Collaborative Research Centers and Research Training Groups

Sustainable and interdisciplinary

Collaborative Research Centers (CRC) and CRC/Transregios (CRC-TR) of the German Research Foundation (DFG) are the flagships of the German science landscape. The University of Stuttgart is the lead university for four of these multi-million Euro funded institutes and is a participant in others.

The Porous Media Lab at the University of Stuttgart is a core element for the work of the SFB 1313. As a "Shared Lab" it is also available to national and international guest researchers.

In the Collaborative Research Centers (CRC), sustained by DFG for up to twelve years, researchers collaborate on interdisciplinary, challenging, and costly research projects. CRCs that are permanently located in one university are differentiated from the so-called Transregios (CRC-TR) that are spread over several university locations.

At present, three Collaborative Research Centers and one Transregional Collaborative Research Center are housed at the University of Stuttgart. Besides, the University has projects in two additional CRC and three Transregios. Added to this University Stuttgart is speaker in four DFG Research Training Groups and we have six DFG Priority Programs as well as numerous Research Units.

Localized Collaborative Research Centers (CRC), Spokesperson University of Stuttgart

Spokesperson: Prof. Oliver Sawodny, Institute of System Dynamics

The CRC 1244 "Adaptive envelopes and structures for the constructed environment of tomorrow" deals with the question of how to create more living space with less materials in the face of growing world population and shrinking resources. The use of  adaptive elements in load-bearing structures, envelope systems, and interior works makes it possible to precisely change the structural and building-physical characteristics of materials and construction elements so that they ideally adapt to various kinds of loads. This has many advantages: load-bearing structures can be produced with less material and energy usage. In the field of buliding envelopes the adaptive elements promote energy efficiency and improve the quality of stay inside the buildings - an important prerequisite for an improvement of the user's physical and mental well-being. Besides the static-constructive and building-physically relevant opportunities and effects, the integration of adaptive elements also enlarges the scope of drafting and design in architecture.


To the CRC 1244 project website (german)

Spokesperson: Professor Rainer Helmig, for Water and Environmental Modelling

The Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1313 has set itself the target of developing a fundamental understanding of how the interfaces – for example between two fluids or between the fluid and a solid material – influence flow, transport and deformation in porous media. On the one hand it should be quantified which influencing factors like pore geometry, the heterogeneity and cracks in the porous medium have on the dynamics of the flow processes. On the other hand mathematical and numerical models should be developed with which the impacts of processes that take place on very many small scales can be integrated into flow simulations.

How liquids or gases (fluids) spread in porous media, for example in rocks, and to which deformations this leads plays a role in very many fields of application. Examples of this are the optimisation of fuel cells, the storage of carbon dioxide or methane underground, the prediction of landslides after heavy rain or the transport of medicaments in human tissues.

To the CRC 1313 project website

Spokesperson: Prof. Michael R. Buchmeiser, Institute of Polymer Chemistry

The CRC “Molecular Heterogeneous Catalysis in Confined Geometries” investigates catalytic reactions in the pores of various carrier media. The aim is to develop new heterogeneous metal-organic catalyst systems with higher selectivity, and thus contribute to more efficient use of raw materials, among other goals.

The aim of the second funding period is to quantify the effects of the confined geometric cavities and to exploit them specifically to optimize selected catalytic reactions. In this process, for example, the substrate molecules are specifically aligned by the defined cavity and already associated with the catalyst before the actual reaction. In addition, in the second funding period, special attention will be paid to the changed structure of the solvent in the pore and the previously static substrates will now be exploited as moving or electro- or photo-active parts in the catalytic process.

To the CRC 1333 project website

Transregio Collaborative Research Centers

To make the quality and practicality of image information measurable, findings from eye tracking research are utilized.
To make the quality and practicality of image information measurable, findings from eye tracking research are utilized.

Spokesperson: Prof. Daniel Weiskopf, Visualization Research Center

CRC-TR 161 aims to facilitate the handling of ever growing amounts of information. Among other things, the researchers are investigating the quality and applicability of computer-based methods for visualizing data in order to customize them. The collaborative project is sponsored by the universities of Stuttgart and Konstanz. The Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich and the University of Ulm are also involved. SFB-TRR 161 is entering its third funding period and has a volume of EUR 8 million over four years.

