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Research profile

The University of Göttingen is an internationally renowned research university, whose faculties are closely interwoven with the exceptional research environment of the Göttingen Campus. Its overarching goal is to promote ground-breaking scientific contributions to address the unanswered questions of our time and address society’s current challenges. Its unique research profile, countless outstanding individual research projects, and all-round support from its research structures encourage a process of dynamic research exchange in the University’s highly visible interdisciplinary alliances.
Committed to the “scientific pragmatism and sense of reality” in its mission statement, the University aspires to "gain new knowledge in all disciplines, beyond and across conventional boundaries". In line with its three strategic research objectives, the aim is to work on future-oriented questions beyond existing disciplinary boundaries and well-trodden paths. These goals capture the current strengths of the University and create space in which topics for new core areas for collaboration can be developed.

Overarching strategic objectives of the University

  • Understanding Energy, Information, and Life:
    energy, information, and life are characterised by structures. These structures are determined by fluctuating transformation processes, networking and interaction between units on different scales in time and space. Research into the fundamentals, modelling of the transformation processes and understanding of these networks are the focus of this research objective, in which the natural sciences (including mathematics) and the life sciences are represented particularly strongly.
  • Creating Knowledge for a Changing World:
    society today is characterised by accelerating technological, biogeochemical, social, cultural and media change on both a local and global level. The scientific examination of these phenomena generally requires contributions from all scientific disciplines: the humanities and social, as well as natural and life sciences. The basis for creating new knowledge are the structures under which change occurs, and the role of actors who experience change through their actions, and also shape this change. In line with our mission statement, special emphasis is placed on responsible action in dealing with change. At the centre of this strategic objective are the standards that guide actions and discourses about them, as well as historically grounded and context-specific knowledge. They are the foundation for the development, critical reflection and testing of new theories. An important part of this strategic objective is the assessment of the results of actions through evaluation, contextualisation and reflection.
  • Building a Sustainable Future:
    with the Anthropocene epoch, human activity has become the determining factor on a planetary scale. A high degree of interdisciplinarity and systematic reflection on the context in which knowledge is developed and passed on is a prerequisite for providing sustainable answers about how to deal with transformation processes towards a sustainable future. Understanding, evaluating and shaping the manifold, intended and unintended consequences of human activity is a mandatory prerequisite for achieving sustainability – in all its dimensions and across generations, and thus forms the core of this strategic objective.

    Core Topics

    Within the objectives above, the University has already developed scientifically outstanding and internationally competitive core topics that contribute greatly to the reputation and research funding success of the University. These core topics stand out in their significance and visibility from the broad framework of the whole University. In them, Göttingen scientists come together in research centres, projects and alliances for interdisciplinary high-level research. These topics are established by robust links to the research strengths of the associated faculties, by interdisciplinary collaboration, international visibility, collaborative activities and research funding strength, developed networks across the Göttingen Campus and outstanding or special infrastructures.

    The core topics of the University of Göttingen cannot be found in such a form anywhere else in Germany, or only in isolated pockets.

    • Molecular Foundations of Cellular Networks
    • Sustainable Land Use and Biodiversity
    • Foundations of Cognitive Processes
    • Fundamentals of Energetic Processes in Matter
    • Structures and Transformations of Texts and Objects
    • Global and Local Dynamics, Sustainable Development, and Responsibility

    Data Sciences

    Data sciences take on a special role as a strategic cross-cutting theme of the research profile. The increasing availability of complex and heterogeneous data in almost all research areas opens up new and abundant sources of information for science. However, large amounts of data also create new challenges and fundamentally change the way science is conducted. Data science has therefore become an essential building block in almost all scientific fields. In order to continue to shape the research landscape of the 21st century, the University's key theme is therefore to keep on expanding data sciences, to interlink them with central research areas and to anchor them structurally within the University as a campus institute and as a planned new faculty. It is also planned to link the data sciences with the humanities and social sciences, for example by integrating the Digital Humanities into the Campus Institute Data Science.