Despite its short history, Bielefeld University has become a renowned centre of research. One of many indicators for this is the level of funding granted by the German Research Association (DFG) for collaborative research centers and research groups. In addition the university is currently (July, 2010) hosting 6 Research Training Groups and 10 Graduate Schools.
The national competition for "Excellence Initiatives" is designed to promote top-level
university research in Germany and particularly to encourage future-oriented research projects. In October 2007, Bielefeld University
successfully passed the second selection round, and will receive support for two funding lines in the years to come:
Centre of Excellence "Cognitive Interaction Technology"
Graduate School "Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology"
Bielefeld University has built up the following interdisciplinary research specializations that will continue to receive major support in the future.
Interactive Intelligent Systems
Particle Physics and Cosmology
Applied Mathematics in Science
Historical Political Science and Globalization/World Society
Education and Capability Research
Research on Conflict and Violence
Europeanization of Law
The Center of Biotechnology (CeBiTec)" conducts interdisciplinary research in the life sciences and encourages and supports the development of innovative interdisciplinary projects. Scientists in the Faculties of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Technology are cooperating on various projects funded by the DFG, the BMBF, the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, and the EU. The following research groups also belong to this profile: Collaborative Research Center SFB 613: "Physics of single-molecule processes and of molecular recognition in organic systems" (Cooperation between physics, chemistry, and biology) and the Research Training Group GK 635: "Bioinformatics".
A "Bielefeld Institute for Interactive Intelligent Systems" (BIS) has been set up to coordinate, focus, and promote interdisciplinary research in these fields. Disciplines include neuroscience, informatics, linguistics, cognitive science, behavioral research, as well as psychology and sports science.
July 1, 2006 saw the start of a new collaborative research center SFB 673: "Alignment in Communication" (cooperation between informatics and linguistics).
Bielefeld University is participating actively in several international
research and training networks, and it plans to expand and further strengthen
- International Research Training Group GK 881 (Bielefeld-Paris): "Quantum fields and strongly interacting matter"
- apeNEXT Collaboration : Since 2006, Bielefeld University is running a Teraflops computer (apeNEXT) for the numerical simulation of hot and dense matter
A central unit here is the Collaborative Research Center SFB 701: "Spectral Structures and Topological Methods in Mathematics" set up in 2005. The same year saw the foundation of the international Research Training Group GK 1132: "Stochastics and Real World Models" in cooperation with the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Peking, and also the international Research Training Group GK 1134: "Economic Behavior and Interaction Models" hosted by the Institute for Mathematical Economics and the Faculty of Economics and Business Studies at Bielefeld University in cooperation with the University of Paris I (Panthèon Sorbonne).
Since 2001, historians working together with political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, and literary scientists have been studying the historical variations in the borders drawn between what is and what is not political in the Collaborative Research Center SFB 584: "The Political as Communicative Space in History." This includes the following three Research Training Groups:
- GK 1049: "Archives, Power and Knowledge - Organizing, Controlling, and Destroying Stored Knowledge from Antiquity to the Present" (History)
- GK 724: Entering the Knowledge Society: Science in Applied and Advisory Contexts (Institute for Science and Technology Studies)
- GK 844: "World Society: Making and Representing the Global" (Sociology, Institute for a World Society) as well as the following two Graduate Schools:
This research focuses on theoretical and empirically based applied research on the processes of growing up. This profile receives organizational support from the Faculty of Education Science and its existing Centers for Research on Childhood and Adolescence and for Quality Research in the Education and Social Sectors, and, in the future, particularly from the newly founded Bielefeld Center for Education and Capability Research.
Research on conflict and violence concentrates on theoretical and empirical analyses of constructive and destructive conflicts and their consequences. Organizational support for this profile comes from the Institute for Interdisciplinary Research on Conflict and Violence (IKG) that is hosting the Research Training Group: " Group-Related Misanthropy: Causes, Phenomenology, Consequences". This research is embedded in international networks.
This research focuses on analyzing the multiple levels of international, supranational, and national law arising particularly as a result of the coordination of laws on the European level and making them understandable for both science and practice.
With its broad interdisciplinary research profile, Bielefeld University possesses numerous research and development capacities that can be transferred to the interface between research and practice. Alongside the rapidly growing number of externally funded research projects (ca. 650 projects with almost 40 million Euro funding) and the large number of national and international scientists, the 100 cooperations (in July 2011) with higher education institutes throughout the world (including Australia, China, the European Union, further European countries, Israel, Japan, Madagascar, Russia, and the United States) confirm that Bielefeld is one of the internationally most renowned universities for research.
These cooperations impressively reflect the international networking of the university, granting it an enormous competitive advantage when it comes to attracting the best students along with excellent young scientists and international guests.