Research Focus Areas

The research focus areas at the Faculty of Sciences highlight the wide range of disciplines which are covered in research and teaching at FAU. Just like FAU’s Key Research Priorities, each of the research focus areas at the Faculty of Sciences is also supported by several professors within the departments of the Faculty. The research has a high level of national and international visibility, and research and teaching are closely linked.

Earth’s climate and resources are interdisciplinary research topics with increasing societal and economic relevance. The present focus area investigates:
  1. climate change and its impacts at shallow and deep time scales,
  2. the formation and sustainable exploitation of natural resources,
  3. the implications for society and governance as e.g. climate adaptation and management of disasters, risks, and resources.

The activities integrate comprehensive field surveys, laboratory analyses and complex modelling at different spatial and temporal scales. Altogether, the focus unites an emerging FAU research field based on research groups from the Department of Geography and Geosciences as well as the Department of Chemistry. This focal field is currently in its consolidation phase with links to other faculties and research foci.

Integrated Molecular Life Sciences is a fast growing and progressing field of scientific and biomedical innovation at FAU. It reaches from single molecule analysis to intact cells and organisms to describe and design biological systems. Doing so, it includes research topics such as

  • signal transduction and differentiation
  • immunity and infection
  • membrane biology
  • synthetic biology
  • cellular sensing and transduction
  • cell-material interaction
  • pharmaceutical chemistry and development of novel active compounds.

Rooted in its inter- and multidisciplinarity, Integrated Molecular Life Sciences engages departments all across the Faculties of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering. The interdisciplinary aspect is reflected in two study programs Integrated Life Sciences and Molecular Science. Integrating knowledge and methods from various fields, Integrated Molecular Life Sciences offers a hotspot of competence for scientific and biomedical innovations with profound implications on our future health and prosperity.

This research focus includes the synthesis of new molecules and materials and the exploration of quantum processes in light and matter. On the materials side, this involves the targeted synthesis, fabrication and study of novel materials and devices, with emphasis on novel chemical, electronic and optical functionalities. On the other side, light fields are used to manipulate and sense matter at the limits allowed by quantum mechanics, and matter is used to create tailor-made light and explore associated functionality.

A long history of manifold successful collaborations in this area involving many groups from several departments of the Faculty of Sciences is documented in DFG funded collaborative research centers and research units and the crucial role in the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’. The latter is based on the investigation of materials at the microscopic, i.e., atomic and molecular, level and represents a bridge to the Faculty of Engineering. Obviously, this research focus benefits from a strong interaction with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light.

Modeling, simulation and optimization (MSO) have become indispensable methods in all branches of sciences and also in many fields of Social Science. In the Faculty of Science, all departments contribute to this research focus and mutually interact. Furthermore, there are strong links to other departments within FAU, in particular with the Faculty of Engineering, most prominently in the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’. Moreover, there is strong interaction with the research group high performance computing within the computing center of FAU.

Development, analysis, and application of MSO techniques range from first-principles electronic structure methods in particular density-functional theory, molecular dynamics and Monte-Carlo simulations, through multiscale approaches to continuum methods and complex optimization techniques.

Applications cover diverse problem classes such as biophysical/biomedical and molecular life science, medicine, materials science, optics, processes in the climate system, properties of heterogeneous media and space technology.

This research focus addresses the quantum processes and structures in the interplay of extreme phenomena at smallest and largest scales in the cosmos. It includes topics such as
  • the investigation of highest-energy particle processes in astrophysics
  • dark matter and its detection
  • neutrinos and their role in cosmology
  • quantum gravity and space-time geometry
  • development of new geometric structures
  • symmetry aspects of quantum physics and quantum fields
  • dynamics of many-body problems.

These topics are interrelated by common experimental, theoretical and mathematical methods as well as measurements and observations that are essential for progressing towards a consistent “big picture of the cosmos”.