Focal Periods

In the past years, an extremely successful scientific community has been established at TUM-IAS. The work performed within the different Focus Groups has led to high-level publications and events, thus increasing the visibility of the Institute. With interdisciplinarity and sustainability of collaboration as major objectives of the Institute, the TUM-IAS Focal Periods aim at supporting interaction between different Focus Groups, and between active Fellows and alumni Fellows around a certain theme. It is expected that the applicants agree on a joint collaboration and a joint research stay at TUM of at least two weeks during the Focal Period, and on a visible outcome of the joint work. This can be e.g. a conference presenting the results of the collaborative work, a jointly edited book on the research subject, or a major joint research grant proposal.

The current call for proposals is with a deadline on October 24, 2018. 

Focal Period 2019

Advanced Concepts for Ultrahigh-Efficiency Solar Cells

Involved Focus Groups

Project Description

This TUM-IAS Focal Period project aims at an interdisciplinary and sustainable effort to create entirely new classes of ultrahigh-efficiency solar cells by bringing together three distinct Focus Groups acting at the interface of Computational Electrical Engineering, Materials Science, and Condensed Matter Physics. The team formed by Prof. S. M. Goodnick (IAS Alumni Focus Group of "Nanoscience of Renewable Energy Sources"), Prof. J. J. Finley (IAS Focus Group of "Nanophotonics and Quantum Optics"), and PD Dr. G. Koblmüller (IAS Focus Group of "Semiconductor Nanowires") present a unique opportunity for a well-concerted cooperation between theoretical multiscale modelling, engineering of sophisticated quantum nanomaterials, and advanced ultrafast confocal optical spectroscopy, and thereby develop hitherto unexplored concepts of semiconductor nanowires-based solar cells with efficiencies far beyond current limits. Closely connected to a recently launched TUM-IGSSE project, the funds provided by the Focal Period will allow us to develop new theoretical and experimental approaches, while setting the base for a planned DFG/NSF-DMR "Materials World Network" and a Focus Workshop on "Novel Concepts in Semiconductor-based Renewable Energy Sources", all of which has a strong relevance for enhanced connections with the e-Conversion duster of excellence and electrical engineering faculties at the participating institutions.

Focal Period 2018

Advanced Computational Modeling for Tumor Growth Prediction

Involved Focus Groups

Project Description

The aim of the proposed Focal Period is to establish an interdisciplinary network to significantly go beyond the state of the art in tumor growth modeling and drug delivery by means of modern tools of Computational Mechanics to obtain fast and accurate numerical solutions with significant prediction value concerning the evaluation of the efficacy of the delivered drug in the tumor microenvironment. This needs an enhanced tumor growth model including the microenvironment with the different barriers against drug penetration. For this purpose we have pointed out several open problems the solution of which requires different expertise belonging to the fields of Engineering, Medicine, Biology, Computational Mechanics, Biophysics, Medical Imaging, and Chemistry. Within this Focal Period we propose to establish such a group for open discussion of these problems with the aim of finding the most appropriate solutions, which then will be implemented.

We believe that this proposal perfectly fits to the essential criteria for IAS Focal Periods as given in the Call for Proposals: we target a very innovative and interdisciplinary topic for which the interdisciplinary group of proposers is even further enriched by an excellent group of partners that all have expressed their interest in the project and have confirmed their willingness to collaborate within this Focal Period. The envisaged activities (outlined below) will not only give a high local and international visibility but will also allow early stage researcher to dive into such an extraordinary interdisciplinary scientific enterprise. The activities of the Focal Period should not only lead to two workshops (one local & one international) but should also lead to a sustained network of experts that consecutively applies for a joint research project.


  • TUM-internal Workshop (May 16, 2018)
  • International Workshop on Advanced Computational Modeling for Tumor Growth Prediction (September 24-25, 2018) – more information

Focal Periods 2016/2017

1. Clinical Cell and Tissue Engineering

Involved Focus Groups

  • Focus Group Clinical Cell Processing and Purification
  • Focus Group Regenerative Medicine

Project Description

With the establishment of the Munich School of Bioengineering, TUM is strengthening its academic activities in an important research area. Clinical cell purification, processing and therapy (CT) as well as Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (TE&RM) are main pillars in this program, with a strategic direction and focus on translating technology developments into defined clinical applications.

Due to promising clinical results in first proof-of-concept trials, CT and TE&RM receives growing attention for the development of innovative and highly effective therapies. Adult tissue stem cells (tSCs) with their high regenerative capacity have the great potential to reconstitute defined human tissues. Major bottlenecks from a translational research point of view are isolation, culture and expansion of tSCs and the maintenance of their potency and self-renewal capacity upon in vivo engraftment. This is becoming especially important when further genetic modification (e.g. recombinant expression of targeting receptors, growth factors or cytokines) is combined with adoptive cell therapy. The regeneration of large volume musculoskeletal tissues requires a scaffold and/or biomimetic hydrogels. Therefore, combining tissue-engineering tool boxes with adoptive cell therapy represents a promising approach to enhance efficacy and predictability of cell therapeutics. In addition, convergence of TE&RM and CT into preclinical animal model development can be utilized for the generation of advanced humanized rodent models, which are urgently needed for pre-clinical in vivo exploration of efficacy as well as safety features of newly designed cell products.

At TUM-IAS, leading experts in the field of CT and TE&RM have been brought together within the focus groups ‘Clinical Cell Processing and Purification’ and ‘Regenerative Medicine’. Although coming from different research directions, both groups recognized substantial synergy between their activities with unique potential to further advance cell-based therapies.


  • 3rd International Symposium on Adoptive T Cell Therapy (March 17-18, 2016)
  • Workshop of the Focus Groups Clinical Cell Purification and Processing & Regenerative Medicine (September 20-24, 2016)

2. Predictive Macroscopic Behavior from Microscopic Simulators (PROMISe)

Involved Focus Groups

  • Focus Group Complex Systems Modeling and Computation
  • Focus Group Physics with Effective Field Theories
  • Focus Group Uncertainty Quantification and Predictive Modeling  


Computations in strongly coupled relativistic quantum field theory on the basis of effective field theories.

Project Description

More information can be found here.

TUMQCD Collaboration

The TUMQCD collaboration involves members from TUM, physics department T30f, BNL, Michigan State University, and Fermilab. Mission of the TUMQCD collaboration is to complement effective field theory methods and lattice techniques to calculate the properties of strongly coupled systems at zero and finite temperature.


  • Organization of the minisymposium on "Towards Data-driven, Predictive Multiscale Simulations" during the SIAM Uncertainty Quantification Conference in Lausanne, April 5-8 2016
    Despite the continuous increase in our computational capabilities, the ultimate goal of predictive simulations remains elusive. The key challenges are: High-dimensionality of uncertainties; Information fusion, e.g., multi-fidelity, multi-scale/physics models, and experiments; Model-form uncertainties induced by limited data and incomplete physics; Cost of information acquisition, i.e., the cost of doing simulations/experiments. The purpose of this minisymposium is to address these roadblocks and achieve groundbreaking advances by promoting synergies between applied mathematics, computational physics, and data sciences. Specific topics include but are not limited to: Data-driven model identification; Learning from high-dimensional data; Task-specific information acquisition policies; Non-linear dimension- reduction for coarse graining. The minisymposium included 3 sessions and 12 talks in total.