Actions, Awards, Events

During 2021 we turned ideas into actions, distant communication into a new asset. And again, our Fellows and Members were honored with numerous awards.


Extension of ­Fellowships due ­to the ­pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic, with long and diverse travel restrictions worldwide, brought personal international exchange ­largely to a standstill, and workshops and ­conferences were cancelled. Many projects of our ­TUM-IAS Fellows, e.g., those based on joint laboratory work, had to be postponed, as well as study trips. Also, PhD candidates funded under the Fellowships were mostly unable to visit their supervisors at their home institutions abroad. To mitigate these challenges, we have extended the terms of Fellowships that have already started as well as PhD funding.

Cooperation with the Alexander von ­Humboldt Foundation

Since the founding of the TUM-IAS in 2005, award winners of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) are also Members of our Institute. In order to better link the funding programs of both institutions, to strengthen cooperation, and to create synergies in the support of international scientists, the TUM-IAS will in the future assume the central interface function between TUM and AvH. It will be the university-wide contact for various Humboldt Foundation programs, advise and support professors in nominating suitable candidates, and network Humboldt award recipients more intensively with each other, with TUM-IAS Fellows, and with TUM scientists.

Another round of TUM Innovation Networks

In 2021, TUM published for the second time the call for proposals for Innovation Networks dedicated to fostering cross-disciplinary research in cutting-edge topics with a “high risk / high gain” approach. On a long-term perspective, they are meant to build the foundations for large-scale consortia and potential funded collaborative research projects.

The TUM-IAS supports this strategic initiative of TUM Agenda 2030 through the organization of Exploratory Workshops. These events aim at elaborating the most promising selected ideas submitted in the first phase of the call. In total, TUM researchers submitted 13 ideas for this call. After a first evaluation by the Innovation Networks Board and TUM experts, seven ideas where shortlisted. Subsequently, four Exploratory Workshops took place from December 1 to 10, 2021. Following the workshops, each group submitted a final concept paper for a TUM Innovation Network. These concept papers were evaluated by external reviewers. Finally, the Innovation Network Board made a funding suggestion to the TUM Board of Management, which selected, out of the four proposals, two Innovation Networks for a four-year period of funding in February 2022:

Exoskeleton and wearables enhanced prevention and treatment (eXprt), Prof. Gordon Cheng (TUM Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering) and Prof. Joachim Hermsdörfer (TUM Department of Sport and Health Sciences) and Next generation drug design (NextGenDrugs), Prof. Matthias Feige (TUM Department of Chemistry, TUM-IAS Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professor).

These two Innovation Networks will be launched in spring of 2022 and are in addition to the first three – ARTEMIS, RISE, and Neurotech – that successfully started in 2021 and are now running with more than 30 junior scientists involved.

New Albrecht Struppler Clinician Scientist Fellowship launched

This Fellowship, launched in 2021, is designed for physicians working at the TUM University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar who intend to further develop an independent research profile while at the same time continuing their clinical qualification. The Fellowship is aimed at outstanding, high-potential early-career scientists who have already received or will shortly receive their certification as medical specialist (Facharzt / ärztin) and who have already successfully secured third-party funding. The Fellowship offers a relief of 50 percent from clinical duties, which gives Fellows time to carry out a transdisciplinary research project in collaboration with scientists from a department / school different from the TUM School of Medicine.

The Fellowship is named after Albrecht Struppler (1919–2009), the first chair of neurology at TUM and a pioneer in building a bridge from the neurosciences to engineering. With this program, the TUM-IAS would like to encourage out-of-the-box ideas and cross-disciplinary exchanges that may otherwise get lost in the busy everyday clinical routine, and reinforce health and medical sciences with perspectives and expertise from non-medical disciplines.

