FAU Key Research Priorities

FAU Key Research PrioritiesFAU is a leading university in many research fields at both a national and international level. The eight FAU Key Research Priorities are based on these research fields and play a key role in shaping the University’s research profile. Each of the eight FAU Key Research Priorities is based on the contributions of outstanding FAU researchers who have been instrumental in the dynamic development of their respective research fields. – Researchers at the Faculty of Sciences participate in seven of the FAU Key Research Priorities.

The interplay of cultural values, religions, and human rights offers numerous possibilities for interdisciplinary research. Projects may inter alia aim at conceptual clarification, historical, cultural, and phenomenological analysis, critical normative reflection and recognition of cultural specificity, exploration of the modes of institutionalizing values at different levels (global, regional, national, local) as well as at empirical research on normative attitudes and their impact on individuals, groups, and states. Many projects can best be tackled in cooperation. In intercultural perspective, we address questions of cultural mobility, discursive shifts, and global negotiations of the meaning of religious, cultural, social, and political patterns and practices.

Culture is understood as a comprehensive and complex system of meaning production, memorialization and appropriation processes, and as a field of action (e.g. problem of violence) in the context of global conflicts regarding normative values. Thus, both culture and religion figure in the plural. In this research field, we will examine this plurality concomitant with a due reflection of the definitory fuzziness of conventional terms such as “multiculturalism”, “interculturality”, “transculturality”, “interreligiosity”, “melange”, “syncretism”, “creolization”, etc. and the manifold controversies in which they figure.

The title demarcates an area characterized by various tensions, which can be productively engaged, but which also, time and again, have caused misunderstandings, conflicts, and even cultural wars. Owing to their universalistic claims of validity, human rights differ conceptually from conventional cultural values. This has resulted in tensions, for instance, concerning the understanding of gender relations. For all the differences, however, human rights at the same time presuppose a positive backing through cultural values in order to take roots in people’s lifeworld. Moreover, human rights inter alia facilitate fair and peaceful coexistence of people of different religious orientation. This requires a conceptual and institutional differentiation between human rights and religion that is often addressed under the heading of “secularism”.

At the same time, the right to freedom of religion or belief, as part of the broader human rights framework, indicates that secularism does not necessarily oppose religion. Indeed, the frequently assumed general bifurcation of religion and secularism does not adequately capture the manifold configurations that exist between these two concepts and phenomena. Similarly, the relationship between religion and culture, too, harbors many tensions and conflicts. For instance, theological reformers have often criticized the amalgamation of religion and culture as obfuscating the theological core messages of their faith. At the same time, people may also critically expose religious authoritarianism in the name of autonomous cultural values.



Prof. Dr. Alexander Martin

  • Organization: Department of Mathematics
  • Working group: Chair of Applied Mathematics (Mixed-Integer Linear and Nonlinear Optimization)
  • Phone number: +49 9131 85-67163
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Prof. Dr. Dirk M. Guldi

  • Job title: Vice Dean for Research
  • Phone number: +49 9131 85 - 27340
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Prof. Dr. Ben Fabry

  • Organization: Institute of Condensed Matter Physics
  • Working group: Lehrstuhl für Biophysik (Prof. Dr. Fabry)
  • Phone number: +49 9131 85-25610
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Prof. Dr. Falk Nimmerjahn

  • Organization: Department Biologie
  • Working group: Chair of Genetics (Prof. Nimmerjahn)
  • Phone number: +49 9131 85-25050
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Prof. Dr. Andreas Hirsch

  • Organization: Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy
  • Working group: Chair of Organic Chemistry II (Prof. Dr. Hirsch)
  • Phone number: +49 9131 85-65581
  • Email:


Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff