Research at GAUSS

Founded in 1737, the Georg-August University of Göttingen is distinguished by the rich diversity of its subject spectrum, its excellent facilities for the pursuit of scientific research, and the outstanding quality of the areas that defines its profile. The university and local non-university research institutions have come together as the “Göttingen Campus” to promote research, teaching and the training of young researchers. By drawing on their joint strengths and potential, campus partners have created a unique and stimulating environment that encourages diversity and an active exchange between professors, researchers and doctoral students. International networks and interdisciplinary centers serve as platforms for new ideas and innovative research concepts. They are embedded in a campus setting that provides access to an impressive collection of resources, infrastructure, and support services.

One of the key areas of scientific strength on the Göttingen Campus is the mathematics, natural and life sciences, in which doctoral education is provided by the graduate school GAUSS. The broad range of research excellence in these scientific fields is well-reflected by the emphasis of 7 out of 10 University’s Research Foci. Additionally, the mathematics, natural and life sciences are home to more than 16 interdisciplinary research centers and institutes. GAUSS doctoral candidates are part of a vibrant, high-caliber scientific environment which is provided by the faculties, our Göttingen Campus research partners, nine internationally renowned Collaborative Research Centers (SFBs), and interdisciplinary doctoral programs including five DFG Research Training Groups, five International Max Planck Research Schools and one Leibniz Graduate School.

Please click on the institutions to see short profiles of the key scientific areas and research.

University and Medical Center

Being one of the largest faculties of the University of Göttingen, the Faculty of Biology and Psychology is organized in four thematic institutes (Plant Sciences, Zoology & Anthropology, Microbiology & Genetics, Psychology). Focusing on three major research fields – Molecular Biosciences, Biodiversity & Ecology, and Neuro- biology & behavior – it is playing a crucial role as a central and connecting hub in life sciences on the Göttingen Campus. The versatile and excellent biological research is conducted in close collaboration by the university and its external partners including a broad range of faculties (medicine, agricultural sciences, forestry, physics, chemistry), the Max Planck Institutes (Biophysical Chemistry; Experimental Medicine) and the German Primate Center (Leibniz Society).
In addition to covering the classical fields of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, the Faculty of Chemistry recently established three key research foci. Strengthened by strategic recruitments these areas encompass Energy Conversion (process and materials), Functional Biomolecular Chemistry and Molecular Catalysis. Combining fundamental expertise in core areas of chemistry with modern and interdisciplinary research foci facilitates an excellent utilization of the cooperation potential present on the Göttingen Campus. Aligned to these new scientific key areas, diverse research groups have been created and the teaching strategy has been amended to implement a close link of science and education. The faculty is not only participating in several collaborative research centers and research training groups but is also host to nationally and internally renowned academic guests reflecting the attractiveness of the Göttingen chemistry research environment.
Recognized as one of the strongest interdisciplinary oriented research facilities of its kind in Germany the Faculty of Geoscience and Geography is covering a wide range or research. Scientific expertise at the Geoscience Center (GZG) spans from the formation of the solar system, the evolution of the system Earth to the exploration of alternative energy resources. Predominantly focusing on fundamental but also applied geosciences the GZG is housing a variety of excellent laboratories with modern analytical equipment. The Institute of Geography is home to collaborative and interdisciplinary research covering not only Physical and Human Geography but also High Mountain Geomorphology. Dissolving the boundary between social and physical science, the Department of Cartography, GIS & Remote Sensing is exploring the human dimensions of global change.
Mathematical research at the University of Göttingen is building on a great and long-lasting tradition of research excellence and is promoting today four key research priorities in addition to a research group in didactics. These scientific foci are in fundamental sciences (Modern Geometry, Number Theory) and in applied sciences (Numerical & Applied mathematics, Mathematical Stochastics). The faculty is hosting Research Training Groups, DFG Research Units, two Collaborative Research Centers and is partnering several other centers of this kind. The scientific expertise of the Institute of Computer Science (IFI) encompasses theoretical, applied and practical computer sciences. Collaborating across disciplines IFI academics are putting great emphasis on numerous communications systems such as internet technology, databases and theoretical computer sciences as well as its economic aspects. The institute is engaged in interdisciplinary research collaborations with bioinformatics and applied informatics.
Since the 18th century physics and astronomy in Göttingen is respected worldwide for its scientific achievements including the foundation of the quantum mechanics, development of seismic methods and works on the theory of relativity. Today the Faculty of Physics with its ten institutes and several central facilities is focusing on three research priorities: Solid State Physics & Materials Physics, Biophysics & Physics of Complex Systems, and Astrophysics & Elementary Particle Physics. Covering a wide range of scientific fields the faculty is involved in numerous interdisciplinary and cross-departmental collaborations. Excellent multidisciplinary research is supported by shared appointments and close cooperation with university faculties (chemistry, mathematics, medicine), five Collaborative Research Centers and campus partners (Max Planck Institutes, Laser-Laboratorium, German Aerospace Center).
The UMG focusses on illnesses of significant social importance and thereby driving the transfer of basic research into clinical practice. Two scientific, well-established priorities are emphasized – Neurosciences and Cardiovascular Sciences – and are complemented by the emerging research area of Specific Cancers and their Individualized Therapy. Well integrated on the Göttingen Campus the UMG is fostering a diverse and interdisciplinary exchange in close cooperation with the university faculties, the Max Planck Institutes and the German Primate Center leading to the establishment of several interdisciplinary centers (e.g. ENI, GZMB, BCCN, CSN, BIN).