In the third funding period, CRC-TR 161 aims to further improve the methods and approaches developed so far and to integrate them into various applications. Building on the findings from the first two funding periods and current developments, the scientists would also like to devote more attention to new research questions. “In the last four years, for example, immersion has had a big influence on our research. We would therefore like to further expand the area and make mixed reality applications a focus in the third funding period,” says vice speaker Prof. Falk Schreiber from the University of Konstanz. “We will also be looking more closely at how well users understand the phenomena when presented visually.” 

Transregio Collaborative Research Centers of other universities with participation of the University of Stuttgart

Spokesperson: Prof. Gunter Malle, TU Kaiserslautern

Sub-projects of the University of Stuttgart: Prof. Meinolf Geck, Institut für Algebra und Zahlentheorie

A decisive feature of current developments is that more and more of the abstract concepts of pure mathematics are made constructive, with interdisciplinary methods playing a significant role. The TRR 195 aims at taking a leading role in driving these developments: In the five core areas listed below, it will provide the computational open source infrastructure for years to come; it will create vast amounts of data important to the mathematical community; and it will exploit the infrastructure and data to solve fundamental mathematical problems.

To the project website

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Dieter Braun, LMU Munich

Sub-projects of the University of Stuttgart: Prof. Clemens Richert, Institute of Organic Chemistry (IOC)

The goal of the CRC/Transregio “Emergence of Life: Exploring Mechanisms with Cross-Disciplinary Experiments” is to test, in the laboratory, various hypotheses about the emergence of life. This will be made possible through close collaboration between researchers from the fields of astronomy, biology, chemistry, the geosciences and physics.

Project Website

Spokesperson: Prof. Sabine Christine Langer, TU Braunschweig

Co-spokesperson: Prof. Stephan Staudacher, University of Stuttgart, Institute of Aircraft Propulsion Systems (ILA)

In order to set the course for climate-neutral air traffic, not only the engines but also the aircraft themselves and their components must be optimized. A high degree of integrated functions and components can reduce weight, size, and energy consumption while increasing performance and efficiency. But just how big are these effects? What potential can be realized? And what are the synergy effects of highly integrated transport aircraft? Researchers in the collaborative research center/transregional project “Synergies of Highly Integrated Transport Aircraft” (SynTrac) are looking into these very questions. 

Press Release

Spokesperson: Prof. Marlis Hochbruck, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Institute of Applied and Numeric Mathematics

Sub-projects of the University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Guido Schneider, Institute of Analysis, Dynamics and Modelling

The goals of this Collaborative Research Center include analytically understanding wave propagation under realistic conditions, modeling them numerically and also ultimately controlling them. The fundamental methodological approach is one of integrated mathematical analysis and numerics. The focus of Prof. Schneider’s contribution to this work is approximation using amplitude equations. It finds application in waterwaves or non-linear optics and is used in cases when direct numerical simulation is not feasible due to the multiscale character of the problems under consideration.

Spokesperson: Prof. Peter Grathwohl, University of Tübingen

Sub-projects of the University of Stuttgart: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Nowak, Institut of Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems, Stochastic Simulation and Security Research for Hydro Systems

The CRC "CAMPOS – Cycle of matter in drainage areas: Metabolization of pollutants on the landscape scale“ examines the transport and turnover of pollutants in the spacious and long-term process chains that are predominant in nature. By using innovative monitoring systems as well as numerical landscape models the CRC wants to create a basis for more reliable predictions of future soil and water quality under the conditions of climate and land-use change. A special focus is laid on landscape elements such as rivers, subsections in the spring area of rivers, valley floors, fractured aquifiers and soil. The University of Stuttgart's contributions are in the areas of planning experiments and the assessment of uncertainties that are inevitable when modelling and simulating this kind of complex and not fully understood processes concerning pollutant transport.

To the project website

Providing opportunities for young scientists: Research training groups

The focus of the Research Training Groups funded by the German Research Foundation is the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a topically focused research program and a structured training concept. Research Training Groups with an interdisciplinary approach are most desired. The aim is to prepare doctoral researchers intensively for the complex “science” job market and at the same time foster their early scientific independence.

