Technische Universität Berlin
© Felix Noak

Success in the Excellence Strategy

For the first time in its history, Technische Universität Berlin has joined the ranks of excellent universities in Germany. It received the coveted award in the billion-euro, internationally renowned Excellence competition together with its Berlin partner universities Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität Berlin as well as Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Together they form the Berlin University Alliance and aim to further develop the metropolitan region into an integrated research space. Across individual networks, institutions, and disciplines, the Alliance aims to become the heart and driving force of an excellent Berlin "ecosystem"

made up of universities and non-university research institutions, scientific collections, museums, cultural and political institutions, and start-ups and partners from industry. The basis for this initiative is the “Crossing Boundaries toward an Integrated Research Environment” concept.

In addition, Technische Universität Berlin is host to three Clusters of Excellence. Beginning 2019, the three interdisciplinary research projects “Unifying Systems in Catalysis”, “Science of Intelligence“ and “MATH+” will be funded for a period of seven years with up to ten million euros annually.

Clusters of Excellence at TU Berlin

[Translate to English:] Symbolbild MATH+ © Dominic Simon

MATH+ - How Berlin Mathematics is Shaping the Future

In the MATH+ Cluster of Excellence, scientists develop innovative techniques and theories in application-oriented mathematics. Particular focus is placed on mathematical foundations to use increasingly large data quantities in life and material science, energy and network research, and the humanities and social sciences.

What does the Berlin University Alliance enable us to achieve?

Views from TU Berlin

“The Berlin University Alliance has the wonderful goal of breaking down the borders between researchers, disciplines and rigid institutional structures. The aim is to develop an integrated research space to establish a new basis for scientific work at all levels and create a unique competitive advantage for Berlin as a city of science on the global stage.”

Professor Dr. Angela Ittel, vice president for strategic development, junior scholars, and teacher education

“Provenance research - in other words researching the origin of cultural goods - is not an end in itself; it is work of importance to society. Digital provenance research not only means the digitalization of objects and the documentation of data regarding their previous owners or the circumstances of their translocation or acquisition. Visitors to museums deserve transparency and elucidation regarding the history of the exhibits they consume. It is much more about sharing knowledge, about findability and accessibility, and more than anything it is about making information and research findings understandable, about making usability and communication bilingual or multilingual and widely comprehensible. So I am all the more delighted to be able to introduce a new project together with my colleagues from TU Berlin, HU Berlin, the Museum of Natural History and the Institute for Museum Research. This project will begin next year as part of the first BUA Grand Challenge “Social Cohesion” and will examine the importance of museums as spaces of social cohesion.”

Professor Dr. Meike Hopp, Chair of Digital Provenance

“The BUA represents a challenge for us all. However, first and foremost it opens up new perspectives and opportunities. We have set ourselves an ambitious goal regarding knowledge exchange, a topic of great relevance for the future. We want to work hand-in-hand with society to conduct research and forge new paths to find the best possible solutions to the major and lesser challenges facing our society. The BUA enables us to unite the resources and strengths of our four institutions to pursue new avenues. This is something that inspires and motivates me and I hope I can continue to inspire the same sense of enthusiasm throughout TU Berlin.

Professor Christine Ahrend, Vice president for Research, Appointment Strategy, Knowledge & Technology Transfer

“The ProFiL program was started in 2003 to provide Freie Universtität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Technische Universität Berlin an effective mechanism for helping their female junior scholars obtain professorships. The Berlin University Alliance’s successful application to the Excellence Strategy means we can now develop the ProFiL initiative to contribute more strongly towards achieving greater diversity and equality of opportunity for women in science. I am delighted to be able to coordinate ProFiL’s new English-language program and support the careers of international female scientists with a connection to the three Berlin partner universities and the Charité. 

Dr. habil. Antje Dallmann, coordinator of ProFiL ’s English-language program

“The BUA promotes interdisciplinarity and a broad perspective for research into scientific issues. This has particular added value for issues relating to nourishment, food technology and health, which always have to take account of and link different aspects.

Professor Dr. Cornelia Rauh, Department of Food Biotechnology and Food Process Engineering

 

“The BUA’s new StuROpX program provides a fresh impetus for research-based learning. The opportunity for a group of students to independently examine an exciting research question of their own choice using an interdisciplinary approach is a wonderful offer.”

Professor Dr. Hans-Ulrich Heiss, vice president for education, digitalization, and sustainability

 

“The BUA provides me with an extremely broad spectrum of digital and analogue resources, creating an opportunity for interdisciplinary cooperation between the partners. For me, making these resources openly available and usable is one of the goals of the BUA.”

Professor Dr. Sebastian Möller, Quality and Usability Lab

 

“How do processes of social interaction and communication change at a time when we have to maintain distance?” How do community masks and distancing markers change how we communicate? Which problems do we face and what new and creative ways of dealing with them can we find in everyday life? Ten field researchers from the area of sociology throughout Germany are collecting data using a video camera to record and analyze how forms of interaction are changing and how we are dealing with social distancing in everyday situations. The funding provided by the Berlin University Alliance enables us to record the process of the complex change in our everyday communication, a change which has now imperceptibly become routine for us, as well as create an archive of recordings to provide a basis for precise analyses of interaction dynamics.”

Dr. René Tuma, Chair of General Sociology - Theory of Modern Societies

“The BUA responded without delay to the coronavirus crisis and provided us with a unique opportunity to quickly acquire data about the pandemic. Invaluable data bases were created helping us to better overcome the major challenge posed by a pandemic.”

Professor Dr. Martina Löw, Chair of Sociology and Planning of Architecture

“Since March, we have been gathering data on a daily basis, including weekends, relating to COVID-19 care (hospitalized patients, intensive care bed occupancy, etc.) in 18 European countries. These data are being used by bodies such as the World Health Organization and the European Commission but are also contributing significantly to the global calculations of the Institute for Health Metrics (Global Burden of Disease study). The BUA Corona Pre-Exploration Project enables us to contribute with our work to the development of specific policies, such as the use of intensive care beds in Germany, Europe and the rest of the world.”

Professor Dr. Reinhard Busse, Department of Health Care Management

“Crossing Boundaries - towards an integrated research environment"

Personal holding copy of crossing boundaries proposal © Felix Noak

Crossing Boundaries Together

The Berlin University Alliance has been funded under the Excellence Strategy since 1 November 2019. The alliance partners have set themselves the long-term goal of jointly creating and shaping a leading international and integrated research area in Berlin.

© Matthias Heyde

From Application to Party – TU Berlin’s Journey to the Alliance of Excellence

On 19 July 2019, TU Berlin and its partners Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin were awarded the status of excellence. Finally, the chance to celebrate after so much hard work. Such good news calls for a real celebration!

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