Diverse and future-oriented research

Here we review a selection of outstanding individual research projects dealing with a wide range of subjects.

Beyond Excellence Initiative, Collaborative Research Centers or EU projects, University of Stuttgart researchers are engaged in another dimension of research undertakings. These are often embedded in Federal or international research initiatives and consortiums that aim to find solutions to basic questions trending in our society.  Here are just few of these interesting projects and activities. 

Strommasten und Windräder.  (c) Fotolia
Implementing the energy revolution is studied in diverse ways at the University of Stuttgart.

Copernicus: The largest initiative of the energy revolution

In launching the Copernicus Projects, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) started the to-date largest research initiative of the energy revolution. The goal is to develop new energy systems to the point where they can supply energy to all areas of Germany in a secure and stable manner, with due regard at the same time for economic and societal aspects. The University of Stuttgart and the STRise research association play a leading role in as many as two of the four successful project consortiums.

Copnernicus projects of the University of Stuttgart


In the “Industrial Processes” subject area, the contract was awarded to the SynErgie project led by Prof. Eberhard Abele (Technical University Darmstadt) and Prof. Alexander Sauer (University of Stuttgart). SynErgie is designed to create the technical and market-side conditions necessary for synchronizing the energy requirements of German industry with the fluctuating energy supply. By doing so, the project will contribute to the cost-effective implementation of the energy transformation and the integration of renewable energies. It is intended to position Germany as a leading supplier internationally of energy-flexible industrial processes and technologies.

The ENavi consortium for the “System Integration” topic area is represented by Prof. Ortwin Renn (Center for Interdisciplinary Risk and Innovation Research at the University of Stuttgart and Potsdam Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies) as speaker and by Prof. Kai Hufendierk (University of Stuttgart) on behalf of the STRise research association. The project examines the energy revolution as a process involving all of society, with the objective being to make it socially, ecologically, and economically sustainable. At the core of the research plan is development of a navigation instrument that will provide advance notice of the effects and side effects that economic or political measures will produce. 

Regional research alliances

With the “Regional Research Alliances” invitation to tender, the Baden-Wuerttemberg state government seeks to support key aspects of top-flight research in the state by exploiting the potential for regional cooperations. The University of Stuttgart will shortly enter into alliances with three universities (Heidelberg, Tuebingen, and Ulm) and as such was the most successful university overall in this tender. 


University of Stuttgart research alliances


New ways of storing and analyzing huge masses of data – connoted by the concepts of Big Data and Data Science – are the focus of the DISS research undertaking that the University of Stuttgart is conducting with the University of Heidelberg..  It fits exceptionally well into the strategically important simulation technologies research topic at the University of Stuttgart. The project speaker is Prof. Rainer Helmig (Institute for Modeling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems) and representing Heidelberg is Prof. Peter Bastian of the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing.

The Alliance’s goal is to integrate aspects and methods of data science to deeply in simulation technology so that completely new areas of applications are opened up and simulation methods can be advanced systematically. The vision behind this is to go beyond simulation technology as individual approaches and move to a comprehensive systems science that also permits directly integrating data on all levels.

By more closely integrating data and sensors, the researchers want to take simulation out of the virtual world into the real world and into direct interactions with it, if possible even in real time. Big challenges remain ahead, such as determining the relevant systems magnitudes (possibly materials properties) including estimating their uncertainties, the embedding of simulated processes and systems in their non-simulated surroundings, the comparison between simulation and observed reality, and, finally, the actual formulation of the generally multiscale processes on the scale of a current interest.

Digital models help to understand the highly complex 'human system'.
Digital models help to understand the highly complex 'human system'.

The human being is a very complex biological system that features a set of individual subunits that are finely tuned to each other in intelligent interaction. This dynamic interplay is known as being energy efficient, robust in resisting disorders and integrated to a high degree. The vision driving the researchers working on this “Human System” project is gaining a deepgoing understanding of the human system by using systems theoretical modelling. Working together toward this end are the Unversities of Stuttgart and Tuebingen, with participation by the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics and Intelligent Systems  and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation. The speakers are Prof. Wolfgang Rosenstiel (Tuebingen) and Prof. Frank Allgöwer, who is with the University of Stuttgart’s Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control (IST).