Research Training Groups (GRK)

Technologies for droplet interactions (DROPIT)
Spokesperson: Prof. Bernhard Weigand, Institute for Aerospace Thermodynamics

Whether it concerns the spray cooling of food, the process of evaporation or combustion processes in engines: how droplets interact among each other and with surroundings plays a central role in many industrial uses. The technological progress in this field requires the development of adequate calculation approaches. Yet this is only possible if you analyze the hardly recognizable detail processes at the phase boundary as well as the micro structure of surfaces. This is the goal of the German-Italian graduate college at the University of Stuttgart which receives funding from the German Research Foundation DFG already in the second period.

„Soft Tissue Robotics" - Simulation methods for the development of control and automatization strategies for robots when interacting with soft tissues

Spokesperson: Prof. Oliver Röhrle, Professor for „Continuum Bio Mechanics and Mechano Biology“ in the Exzellence Cluster Simulation Technology and Institute for Modelling and Simulation of Biomechanical Systems

Whether you look at exoskeletons, fully automatic apple pickers or picking up parts in butchery: numerous challenging problems occur when ‘stiff’ robots have to deal with soft tissues. Finding solutions is the task of the new international graduate college (IKG) “Soft Tissue Robotics - Simulation methods for the development of control and automatization strategies for robots when interacting with soft tissues” at the University of Stuttgart. The IKG has the University of Auckland, New Zealand as a partner.

To improve basic knowledge the research concentrates its main focus on simulation technologies, automatization and control as well as the combination of technological and biological concepts. First of all, simulation techniques and sensors are to be further developed to enable an estimation of the deformation of materials after certain interactions. The second goal is the development of regulation and control technologies for robots interacting with soft tissues.

Intraoperative Multisensory Tissue Differentiation in Oncology
Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Oliver Sawodny, Institute for System Dynamics

The GRK of the University of Stuttgart and the University of Tübingen will perform research in the field of medical technology to develop innovative sensor systems. These will enable cancer surgeons to differentiate at high resolution between malignant and healthy tissue during surgery, enabling them to better determine if tissue needs to be removed or preserved. In the long term, the aim of the GRK is to employ real-time data to improve patient safety and to shorten lengthy operations. Researchers from the University of Stuttgart will focus on sensor development and improvement, tissue modeling and classification of the data collected.

Towards Graduate Experts in Photonic Quantum Technologies

Spokesperson: Prof. Michael Saliba, Institute for Photovoltaics (ipv)

Quantum physics has led to a variety of possible applications in the fields of quantum sensing, quantum computing, quantum cryptography, and quantum measurement technology – enabling highly efficient computers, tap-proof data transmission, and better diagnosis of diseases.

For all these applications, proof-of-principle implementations have been demonstrated. However, only a few applications have been developed into commercially available products. The goal of the new Research Training Group is exactly on fostering this transition.

Project Website

Spokesperson: Prof. Pol Besenius, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

Participation at the University of Stuttgart: Prof. Thomas Speck, Institute for Theoretical Physics IV

Project Website

Spokesperson: Prof. Zaumseil, University of Heidelberg, Institute for Physical Chemistry

Co-Speaker: Prof. Sabine Ludwigs, University of Stuttgart, Institute of Polymer Chemistry

Press Release

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und zwei Wissenschaftler im Gespräch.
Supporting and fostering young scientists is of the utmost importance.

High-quality teams: DFG research units

A DFG research unit is a close-knit team of several outstanding scientists from a university who cooperate with researchers at other institutes on medium-term – generally up to six years – research projects that, in terms of thematic focus, duration and funding extend considerably beyond regular individual grant programs. Research units frequently contribute to establishing new research directions.

"Unsteady flow and interaction phenomena at high speed stall conditions" (Research Group 2895)

Aircraft should become more energy efficient and at the same time fly stable and quietly. To achieve this, it is necessary to gain a better understanding and prognosis of the flow-physics up to the borders of the flight envelope. This is precisely the aim of a new group of the German Research Foundation (DFG) entitled "Unsteady flow and interaction phenomena at high speed stall conditions". The speaker is Dr Thorsten Lutz from the Institute of Aerodynamics and Gas Dynamics at the University of Stuttgart. The Technical Universities of Munich and Braunschweig, the RWTH Aachen University and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are also involved in the research group.

