In relevant and focussed areas covering the humanities and social sciences along with the natural and engineering sciences, Bielefeld University is one of the top research universities in Germany. ‘Transcending Boundaries’ is how it describes its successful approach to strengthening innovative, top-ranking research by taking multiple perspectives and transcending the boundaries between disciplines and between academic cultures in a problem-focussed way.
Five main research fields are committed to research and the promotion of young academics on a top international level within the framework of first-class interdisciplinary collaborative research projects, central academic institutes, and systematic individual funding. The university’s strong research performance is underlined in a host of ways by, for example, the Excellence Initiative (Cluster, Graduate School), Collaborative Research Centres (SFB), DFG Research Units, ERC grants, Heisenberg Professorships, and participation in the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education's ‘It’s owl’ technology network..
Ever since its foundation, Bielefeld University has hosted one of the most renowned and successful institutes for advanced study in the world – the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF). The ZiF’s mission is to promote exclusively cooperative research projects. More than one-half of the academics at the ZiF come from outside of Germany.
Bielefeld University’s research strengths are reflected regularly in rankings such as the German Research Foundation’s (DFG) Funding Atlas, the Centre for Higher Education’s CHE Research Ranking, or the Humboldt Rankings of popularity among international visiting academics. In the renowned Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2014), Bielefeld University is Number 51 among the top 100 universities under 50 years old in the world, making it Number 4 in Germany.