Dieses Bild zeigt Mit Laser erzeugte Mikrobohrungen in einer Düse.

The University of Stuttgart research program

Highlights and priorities

The special research profile of the University of Stuttgart is characterized by interdisciplinary cooperation between engineering and natural sciences with humanities, social sciences, and economics.

With its Vision “Intelligent systems for a sustainable society” and its distinctive “Stuttgart Way" , the University of Stuttgart is one of Germany’s most successful research universities and a member of the elite TU9 - German Institutes of Technology Association. Its status as outstanding research university and the broad spectrum of subjects studied today positions it as an internationally recognized and future-oriented place for science and research.

Research highlights

Standouts in the University of Stuttgart research program are the simulation sciences, the production technologies, the quantum technologies, digital humanities and the field of architecture and adaptive building. Sustaining them are projects under the Excellence Initiative framework, assorted German Research Foundation-funded Collaborative Research Centers and Transregio Collaborative Research Centers and more large-scale projects funded by other research funders like the Federal Ministry of Education and Research or the European Union.

Visualisierungen spielen im Exzellenzcluster Simulation Technology (SimTech) eine wichtige Rolle.  (c) SimTech/David Ausserhofer
Visualizations play a key role in the Cluster of Excellence Simulation Technology (SimTech).

Around the year 2000, the University of Stuttgart was the first German university to research simulation technologies in their total interdisciplinary breadth and to attain international prominence as a result. To date, the University has lost none of this renown. On the contrary: The Simulation Technology Excellence Cluster (SimTech) is already being funded in the second phase of the Excellence Initiative funded by the Federal Government and German states. It will continue to play a key role when it comes to tendering for the future excellence strategy for supporting university-level cutting edge research.

SimTech lets more than 200 researchers bundle simulation models and methods previously developed in isolation into a coherent system science. The goal is to make computer simulations more powerful, forecasts more reliable, and visualizations even more precise. Using this singular approach, our engineers, mathematicians, information scientists, natural scientists, as well as scholars in the humanities and social sciences, collaborate in breaking new ground in research on modeling complex problems and computer simulation.

The research project “Data-Integrated Simulation Science” addresses new ways of storing and analyzing very large masses of data – keyword Big Data.  Cooperating with the University of Stuttgart in this regional research alliance is the University of Heidelberg.

Collaborative Research Area 716 focuses on the dynamic simulation of systems with high particle counts. The researchers model the behavior of atoms and molecules on the computer in the search for answers to current scientific questions.

In Stuttgart, a number of institutes in the fields of construction, production, and automotive technologies and other partners pool their experience and knowledge in practically all areas of manufacturing technologies. They generate important synergistic effects not only for basic research and teaching, but also and especially for industrial applications in the areas of mechanical engineering, plant engineering and construction, infrastructure, materials science, process engineering, automobile manufacturing, optics, and medical technology.

The Research Campus ARENA2036 (Active Research Environment for the Next Generation) bundles regional competencies in lightweight construction and innovative production technologies.  In a 10,000 m2 high-tech center on the University of Stuttgart campus, science and industry join to develop automotive manufacturing techniques and the car of the future.

The Graduate School of Excellence advanced Manufacturing Engineering (GSaME) trains young research talent in a framework of a specially developed interdisciplinary doctoral studies program oriented toward future professional and management tasks in a university or industrial setting. . Through their research, the PhD candidates here contribute to developing the scientific bases for manufacturing design, achieve mastery over industrial production in an era of globalization and digitization, and design the factories of the future.

Opto-Elektronischer Messplatz für die Erforschung angewandter Quantentechnologien. (c)
Optoelectronic measurement station for exploring applied quantum technologies.

Everything is different in the world of quantum mechanics, because in the realm of a few nanometers traditional ideas about matter often no longer apply. The University of Stuttgart is one of the German universities on the cutting edge of making this world more accessible – from basic research to the exploitation of technological applications.

So, for example, researchers at the Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology IQST are working on fusing gases, crystals and supra liquids. Just recently, researchers in the unique research alliance composed fo the universities of Stuttgart and Ulm and the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research succeeded in creating a supra liquid from dysprosium atoms. Their so-called “quantum ferrofluid” is not only a suprafluid, but, similar to the classic ferrofluid, it also exhibits astounding magnetic properties. For example, it can form droplets that are millions of times lighter than helium or water droplets. This new type of matter potentially marks the first step toward a supracrystal, a spatially-arranged material with suprafluidic properties.  

