With its full subject range, Göttingen University has the potential to bring together research interests from several different subject domains, thereby spanning new bridges in research and teaching. The foci listed below differ in terms of the number of researchers involved, the extent to which they have become established, and the level of their national and international visibility. Yet all of them have the potential to strengthen the university's profile over the coming years.
Functional Principles of Living Material
This focus embraces both molecular questions and mesoscale processes involved in biological systems operating far beyond thermodynamic equilibrium. The focus lies in the development of new experimental and theoretical methods and models, and on observing and interpreting complex dynamic processes in living systems and model systems.
Cellular Processes and Molecular Machines
In this area, more than 30 working groups and seven junior researcher groups funded within large-scale collaborative projects and affiliated to different faculties link up as a network. The topics addressed in the research groups range from epigenetics and chromatin dynamics via intracellular transport and cellular machines through to interaction and communication between cells. Current future-oriented research projects are looking at components of structural biology and synthetic biology.
The focus here is on basic research in the area of atomic energy conversion and storage processes in complex materials and systems. Several faculties working in the natural sciences and Max Planck Institutes cooperate in the Collaborative Research Centre 'Atomic Scale Control of Energy Conversion', in the framework of the interdisciplinary 'International Center for Advanced Studies of Energy Conversion' that is currently being established, and in further initiatives in the areas of catalysis, photovoltaics and battery materials including bioenergy.
The neuroscience focus ranges from basic research at molecular level - within the Excellence Cluster 'Nanoscale Microscopy and Molecular Physiology of the Brain' (CNMPB), among other contexts - to the transfer of findings into clinical research, diagnostics and therapy. Research collaboration in this focus area involves several university faculties including the Göttingen Medical Center, as well as large parts of the Göttingen Campus.
Cardiovascular research focussing on cardiac insufficiency and regeneration is based primarily in the University Medical Center. The status of this Göttingen research focus is shown by the Collaborative Research Centre 'Modulatory Units in Heart Failure', an International Research Training Group, and participation in the German Centre for Cardiovascular Disease, in which Göttingen constitutes one of seven national locations. In cooperation with excellent university and non-university partners in Göttingen, micro and nano compartments within and outside the heart muscle cell with pathophysiological relevance are being defined, and innovative processes for heart muscle regeneration developed. Via the Göttingen Heart Center, highly promising ideas emerging from basic research are ultimately translated into clinical applications.
Sustainable Use of Natural Resources
In the framework of large-scale transdisciplinary collaborations, biological and sociological methods are applied in work aimed at solving complex problems concerning the sustainable use of natural resources. The researchers participating are based not only in the natural and life sciences but also in the social sciences and humanities. This focus includes collaborative projects under the overarching roof of the 'Centre for Biodiversity and Sustainable Land Use' (CBL). The projects deal with both the influence of humans on the abiotic and biotic environment and its underlying processes, and also the use of limited resources and the repercussions resulting for the environment. Important thematic areas are biodiversity in cultivated spaces (forestry, agriculture) and sustainable food security as a precondition for combatting poverty.
Göttingen University has research expertise relating to a large number of the world's religions. The religious studies focus deals in interdisciplinary, systematic and comparative manner with religious phenomena, processes and transformations in societies of the past and present. In addition to the respective faculties, participating institutions include also the Courant Research Centre 'Education and Religion' (EDRIS), the Lichtenberg-Kolleg and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.
This research focus explores how digitization is affecting and changing all areas of society, including culture, education, law, commerce and technology, and indeed science and scholarship itself. In academia and research, the development and application of computer and data-supported methods plays an important role for subjects in the humanities and social sciences. The underlying concept of the Göttingen Centre for Digital Humanities (GCDH) is being extended to encompass the broad range of research approaches.
Language and Cognition
The objective of this research focus is to learn more about the cognitive language skills of human beings and the manner in which language and text is processed. Emerging from the close interconnection between the linguistics chairs in the Faculty of Humanities and the Courant Research Centre 'Text Structures', this thematic area is developing into a highly dynamic forum for the integration of theoretical-analytical and empirical-experimental research on language and its use. Cooperations have emerged involving the domains of computer sciences, primate research, psychology, philosophy and behaviour research, to name but some.
Leibniz-ScienceCampus / Primate Cognition
To achieve a comprehensive framework for the mechanisms of information processing and decision making in human and non-human primates, the Leibniz ScienceCampus "Primate Cognition" was founded in 2015, and offers a joint research platform for neuroscientists, psychologists and cognitive and behavioral biologists. Under its unifying theme of human and non-human primates' abilities to maneuver in their complex social and physical environment, the ScienceCampus supports integrative and comparative research ideas.