Actions, Awards, Events

2023 has been a year of change, and of progress. It gave us ample opportunity for actions and new ventures.


Sustainability is one of the biggest ­challenges facing science today. A glance at the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) ­underscores the substantial tasks that ­research confronts in tackling global issues. Within this challenge lie many opportunities to utilize the great potential of networked thinking and national as well as ­international cooperation in interdisciplinary settings. Consequently, ­research and other activities on sustainability are taking an increasingly prominent place in the TUM-IAS.

TUM strategically focuses on six of the SDGs as thematic priorities. While remaining ­attentive to activities in other thematic ­areas, it applies its interdisciplinary strengths in ­research, teaching, and innovation to build on these SDGs:

  • SDG 3 Good Health and Well-Being
  • SDG 7 Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12 Responsible Consumption and ­Pro­duction
  • SDG 13 Climate Action
  • SDG 15 Life on Land

At the TUM-IAS, 49 out of the 80 active ­Focus Groups (FG) directed their efforts to topics that were related to the UN’s ­Sustainable ­Development Goals. ­Notably, a ­majority of these focused on Good Health and ­Well-­Being (20 FG), Affordable and Clean Energy (9 FG), Responsible ­Consumption and ­Production (9), and Sustainable ­Cities and Communities (8). Additional ­efforts were ­directed toward Climate Action (2 FG) and Life on Earth (1 FG). This ­collaborative and ­multidisciplinary ­approach reflects our ­unwavering ­commitment to contribute ­meaningfully to global sustainability efforts.

Sustainability Awards supported by the ­N­obel Sustainability Trust

For the first time, the Sustainability Awards supported by the Nobel ­Sustainability Trust Foundation (NST) were awarded in ­November 2023. The winners were ­selected by a ­panel of international experts as well as TUM ­professors organized by the ­TUM-IAS. The award ceremony was ­integrated into the ­Nobel Sustainability Trust ­Summit in ­Munich on 9 November 2023. The ­recipients of the awards were Professor Elena Bou, ­Innovation ­Director at EIT ­Inno­Energy (­category “Outstanding Research and Development in the field of Energy”) for achievements in supporting start-ups and scale-ups in the ­energy ­transition, and Lord Nicholas Stern, ­Professor at the London School of ­Economics and Politics (category “­Leadership in ­Implementation”), honored for his work on the economics of ­climate change and ­sustainability.

The Nobel Sustainability Trust Summit ­featured keynote speakers from academia and enterprises, presenting their expertise on water, energy, and sustainability ­challenges to an audience of around 200 people, ­including academics, students and industry representatives, who engaged in insightful discussions.

New Funding: Dieter Schwarz ­F­ellowships and Dieter Schwarz Courageous ­Research Grants

With the support of the Dieter Schwarz Foundation (DSS), the TUM-IAS was able to add two new funding opportunities to its ­portfolio. The Dieter Schwarz ­Fellowship is based on the Hans Fischer (Senior) ­Fellowships but focuses on the thematic spectrum of the TUM campus in Heilbronn (­information, ­engineering, ­economics, and ­political or ­social sciences). The Dieter Schwarz ­Courageous Research Grant ­offers one million Euros to scientists ­proposing a radical solution to a major challenge in the research area of “­digitization and ­sustainability” using pioneering ­technologies.

Demonstrating its sustained commitment, the DSS has expanded its support by ­endowing an additional ten professorships at the TUM School of Management and TUM School of Computation, Information, and Tech­nology. This brings the total number of TUM professorships endowed by DSS since 2018 to 41, with 32 of the professorships in ­Heil­bronn. The TUM Heilbronn campus has a unique, interdisciplinary profile at the ­intersection of management and ­informatics. The professorships will be fully financed by the foundation for an initial period of 30 years, ­covering equipment and ­infrastructure costs. The ­endowment funds are not ­subject to any conditions whatsoever, and the ­contract is based on the TUM Fundraising Code of ­Conduct, ensuring that contributors refrain from ­influencing research or teaching. ­Another objective of the expansion measures is to further enhance the ­internationalization of the TUM Heilbronn campus. The ­newly ­intro­duced Dieter Schwarz Fellowship aims to attract outstanding international ­professors to Heilbronn and, by also naming them ­Fellows of TUM-IAS, to build bridges to the TUM Garching campus.

Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability

As part of the TUM-IAS’s ongoing commitment to promoting scientific exchange and professional networks, we launched the Seminar Series of European Universities on Sustainability in 2023. This initiative aims to bring together scientists from ­Eastern, Southeastern, and Central European ­research institutions to facilitate discussions on topics related to the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. This series of seminars is a first step in overcoming geographical and academic barriers, fostering a scientific network, promoting joint research initiatives, and building lasting collaborations for a more sustainable future.

The seminars within this series are ­integrated into the Scientists Meet Scientists – ­Wednesday Coffee Talk series (Wednesdays, from 13:00, online). Every last talk of the month is dedicated to the ­sustainability seminar ­series. Currently, the network ­comprises the ­following universities and research institu­tions:

  • Dimitrie Cantemir Christian University, Romania
  • National Technical University of Ukraine, Ukraine
  • Poznań University of Life Sciences, ­­Poland
  • Riga Technical University, Latvia
  • Wigner Research Centre for Physics, Hungary
  • Technische Universität Wien, Austria
  • University of Freiburg, Germany
  • Institute for Advanced Study of ­Technical University of Munich, Germany.

However, our vision for the future ­involves expanding the platform and seminar series on sustainability by inviting more ­research institutions from Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Austria, and Germany to participate and ­contribute.

We look forward to the growth and ­enrich­ment of this collaborative platform.

Philosophers in ­Residence

The Philosopher in Residence Fellowship is a new program line at TUM-IAS. It is aimed at internationally leading and ­emerging ­representatives of the field of philosophy who wish to conduct joint projects with TUM professors from the fields of natural sciences, engineering, and life sciences, including ­medicine and health sciences, economics, and ­social ­sciences. The TUM-IAS ­recognizes that ­innovative developments in modern ­scientific and technical disciplines are often ­accompanied by implications that require ­philosophical consideration and embedding. The ­one-year ­Fellowship is to be located ­within the ­framework of the TUM Agenda 2030, which pursues a more robust integration of the humanities. Our new program is supported by the TÜV SÜD Foundation, for which we are very thankful.

We are pleased that the first two ­philosophers have started their Fellowships in 2023:

  • Roberto Giuntini (Professor at ­Uni­versity of Cagliari) works with his hosts, Hans Joachim Bungartz (Professor of ­­Scientific Computing in Computer ­Science), ­Stefania Centrone (Professor of Philosophy and Philosophy of Science), and Klaus Mainzer (TUM Emeritus of ­Excellence) on the topic of “quantum logic and the ­second quantum revolution.”
  • The project undertaken by Rico Gutschmidt (PD at University of Konstanz / ETH Zurich) and his host, ­Eckhard Frick SJ (Professor of Spiritual Care and ­Psychosomatic Health), explores “­boundary situations and spiritual care.”

New Siemens Fellows at the TUM-IAS

Thanks to the generous support of the ­Siemens AG, the TUM-IAS is expanding its research initiatives. In 2023, two ­additional Hans Fischer Senior Fellowships have been awarded. A hearty welcome to our two new ­Fellows, ­Elena Simperl, ­Professor of ­Computer ­Science at King’s College ­London, and ­Rainald Loehner, ­Professor of ­Computational Fluid Dynamics at George Mason University. We are grateful to ­Siemens for their continued ­support, which has made these new research projects in Trustworthy AI and Digital Twin possible. We look forward to closer cooperation at the ­Siemens ­Technology Center at the TUM Campus ­Garching.