The Fellowship lasts three years, during which the Fellow will continue his / her duties at the University Hospital to a reduced extent (relief of 50 percent). Since it is the aim of this Fellowship to bridge medicine with other scientific fields represented at TUM, a cooperation partner / group from a TUM department / school other than the TUM School of Medicine is compulsory. During the Fellowship, the Fellow is welcome to make use of the office space at the TUM-IAS building. The Fellow also actively contributes to interdisciplinary TUM-IAS events.

TUM-IAS Fellowship Calls

We were able to welcome 15 new Fellows in 2021 in the categories Hans Fischer (Senior) Fellowship, Anna Boyksen Fellowship, and Albrecht Struppler Clinician Scientist Fellowship. Their home countries are as far away from each other as possible, ranging from Spain, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Hungary to Russia, Australia, and the USA. They are visiting seven departments as well as the TUM University Hospital Klinikum rechts der Isar. Two Fellowships for scientists specialized in the fields of Simulation and Digital Twin and Future of Autonomous Systems and Robotics are funded by Siemens AG. Two of the Hans Fischer Senior Fellows are working in the Cluster of Excellence e-conversion.

For ten years now, TUM has been appointing promising talents as Tenure Track Assistant Professors (W2), after a thorough selection process organized by the TUM-IAS. The TUM Faculty Tenure Track is the performance-oriented career model for young scientists with international experience and offers the realistic prospect of advancing to a tenured W3 professorship from the very beginning. The Fellowship is named after TUM professor Rudolf Mößbauer (1929–2011), who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1961 for his research concerning the resonance absorption of gamma radiation and his associated discovery of the effect that bears his name. As the emphasis of the professorship lies on the creative development of a new field of science and / or technology, and as we intend to offer those young researchers the best start possible in their careers, they are equally affiliated with the TUM-IAS as Fellows. In 2021, Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professors have been appointed in the research areas of Learning Sciences and Educational Design Theories (Prof. Anna Keune) and Behavioral Science for Disease Prevention and Health Care (Prof. Nikkil Sudharsanan).

TUM-IAS Fellows among Highly Cited Researchers

The frequency of citations of a study is a good indicator of research quality. To determine the Highly Cited Researchers, the US company Clarivate each year evaluates the Web of Science database it operates, which records scientific publications from a broad range of subjects.

The new edition of the evaluation shows the scientists who were cited most frequently in their respective fields between 2010 and 2020. Researchers who are cited particularly often in different fields are listed in the Cross-Field category. In total, the list comprises around 6,600 people in no particular order, including the following TUM-IAS Fellows:

Research output

University rankings (i.e., Shanghai Ranking, Times Higher Education, QS World University Ranking) assess the research quality of universities by different indicators such as the numbers of publications, and the research influence of universities is evaluated by indicators such as the number of citations. In both national and international rankings, TUM is among the top-rated German universities.

Since 2007, TUM-IAS Fellows have contributed 3,303 publications to the TUM total number of publications (based on Scopus database). These publications have been cited almost 130,000 times (status: March 31, 2022). Citation analysis reveals that publications produced by TUM-IAS Fellows mostly in cooperation with their respective TUM Hosts have a considerably higher average citation impact than all publications by TUM in the same period of time (2007 to present): 39.3 vs. 25.0 average number of citations per publication (see Tab. 1). These data demonstrate that the research performance of the TUM-IAS has a positive effect on the ranking indicators of TUM.

Table 1

Entity Publications Citations Number of Citations per Publication
TUM-IAS 3,303 129,818 39.3
TUM incl. IAS 111,471 2,791689 25.0
Mean: 2007–2022   Data Source: Scopus © 2022 Elsevier  

The presence of publications in the most influential journals in the world is shown by the “number of publications in top journal percentiles.” Bibliometric analysis reveals that the percentage of publications in the 5 ­percent most-cited journals (defined by the ­journal metrics SCImago Journal Rank SJR, see Tab. 2) is much higher for publications from TUM-IAS Fellows in comparison to the overall publications by TUM. These data indicate that the research output generated by TUM-IAS Fellows contributes significantly toward TUM’s national and international reputation as one of Germany’s top universities.

