Cooperative research structure at the University of Stuttgart

SRC, SRI, SPI… these are just some of the different types of joint research projects at the University of Stuttgart. Find out here what the acronyms mean and learn how they differ.

At the University of Stuttgart, we differentiate between two groups of joint research vehicles: on the one hand, those composed of a preponderance of University of Stuttgart institutes (but without precluding cooperation with external partners), and, on the other hand, cooperative arrangements in which external partners function as equals. To these belong in particular research cooperations with industrial firms. Within each group, there are differences based on scope and state of development. We profile them all here.

Intra-universtiy joint research projects


Die Stuttgart Research Initiative (SRI) is the entry-level form of joint project; it is expected to attract funding for sufficient projects and sustain enough cooperations within three years at the latest so that it can transition into one of the larger structures. An SRI is made up of at least two departments or three institutes.

A Stuttgart Research Focus (SRF) is distinguished by having an interdisciplinary research focus as provided for in Section 40 (4) of the State University Law (LHG [de]) . It is comprised of several institutes from at least three departments with an established structure (charter, spokesperson). The budget normally is one million euros per year, the majority of it contributed by external funding sources. Typically, an SRF serves as preparation for setting up a Collaborative Research Center (SFB), a Research Training Center (GRK) or similar large, externally funded project. Participation by external partners is allowed, yet the majority of researchers will be from the University of Stuttgart.

Stuttgart Research Centers (SRCs) are department-spanning, interdisciplinary joint research groups as provided for in the State University Law (LHG [de]), Section 40 (5). 40 (5). Their goal is to coordinate the University’s outstanding research focuses, reinforce them, and gain external visibility for them. The total scope of activities in an SRC is markedly larger than in a typical Collaborative Research Center of the German Research Foundation (DFG). External partners can be integrated. An SRC will be applied for when there is already an existing, successful cooperation between scientists as attested to by publications, projects, and other joint activities. The executive structures as well as assigned tasks of SRC members are documented in a charter that has been approved by the Senate and the University Council.

A Stuttgart Center is a central unit with a structure similar to that of department which takes on research assignments and to which such other duties as provided for in the constitution under LHG [de] Section 15 (8) are transferred. It serves the sustained safeguarding of an Excellence Cluster like the Simulation Technology (SimTech) Excellence Cluster at the University of Stuttgart or a similarly-sized, outstanding cooperative research effort. An SC differs from an SRC by, among others, integrating a degree program and a research training center. An SC is supported by a maximum of 30 Fellows.

Joint research projects with external partners


A Stuttgart Partnership Initiative (SPI) is an entry-level format to a cooperative research project with external partners that corresponds to a Stuttgart Research Initiative [Link zu SRI] At least two departments or three of the University’s institutes participate in an SPI.

In the Stuttgart Research Partnership (SRP) joint research vehicle, the university joins with other universities or extra-uninversity research facilities on specific research themes. In this case, at least two University of Stuttgart departments and a minimum of two external partners participate.

A Stuttgart Technology Partnership (STP) is a joint project between at least two departments and three institutes of the University of Stuttgart and at least one external industrial partner. The project scope is roughly equivalent to that of a Stuttgart Research Focus.

In a Research Campus Stuttgart, the University of Stuttgart, industrial companies and possibly extra-university research facilities such as, for example, the Fraunhofer Society, the German Aerospace Center or the Max Planck Institute or cultural institutions such as museums, archives, etc. work closely together. The focus is on innovative research subjects and the project scope approximates that of a Stuttgart Research Center. Setting up and funding a Research Campus Stuttgart is carried out by the University’s Rectorate upon approval by the Senate and University Council.