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Research Projects

The research strength of Bielefeld University can be demonstrated by the success of its academics to acquire third-party funding for research projects: The share of these third-party funds is currently one fifth of the total budget.

Primarily, this funding enables collaborative research, in particular in the five interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Centres at Bielefeld University. The researchers at the University cooperate with colleagues in regional, national and international associations and networks. The broad scope of research at Bielefeld University is reflected in the many third-party funded individual projects.  

Forscherin bedient Pipette.
© Universität Bielefeld

German Research Foundation (DFG)

  • Fallende Würfel vor einem einfarbigen Hintergrund.
    © Riho Kroll/

    CRC 1283: Taming uncertainty through mathematics

    Understanding chance better and controlling uncertainty in economics, physics and biology: To this end, the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1283 at Bielefeld University is working on new mathematical concepts and theories. Researchers from mathematics, theoretical physics, mathematical biology and mathematical economics cooperate in the CRC.

  • Ein Apfel und eine Birne liegen auf einer glänzenden Oberfläche und spiegeln sich darin.
    © Simon Grunert

    CRC 1288: Comparisons order and change the world

    Humans understand the world through comparisons. But what do they do when they compare? This is being addressed in the Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 1288 "Practices of comparing. Ordering and changing the world" at Bielefeld University. Academics from historical studies, German studies, art history, literary studies, philosophy, art history, political science and law belong to the CRC 1288.

  • Darstellung des Galaxienhaufen Abell 1314 in Ursa Major, etwa 460 Millionen Lichtjahren von der Erde entfernt.
    © Amanda Wilber/LOFAR Surveys Team

    TRR 211: How matter interacts under extreme conditions

    The Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio (CRC/TRR) 211 investigates the fundamental properties of strongly interacting matter and applies the findings to the physics of ultra-relativistic heavy ion collisions and the early universe. The Transregio is a joint effort of Bielefeld University, the Technical University of Darmstadt and Goethe University Frankfurt. For this academics from theoretical physics, cosmology and nuclear physics cooperate.

  • Feuersalamander ragt von links ins Bild hinein.
    © Oliver Krüger

    TRR 212: The individual and its ecological niche

    How do living organisms manage to adapt to their environment and to choose or construct their individual ecological niche? This is the subject of the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio "NC³" (CRC/TRR 212) of Bielefeld University and the University of Münster. The scientists come primarily from behavioral research, ecology and evolutionary biology, but also from philosophy, statistics and theoretical biology.

  • Frau bedient Serviceroboter in einem offenen Innenraum.
    © Björn Volkenand

    TRR 318: Developing explanations jointly with AI

    Artificial intelligence (AI) seems incomprehensible and complex to many people. The Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio "Constructing Explainability" (SFB/TRR 318) of Bielefeld University and Paderborn University is developing ways to involve users in explanations involving AI. To this end, linguists, psychologists, media researchers, sociologists, economists and computer scientists are cooperating.

  • Drei Personen sitzen vor Posterwänden und diskutieren
    © Universität Bielefeld

    Research Training Groups, Research Units and Priority Programmes

    In addition to the Collaborative Research Centres, the excellence of our scientists is also reflected in numerous other funding formats of the German Research Foundation: National and international Research Training Groups, Research Units or Priority Programmes coordinate cooperative, predominantly interdisciplinary research.

European Union

  • Bild der Person: Professorin Dr. Gabi Schierning, Fakultät für Physik
    © Universität Bielefeld

    Generating electricity with heat

    How do the surfaces of thermoelectric materials need to be designed in order to efficiently transport an electrical current? This is the question explored by physicist Prof. Dr. Gabi Schierning from Bielefeld University and her team in the project ‘MAcroscopic quantum Transport maTERials by nanoparticle processing’ (MATTER). The project is funded by the ERC Consolidator Grant.

  • Bild der Person: Professorin Dr. Barbara Hammer, Technische Fakultät, Arbeitsgruppe Machine Learning
    © Sarah Jonek

    Securing drinking water supplies

    Computer scientist Prof. Dr. Barbara Hammer from Bielefeld University and three other European scientists are conducting research on how to guarantee drinking water supplies by using artificial intelligence in the project ‘Smart Water Futures: Designing the Next Generation of Urban Drinking Water Systems’ (Water Futures). The project is funded by the ERC Synergy Grant.

  • Bild der Person: Prof. Dr. Martina Hofmanová, Fakultät für Mathematik
    © Sarah Jonek

    Influence of randomness on turbulence

    How does randomness influence fluid flows? This is the question the research group led by Prof. Dr. Martina Hofmanová from the Faculty of Mathematics is analysing in the project ‘Mathematical analysis of fluid flows: the challenge of randomness’ (FluFloRan). The project is funded by the ERC Starting Grant.

  • Bild der Person: Prof. Dr. Toni Goßmann, Fakultät für Biologie/Evolutionsgenetik
    © Sarah Jonek

    Evolutionary significance of epigenetics

    Epigenetic marks ensure that different DNA segments become active per cell type. The evolutionary role of epigenetics is under investigation by a team led by Dr Toni Goßmann from the Faculty of Biology in the project ‘Deciphering adaptive footprints of epiC evolution on different timescales’ (DECAF). The project is funded by the ERC Starting Grant.

  • Bild der Person: Professorin Dr. Minh Nguyen, Fakultät für Soziologie
    © Mike-Dennis Müller

    Labour and welfare in the Global South

    How is welfare changing in the emerging economies of the Global South? A team led by Prof. Dr. Minh Nguyen from the Faculty of Sociology is investigating this in the project ‘Welfare for Migrant Factory Workers: Moral Struggles and Politics of Care under Market Socialism’ (Welfare Struggles).The project is funded by an ERC Starting Grant.

  • Bild der Person: Professorin Dr. Elena Esposito, Fakultät für Soziologie
    © Michael Adamski

    The Effects of Algorithm predictions

    What consequences do algorithms and their predictions of the future have for society? This is the question being explored by a research group led by Professor Dr Elena Esposito from the Faculty of Sociology in the project: ‘The Future of Prediction: The Social Consequences of Algorithmic Forecast in Insurance, Medicine and Policing (PREDICT). The project is funded by an ERC Advanced Grant.

Other funding institutions

List of third-party funded projects at Bielefeld University (in German)

Here you will find a list of all third-party funded projects, listed in the respective year they were concluded. 

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