Another research team in  ZAQuant, the interdisciplinary Center for Applied Quantum Technology aims to advance the development of novel nanophotonic quantum sensors and exploit this technology. . The sensors are designed to use the latest principles of quantum physics and nanophotonics and blend them. The ZAQuant research approach is an international first and is pursued in a specially-constructed research building

Building on the  IQST, the Alliance for Quantum Innovation between the University of Stuttgart and the University of Ulm has set its sight on meeting the challenges of the second  quantum revolution and smoothing the way for technological applications. To this end, discoveries in biology and medicine made in Ulm are to be turned into prototypes in the ZAQuant Center for Applied Quantum Technologies. Networking these broad research fields aims to create new possibilities in sensor technology, metrology, and materials research.   

The Transregio Collaborative Research Center “Controlled quantum correlations in tailored matter” CO.CO.MAT explores phenomena of quantum physics, combines atomic and solid state physics in new applications and investigate novel quantum states of matter. In doing so, the researchers are moving into the region where physics and biology border on each other.

Digital Humanities venture a new look at the contents of the humanities and expand their reach using information technology – for example, in linguistics. Here, the Collaborative Research Area SFB 732 "Incremental Specification in Context" deals with the double meaning and ambiguity of language and does so with close cooperation between theoretical linguistics and computational linguistics.

In the Center for Reflected Text Analysis (CRETA) research is under way on technical methods and tools for text analysis in the digital humanities research area. The methods are to be worked out and applied in interdisciplinary fashion to text analytical questions from literature, linguistics, history, and social science as well as philosophy.

The Stuttgart Research Center SRC Text Studies [de] carries out interdisciplinarily networked research in the areas of textual science with focus on hermeneutics, material studies (in cooperation with the German Literature Archive in Marbach) and digital humanities (jointly with the Institute for Natural Language Processing at the University of Stuttgart). The Center has, among others, initiated the “ePoetics“ project that involves assembling a digital text corpus of twenty selected German poetry texts and developing interactive analytical and visualization tools for it.

Last but not least, the Stuttgart Research Focus SRF Language and Cognition is dedicated to interdisciplinary research in the areas of linguistics and cognition. It centers on a collaboration between theoretical linguistics (Institute of Linguistics) and computational linguistics (Institute of Natural Language Processing) that is unique in the German language space.

Großdemonstrator eines adaptiven Tragwerks in Form einer Holzschale: Die Stuttgart SmartShell. (c) Bosch Rexroth
Large-scale demo of an adaptive structure in the form of a wooden bowl: the Stuttgart SmartShell.

Current advances in computer based modeling, simulation, and manufacturing offer new possibilities to architecture. Research involving those possibilities forms the basis of the University of Stuttgart's research tradition in the fields of architecture and urban planning. The most modern forms of digital methods and processes are thereby applied interdisciplinarily.

This enables an analysis of principles from nature, transferring them into an engineering science model and applying them to structural design and other technical domains. The Transregio Collaborative Research Center "Biological Design and Integrative Structures“ has as its goal multifunctional, adaptable, and at the same time ecologically efficient structures that break through the limitations of conventional structural design. In this regard, the researchers at the universities of Stuttgart, Freiburg, and Tuebingen, besides improving the capabilities of engineered structures, also have the ecological properties of natural structures on their radar.

Other research efforts in the area of adaptive shells and structures aim to modify geometries as well as the properties of materials and components in such a way that will make materials and energy savings possible in magnitudes that heretofore were not attainable. The new CRC "Adaptive envelopes and structures for the constructed environment of tomorrow" focuses on enlarging those research efforts mentioned above.

Schematische Darstellung der Forschungsschwerpunkte der Universität Stuttgart. (c)
Diagram depicting the University of Stuttgart's research priorities.

Research priorities

A total of eight interdisciplinary research priorities derives from the University of Stuttgart ‘s core competencies in basic and applied areas.

Of the eight research priorities, three are dedicated primarily to basic research into methodological, material, process engineering and systems engineering questions.

  • Modeling and simulation technologies
  • New materials
  • Complex systems and communication

The research efforts in these overarching, interdisciplinary subjects correlate with the special priorities:

  • Sustainable energy supplies and environment
  • Integrated product- and productiondesign
  • Design and technology of lasting living spaces
  • Mobility

To this is added the priority

  • Technology concepts, contexts, and benchmarks

In the latter, in close cooperation between of all the University‘s discipline cultures we will research the cultural and social framework conditions for the development and use of technology and its effects on culture and society.


The interplay between these priorities is backstopped by the vision of comprehensively exploring the product engineering process and product life cycle. To this also belong the technical implementation as well as evaluation of the sustainability of technological innovations.


Dieses Bild zeigt Ertl
Prof. Dr.

Thomas Ertl

Vice Rector for Research and Advanced Graduate Education