Campus Partners

As of January 1, 2022 the Max Planck Institute for Multidisciplinary Natural Sciences (MPI-NAT) has been established by merging two existing MPIs of the Göttingen Campus – the former MPI for Biophysical Chemistry (MPI-bpc) and the MPI for Experimental Medicine (MPI-em). The new institute covers basic research in the natural sciences and medicine and is the largest institute in the Max Planck Society, hosting 16 departments and more than 25 research groups.
From the research history of both MPIs the new MPI-NAT combines the highly interdisciplinary research of the MPI-bpc, which addresses a broad range of processes in the life sciences at the interfaces of physics, chemistry and biology, and the unique neuroscience research portfolio of the MPI-em that ranges from basic genetic, molecular, cellular, and network analyses of neuronal and glial function via genetic modeling of brain function and dysfunction in rodents to clinical studies on the genetics and novel therapies of neurological and psychiatric disorders in patients.
The MPI-NAT houses central facilities for NMR, electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, super-resolution, live-cell & light microscopy, animal breeding & welfare, synthetic chemistry and (neuro-) proteomics.
The propensity of open dynamical systems to break symmetries and generate patterns, structures and functions – in other words: to self-organize – is one of the fascinating and ubiquitous conditions in nature. It is visible on large scales in the emergence of planets, stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies, on intermediate scales in cloud formation, turbulence, and swarming phenomena, and on smaller scales in neural networks like the human brain, or even the nano-scale functions of life on the cellular and sub-cellular level. An essential property of these systems is that they dwell far from thermal equilibrium. From the quest for possible general principles underlying self-organization phenomena to in-depth investigations focused on particularly relevant systems, research at the MPI-DS institute spans a wide arc.
Our immediate cosmological surroundings are the research focus of the MPS: the solar system with its planets and moons, its comets and asteroids, and of course the Sun. The aim of the scientists is not only to theoretically model the workings of the solar system and simulate them on the computer, however. In close cooperation with their engineer colleagues, they also develop and build scientific instruments that investigate these celestial bodies. To do this, the institute collaborates with international space agencies such as NASA and ESA on numerous missions. The MPS hosts the International Max Planck School for Solar System Research.
The scientific activities and services of the DPZ, an independent research institute within the Leibniz Association, focus on biological and biomedical research with non-human primates, frequently with the intent to inform our understanding of human physiology and behavior. This includes studying primate populations in their natural habitat performed on four field stations. Clinically oriented research is carried out by establishing and studying primate models for stem cell therapies as well as cardiological, infectious and neurological/neuropsychiatric diseases. The DPZ is also dedicated to the preservation of non-human primates by studying them in the wild as well as by improving methods for the management and breeding of animals in captivity.
The main activities of the German Aerospace Center sites Göttingen and Braunschweig are aviation and traffic engineering. DLR Göttingen employs more than 400 experts in the foundation- and application-oriented field of aviation research. High-performance ground and test flight carriers and flying simulators, air traffic simulation facilities, wind tunnels in the European DNW foundation (German-Dutch Wind Tunnels), mobile rotor test stands and test stands for material and noise tests are available for experimental research. Together with the french Aeronautics and Space Research Center ONERA, DLR Göttingen operates the largest mobile ground vibration test facility in Europe.