The systems theoretical model is intended for use in designing technical systems as well as approaches to new medical therapies. The development of models for the thuman system that take into account the neuronal and generally the biological foundations of human life aims, on the one hand, to facilitate successful human-machine interactions and, on the other hand, to fundamentally improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease-caused disorders particularly of the nervous system. 

Digital human models have been a research topic from the start of the Simulation Technology Excellence Cluster and are an important element of the focus on simulation technologies at the University of Stuttgart.

This alliance between the University of Stuttgart and the University of Ulm has as its goal addressing the challenges posed by the second quantum revolution and smoothing the way for turning numerous quantum technology concepts into technical applications. The researchers consider it to be especially important to translate the new quantum technologies into products that are of use to society. Hence, insights gained at the Ulm Center for Quantum Biology (ZQB) into biology and medicine are to be implemented as prototypes in the Center for Applied Quantum Technologies. Networking the broad research areas targets new possibilities in sensor technology, metrology, and materials research.

The Alliance builds on the existing Center for Integrated Quantum Science and Technology (IQST) and so highlights once again the importance placed on quantum technologies at the University of Stuttgart. In addition, non-university institutions like the Ulm Helmholtz Institute are to be brought in. Also participating are businesses such as Bosch GmbH, Bruker GmbH and Carl Zeiss GmbH. The project speaker is  Prof. Fedor Jelezko (Ulm), his deputy is Prof. Jörg Wrachtrup,  Institute of Physics (3) at the University of Stuttgart.

As part of the research alliance, a joint graduate school is set up that, in cooperation with Hebrew University Jerusalem,the University of British Columbia and the University of Tokyo as additional partners, will be positioned internationally.

Reality labs

Reality labs are a program launched by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg that has researchers enter into real-world change processes as their experimental field. For example, in Reality labs they give advice and support to urban renewal or the introduction of new mobility and energy systems. In so doing, they involve practitioners from communes, social and environmental organizations or businesses and ordinary citizens in the research process. In an open-ended process knowledge is created that is intended to make a practical impact. The University of Stuttgart was successful in winning two Reality labs during the tender.

Baden-Wuerttemberg's Minister of Science Teresia Bauer opening the Reality lab: City:districts 4.0
Baden-Wuerttemberg's Minister of Science Teresia Bauer opening the Reality lab: City:districts 4.0

University of Stuttgart reality labs


The full title of this reality lab is Reality Lab City:districts 4.0 - Early formative citizen participation for sustainable development of Baden-Wuerttemberg [de].  It employs digital processes and simulations in order to include ordinary citizens in urban development. The research focuses on participative and digital planning processes that are then showcased in developing the Stuttgart and Herrenberg municipalities.


The Future City_Lab Stuttgart: Reality lab for a sustainable mobility culture [de] puts the mobility culture and hence the human motivation, thinking, potentials and ideas for moving through space under the microscope. A multiplicity of research and participative formats are designed to encourage people to reflect on their own mobility behavior and to exchange ideas about trying out new forms of mobility, both individually and collectively.


Wissenschaftlerin bei der Untersuchung von Tabakpflanzen.
Tobacco mosaic viruses are the subject of research in the NanoBioMater Project.

Project facility NanoBioMater

In the inter-departmental Project facility NanoBioMater [de] biological and synthetic building blocks are used to develop functional materials for medical technology, diagnostics, and environmental analysis. Researchers from the natural sciences, materials science, and engineering sciences work on interdisciplinary projects dealing with all kinds of intelligent, biocompatible materials. The ultimate goal is to produce novel, nanostructured biogenetic-synthetic formulations for cell culture and tissue replacement as well as miniaturized environmental, foodstuffs, and medical diagnostic systems.




Dieses Bild zeigt Harrer

Birgit Harrer

Head of National Research Funding