Table 2

Entity Publications in Top 5% Journal Percentiles (using SciVal/SJR metrics)  
  in % absolute
TUM-IAS 39.2 1,205
TUM incl. IAS 23.7 23,536
Mean: 2007–2022 Data Source: Scopus © 2022 Elsevier  


We are delighted and proud that our Fellows and partners have again received top-class awards in 2021:

Prof. Luisa Verdoliva became IEEE Fellow in January 2021 for her contributions to multimedia forensics. Prof. Job Boekhoven received the Lecturer Award of Verband der Chemischen Industry for 2021.

Dr. Barbara Solenthaler was given the Günther Enderle Best Paper Award of the Eurographics conference 2021.

TUM-IAS Alumnus Fellow Prof. Andrzej J. Buras received the Max Planck Medal of the German Physical Society (DPG), honoring his outstanding contributions to applied quantum field theory of fundamental interactions, especially in the field of flavor physics and quantum chromodynamics. The Max Planck Medal is the DPG’s highest honor for outstanding achievements in the field of theoretical physics.

TUM-IAS Alumna Fellow Prof. Jia Chen received the Arnold Sommerfeld Prize 2021 of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities for fundamental contributions to research on climate change and urban pollution. She was also named as Member of Global Young Academy (GYA).

TUM-IAS Fellow Prof. Mathias Senge received the Irish Laboratory Award for 2021. His group, which is a leader in the field tetrapyrroles and has published widely on Hans Fischer's pigments of life, the porphyrins, is Chemical Laboratory of the Year.

The Euler medal of the European Community on Computational Methods in ­Applied Sciences (ECCOMAS) was awarded to TUM-IAS Alumnus Hans Fischer Fellow Prof. ­Alessandro Reali. The Euler medal recognizes outstanding and sustained contributions to the area of computational solid and structural mechanics.

Prof. Reinhard Heckel received the Young Scientist Honor from the Werner-von-Siemens-Ring foundation 2021.

Prof. Gustavo Goldman was chosen as the 2021 Moselio Schaechter awardee of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), for being a role model in leadership and commitment in the field of microbiology.

ERC Grants

TUM-IAS Fellow Prof. Hendrik Dietz and Host Prof. Wolfgang A. Wall were awarded the prestigious ERC Advanced Grants.

TUM Distinguished Affiliated Professors and new TUM-IAS Members

The TUM-IAS welcomes the TUM Distinguished Affiliated Professors as Honorary Fellows and members of the TUM-IAS community.

The former President of the Nanyang Technological University and biochemist Prof. Bertil Andersson received the TUM Distinguished Affiliated Professorship award on October 7, 2021. Since the appointment has been made jointly with the TUM School of Life Sciences, he became honorary professor both at the TUM Department of Chemistry and at the TUM School of Life Sciences in Weihenstephan.

Prof. Rainer Blatt, experimental physicist and Scientific Director of the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, joined as a new TUM Distinguished Affiliated Professor on November 11, 2021. With his pioneering experimental demonstrations of basic building blocks and alogrithms of quantum processors, he has paved the way toward useful quantum computing systems and new research directions in quantum technology. Rainer Blatt received the Stern Gerlach Medal in 2012 and the John Stewart Bell Prize in 2015. He has been coordinator of the Munich Quantum Valley since 2021.


2021 saw the resumption of the face-to-face meetings as well as the larger conferences, but these are now held online.

TUM-IAS ­General Assembly

More than 120 Fellows, Hosts, alumni and friends met online on June 24 and 25 for our General Assembly. Over two days, Fellows presented a wide variety of topics from the projects at the TUM-IAS in 30 talks and sessions.

For the first time, the Linde Lecture opened our General Assembly. It commemorates Carl von Linde, one of the first professors at the young Technical University of Munich founded in 1868 and a pioneer in cooling technology. The new Linde Lecture is intended to set an example of how critical reflection, theory-driven research, and practical implementation can push the boundaries of our knowledge and enable humanity to set out for new shores.

