TUM-IAS Director’s Message

Times of upheaval provide chances for new ways, new ­approaches, and new connections. The TUM Institute ­for ­Advanced Study takes this opportunity particularly with ­­­its Focus Groups, the core of our institute.

The Focus Groups are research collaborations ­between outstanding scientists from international universities and business enterprises and professors as well as PhD candidates from our university of excellence. The groups are funded by TUM and its partners in ­science and business and create new knowledge and stable partnerships on a global level.

“Risking Creativity” and the development of innovative research fields are part of the institute’s philosophy. The topic of sustainability is currently particularly urgent. Therefore, initiatives dedicated to sustainability are very important to us. And for this reason, half of our Focus Groups are currently working on topics related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Due to the academic freedom allowed by the TUM-IAS, we are supporting our TUM scientists in building successful international collaborations and in shaping their careers. Numerous awards received by members of the TUM-IAS community in the previous year are prove for the continuing top-class work at our institute.
In 2022, we were able to initiate further future-oriented projects and launch new  Fellowship lines. We included the still young TUM campus Heilbronn, which has its focus on economics and digital transformation, into our funding with additional resources. Additionally, we increased our engagement in Eastern Europe and established new connections. With 7.5 million euros in newly acquired funds, we will be able to continue ­existing successful programs in the coming years and realize others that reflect the extensive, interdisciplinary research portfolio of the entire TUM in terms of content. With one Fellowship, we are breaking ­new ground: ­“Philosopher in Residence” is intended to build a bridge between natural sciences, engineering, medicine and health sciences on one hand and philosophy on the ­other hand, in order to reflect on and classify the ­rapid and complex scientific and technological change in depth and to provide reliable orientation.

Other important milestones in recent months are ­that ­the TUM-IAS will be responsible for the selection of ­the international awardees of the new Nobel ­Sustainability Trust Awards in the coming years. This way, ­TUM and Nobel Sustainability Trust together will further ­strengthen the idea of sustainability. In addition, the TUM-IAS will act as the interface between TUM and Alexander Humboldt Foundation, the most important German institution for international exchange of scientists.

Furthermore, the TUM-IAS was able to provide ten Ukrainian scientists, who were forced to leave their homes due to the Russian invasion a shelter and an academic home with the “Fellowship for Ukrainian ­Scientists,” which was established on short notice. ­This was made possible by generous private donations, for which we would like to express our sincere thanks.

Siemens AG, TÜV SÜD Foundation, and Dieter Schwarz Foundation are both longstanding and new trustful supporters, who help us to realize our ideas in creative research programs, including sustainability research. ­I would like to express my special thanks to them!