Press release to research group 2895





Integral Planning in Public Transport

Lead University:
University of Göttingen

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Markus Friedrich
Institute of Road and Transportation Science


From few to many-body physics with dipolar quantum gases

Lead University:
University of Hannover

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Tilman Pfau, Institute of Physics 5
Prof. Hans Peter Büchler, Institute of Theoretical Physics III


Multi-scale Analysis of Complex Three-phase Systems

Lead University:
TU Clausthal-Zellerfeld

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Ulrich Nieken, Institute of Chemical Process Engineering


Space-Time Dynamics of Extreme Floods (SPATE)

Lead University:
Ruhr-Universität Bochum

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. András Bárdossy, Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems


Emerging grammars in language contact situations: A comparative approach

Lead University:
Humboldt University, Berlin

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Sabine Zerbian, Institute of Linguistics


Understanding the global freshwater system by combining geodetic and remote sensing information with modelling using a calibration/data assimilation approach (GlobalCDA)

Lead University:
University of Bonn

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Nico Sneeuw, Institute of Geodesy


 Thermal machines in the quantum world

Lead University:
FU Berlin

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Jörg Wrachtrup, Institute of Physics 3
Prof. Eric Lutz, Institute of Theoretical Physics I


Adaptive Polymer Gels with Controlled Network Structure

Lead University:
University of Mainz

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Christian Holm, Institute for Computational Physics (ICP)


Metrology for THz Communication

Lead University:
TU Braunschweig

Participants University of Stuttgart:


Quantifying Liver Perfusion-Function Relationship in Complex Resection - A Systems Medicine Approach (QuaLiPerF)

Lead University:
University Hospital Jena

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Nicole Radde, Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control (IST)
Prof. Tim Ricken, Institute of Mechanics, Structural Analysis and Dynamics of Aerospace Structures


Structuring the input in language processing, acquisition and change (SILPAC)

Lead University:
University of Mannheim

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Achim Stein, Dr. Thomas Rainsford, Institute of Linguistics, Romanistic


Financial Markets and Frictions - An Intermediary Asset Pricing Approach

Lead University:

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Prof. Phillip Schuster, Institute of Business Administration


Structure-Preserving Numerical Methods for Bulk- and Interface-Coupling of Heterogeneous Models

Lead University:
RWTH Aachen

Participants University of Stuttgart:
Michael Schlottke-Lakemper, HLRS


As of July 2022

DFG priority programs

A DFG priority program (SPP) is a research program arranged for six years for supra-regionally bundling of scientific cooperations. It is designed for the advancement of important new scientific topics through coordinated funding distributed over multiple locations. Currently active at the University of Stuttgart are five DFG priority programs:

Violacein, a subject in SPP Internzell.

SPP 1897: Calm, Smooth and Smart - Novel Approaches for Influencing Vibrations by Means of Deliberately Introduced Dissipation
Coordinator: Prof. Peter Eberhard, Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics (ITM)

SPP 1929: Giant Interactions in Rydberg Systems (GiRyd)
Coordinator: Professor Dr. Tilman Pfau, Physics 5

SPP 2170: Novel Production Processes and Multi-Scale Analysis, Modelling and Design of Cell-Cell and Cell-Bioreactor Interactions (InterZell)
Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Ralf Takors, Institute of Biochemical Engineering

SPP 2253: Nano Security. From Nano-Electronics to Secure Systems“
Coordinator: Prof. Ilia Polian, Prof. Ilia Polian, Institute of Computer Architecture and Computer Engineering

SPP Robust coupling of continuum biomechanical in-silico models for active biological systems as a preliminary stage of clinical applications – co-design of modelling, numerics and usability
Coordinator: Prof. Oliver Röhrle, Institute for Modelling and Simulation of Biomechanical Systems

SPP 2353:  Daring More Intelligence - Design Assistants in Mechanics and Dynamics (Starting 2022)
Coordinator: Prof. Peter Eberhard, Institute of Engineering and Computational Mechanics (ITM)


This image shows Birgit Harrer

Birgit Harrer


Head of Department / Deputy head of division / Coordination of applications for DFG Collaborative Research Centers and Transregios

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