Predestined as a speaker was therefore ­Prof. Michael Bordt SJ, who is a member of the ­Jesuit Order and teaches at the Munich School of Philosophy. He is a board member of the Institute for Philosophy and Leadership and offers consulting, guidance, and workshops for executives in top positions of large medium-sized companies and corporations. In his Linde Lecture, Prof. Bordt explored what we can learn from crises – including the Covid-19 crisis – and which positive aspects we can transfer into the future.

Thermoacoustics in Combustion

The Symposium on Thermoacoustics in Combustion in September was jointly organized by Prof. Thomas Sattelmayer, Chair of Thermodynamics, Prof. Mirko Bothien, TUM-IAS Rudolf Diesel Industry Fellow, and Dr. Luca Magri​​​​​​​, TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Fellow. More than 64 papers from 12 countries on combustion instabilities made this the largest congress worldwide in this field.

IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR)

Prof. Leonidas Guibas (TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Senior Fellow) and Prof. Matthias Niessner (Visual Computing & Artificial Intelligence), held the first Workshop on Language for 3D Scenes in June. This was the first workshop on natural language and 3D-oriented object understanding of real-world scenes. Their primary goal was to spark research interest in this emerging area and to benchmark progress in connecting language to 3D to identify and localize 3D objects with natural language.

China in the Global Economy

In October, an international workshop focused on China's role in the global economy and its governance. It was organized by Prof. Eugénia da Conceição-Heldt, Chair of European and Global Governance, and ­Prof. Susan Park, TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Senior Fellow.

Workshop on Network Dynamics

Power grid networks or synchronously firing neural oscillators in the brain – these are examples of networks of dynamical nodes. The collective dynamics – and therefore the functionality – of such network dynamical systems are determined by the individual dynamics of each node as well as the interaction between nodes. A workshop, organized by the TUM-IAS Focus Group Network Dynamics, brought together experts on networks, dynamics, and data working on pure and applied topics in network dynamics with a particular focus on adaptive networks. TUM-IAS Hans ­Fischer (Senior) Fellows Dr. Christian Bick and ­Prof. Dr. Krasimira Tsaneva-Atanasova ­organized this virtual workshop.

Future of Scientifc Evaluation

In a virtual fireplace evening, Prof. Kai Müller, TUM-IAS Fellow and Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professor, discussed alternatives to classical peer review.

Dr. Markus Söder, Prime Minister of Bavaria, visited Prof. Jia Chen

Dr. Markus Söder, the minister-president of Bavaria, recently visited a research station for greenhouse gases in the urban environment called MUCCnet (Munich Urban Carbon Column network), operated by Prof. Jia Chen, TUM-IAS Alumna and TUM professor. “We can only reduce emissions efficiently if we understand them,” Dr. Söder said. The minister-president was on the roof of a TUM building learning about a sensor network for measuring greenhouse gases that is unique worldwide. 

Wednesday Coffee Talks

Our “Wednesday Coffee Talks – Scientists meet Scientists” series gives insights into TUM research to a larger public. In 2021, we had more 25 online talks throughout the year. The new online format brought us a much larger audience from different regions around the world. We covered research from “Making Artificial Intelligence Trustworthy” to “Hyperactive Signals driving Cancer.”

More Information:

A full list of public lectures and events

IESP Workshops

The International Expert Network on Earth System Preservation (IESP) held an online workshop in February on “Water and Agricultural Management” with 30 participants. It focused on the future of water supply in southern Germany and Bavaria.

The second workshop in October in Bad Wörrishofen, also attended by almost 30 participants, was dedicated to the motto “Stronger Commitment and Responsible Dynamics Are Needed! Approaches in Science, Technology and Education.” The focus was on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN and their hesitant and slow implementation, as well as future activities.

More informations:

Who is IESP?