstanding academic work.

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