Research Benefiting Society at Large
TU Berlin is an internationally renowned research-intensive university dedicated to promoting science and technology for the benefit of broader society and committed to the principles of sustainability and research for peaceful purposes. The challenges and problems facing modern societies cannot be met on the basis of findings from individual disciplines. TU Berlin is addressing these challenges with the aid of transdisciplinary collaborative projects.
The establishment of important research partnerships in the context of the Excellence Initiative, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and European Institute for Innovation and Technology, in addition to constantly increasing third-party funding for the research projects, demonstrate the dynamic developments in this area. Prestigious science prizes and awards make these successes even more obvious; these include Alexander von Humboldt Chairs, Einstein Chairs, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizes, and numerous grants from the European Research Council.
Research for Innovation – a credo that TU Berlin impressively implements. Its extraordinary profile as a technical university in association with its humanities, social, planning and economic sciences programs is indeed an excellent breeding ground for strong interdisciplin-arity. By combining basic and applied research endeavors, and with close links to partners in science and industry, university researchers in seven faculties tackle societal issues and develop forward-looking solutions.
External Funding: Among the Best in Germany
Third-party funding for research projects is one of many indicators of TU Berlin’s performance and reputation. In 2014, TU researchers raised funding in the amount of around 178,9 million euros. This record result corresponds to more than a doubling since 2006. The highly regarded external funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) has more than doubled during the same six-year period. These results show how TU Berlin has been able to maintain a top position among the best German universities without medical schools. Our university’s competencies in knowledge transfer also find practical expression in the numerous inventions and patents. TU Berlin and Charité – University Medical Center Berlin hold top honors in this regard.
Six Areas of Special Focus
As part of Berlin and Brandenburg’s top-notch science landscape, in 2013 TU Berlin defined six research priorities to illustrate the university’s innovative performance, define social responsibilities and create links for cooperation projects. Such targeted focusing sharpens TU Berlin’s profile. These areas of focus are reflected in the specialist disciplines offered by the respective Faculties. They are also supported by horizontal competencies inherent in the fields of mathematics, humanities or planning sciences for instance.
Supporting Young Scientists
Science needs young talent, so in order to recruit the best young academics and give them the best possible career opportunities, TU Berlin provides dedicated assistance starting with an “Early Study” program for inquisitive schoolchildren and continuing right through the undergraduate, graduate and post-doc phases. In doing so, attention is given to achieving the greatest possible diversity. At the doctorate level, this ranges from ensuring access to the specific academic department, to cooperative forms of academic supervision in programs, to external dissertations in direct cooperation with industry. Independent projects, junior research groups and junior professorships are offered and encouraged during the post-doc phase. A conscious effort to promote more flexibility within professorial structures also serves to provide support for first-rate young talent in science. By 2020, ten percent of the currently highest endowed regular chairs (W3) will initially be tendered as limited, 6-year W1 or W2 chairs, which also applies to junior professorships. This new tenure-track approach allows the most successful teachers to then gain access to the next structural level at TU Berlin. It is on the basis of this concept that the university is striving to promote top-drawer young scientific talent, to integrate them, and to supporting forward-looking research topics.
The steady increase in the number of international research alliances underscores TU Berlin’s commitment to maintaining strong partners around the world through its simultaneous participation in two “Knowledge and Innovation Communities” of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology. Each of these research partnerships receives funding in the amount of more than 100 million euros and brings together the best teams from several European universities in the areas of research and industry. This makes TU Berlin one of Germany’s successful universities in the context of this “European Excellence Competition”. The governing bodies of the German partner in the innovation community “Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaption” and “Future Information and Communication Society” are located on the TU Campus Charlottenburg and EUREF-Campus of TU Berlin.
Knowledge and Technology Transfer
Leveraging synergies and promoting knowledge and technology transfer –
a motto stands for successful strategic cooperation with industrial firms. In the affiliated institutes such as the Deutsche Telekom Innovation Laboratories or Daimler Center for Automotive Information Technology Innovations, intelligent university and company research go hand in hand. Furthermore, TU Berlin currently maintains 14 endowed chairs through cooperation with companies such as AG and BASF SE, and with small and medium sized companies (SMEs). At the regional level as well, TU Berlin is strengthening knowledge and technology transfer by consistently supporting spin-off companies, thereby contributing to cooperation beyond disciplinary and institutional boundaries as part of the brand Campus Charlottenburg - the art of ideas.
Excellence Initiative for Top-Level Research
The Excellence Initiative of the German Federal and State Governments promotes outstanding research at German universities. The goal: to be the best in the world. In this highly regarded competition, German universities compete for a total of 1.9 billion euros in external funding. The TU Berlin has been successful in obtaining two simultaneous funding lines, twice in a row:
Excellence Cluster UniCat – Efficient Use of Raw Materials to End Our Dependence on Oil
“Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat) is the only Cluster of Excellence specializing in catalysis research, an area that is of significant economic importance. This interdisciplinary research network brings together more than 250 scientists working in the fields of chemistry, physics, biology and process engineering from four different universities (the Technische Universität Berlin as host university, the Freie Universität Berlin, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Universität Potsdam) and two Max Planck institutes.
The cluster has a unique selling point in international research: through its focused research program, UniCat scientists are paving the way to forging stronger links between chemical and biological catalysis. The group is researching new possibilities for the catalytic activation and subsequent transformation of small molecules that are extremely important for the processes involved in raw material change. The molecules in question are methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen. Clever ca-talytic processes are used to turn these into useful materials for the production of polymers, medicines and chemical energy sources independent of petroleum products. Furthermore, the scientists in the cluster are also researching the production of new antibiotics and diagnostic agents for use in medicine by coupling the biocatalytic processes.
Graduate School Berlin Mathematical School – Original and Innovative
Berlin is also an excellent location to study mathematics. The Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) offers an excellent basis in this regard. It has received support from the Excellence Initiative since 2006 and is the joint graduate school for the mathematics institutes of TU Berlin, Freie Universität Berlin, and Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. It is modeled after the mathematics departments of elite universities in the United States. The English-language degree course lets students advance from a Bachelor’s to a doctoral degree in just four to five years and attracts excellent students from all over the world. The BMS offers outstanding conditions for university studies: scholarships, a pleasant working environment, excellent supervision and mentoring services. Our one-stop office supervises, councils and supports our students in all aspects of daily life: from the application process to visa or child-care issues to soft-skill training opportunities. Currently, around 30 percent of our students are women. Together with BMS professors, including holders of four Leibniz Prizes, one DFG Communicator Prize and one Cantor Medal from the German Mathematical Society, ours students have the tools they need to navigate Berlin’s diverse mathematics landscape.