New TUM-IAS Program Manager for ­the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s sponsorship programs at TUM

In an effort to intensify the long-standing contacts with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), TUM-IAS has now become the central administrative contact point at TUM for Humboldt Awardees and other AvH sponsorship programs. Since September 2023, Daniela Hägele has been ­responsible for all Humboldt-related inquiries beyond the postdoctoral level. Daniela will advise potential TUM host professors and ­inter­national visitors coming to TUM within an­ ­Alexander von Humboldt program. You can reach her via

TUM Ambassadors

Over many years, numerous international researchers have repeatedly come to TUM as guest scientists or TUM-IAS Fellows and have made significant contributions to TUM through their research. Recognizing their ­exceptional impact, a cohort of distinguished international researchers was awarded the honorary title of TUM ­Ambassador. As new TUM-IAS Members, Ambassadors are ­integrated into the academic life of the ­TUM-IAS, gaining access to offices and ­conference rooms; also, like TUM-IAS ­Alumni Fellows, they receive a certain amount of ­financial ­support for new projects.

Workshop of TUM-IAS Anna Boyksen ­Fellows

The Anna Boysken Fellowships are designed to explore gender- and / or ­diversity-relevant topics in the context of the TUM ­subject portfolio. After 11 years of the Anna ­Boyksen ­Fellowship Program at TUM-IAS, a ­workshop was held on 5 May 2023 to present and document the Fellows’ findings, ­measures, and ­experiences within their research ­projects and at TUM. In addition, the ­Fellows ­proposed several recommendations for TUM in ­advancing toward enhanced diversity, ­inclusion, and equality. These suggestions included issues such as

  • advertising multiple open academic ­positions beyond individual hires;
  • revising the composition of the hiring committees and training on implicit bias and stereotypes;
  • offering courses on inclusive leadership;
  • adapting teaching materials for gender, ­diversity, and inclusion;
  • introducing male mentor programs;
  • actively seeking and ­supporting more professors and Fellows from ­Global South countries to diversify on an ­international scale.

Network of German Institutes for ­Advanced Study

In Germany, more than 20 institutes for ­advanced study exist, each distinguished by varying structures, tasks, and governance. While the majority are university-based and relatively recent establishments, others, such as the Wissenschaftskolleg Berlin or the Hanse Wissenschaftskolleg Delmenhorst, are much older and operate on the basis of their own foundation.

Annually, the German institutes for advanced study support more than 450 Fellows, more than 60 % of whom come from abroad. In doing so, they make an important contribution to the internationality and diversity of the German research landscape. With their ­typically manageable size and flexibility to quickly embrace new research fields, they are successful with agile and innovative scientific operations. Collaboratively, these ­institutions aim to showcase their strengths and achievements through targeted ­public relations ­activities and to promote the ­initiation of new joint projects.

TUM-IAS Fellowship Call

Anticipating the arrival of our new Fellows in 2024, we reflect on the 14 Fellowships granted in 2023, distributed among various Fellowship categories: Hans Fischer (Senior) Fellowship, Anna Boyksen Fellowship, Albrecht Struppler Clinician Scientist Fellowship, and Philosopher in Residence Fellowship.

We are delighted to welcome these newly appointed Fellows from Denmark, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, and USA!

To learn more about our newest Fellows, please consult the chapter “Welcoming Our New Fellows”. For the current call, we are pleased to announce the opportunity to award up to 15 Fellowships (including the ­Dieter Schwarz Fellowship and Dieter Schwarz ­Courageous Research Grant).

Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professorships

For more than a decade, TUM has been ­selecting promising young talents as ­Tenure Track Assistant Professors (W2), after a ­thorough selection process organized by the TUM-IAS. The TUM Faculty Tenure Track represents a performance-oriented career ­model for young scientists with international ­experience, providing from the very ­beginning the realistic prospect toward ­advancing to a ­tenured W3 professorship.

This TUM-IAS Fellowship is named in ­honor of TUM professor Rudolf Mößbauer (­1929–2011), a Nobel Prize laureate in Physics (1961) for his groundbreaking 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 possible career start, they are equally affiliated with the TUM-IAS as Fellows.

In 2023, three new Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professors were appointed. For detailed information on our new Fellows, please see chapters “Events” and “­Welcoming Our New Fellows.”


We are delighted and proud that our Fellows and partners have again received top-class awards in 2023:

ERC Grants

Jia Chen and Matthias Feige, Alumni Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professors of TUM-IAS, received prestigious ERC Consolidator Grants. Jia Chen, Professor for Environmental Sensing and Modeling, works today in the search for greenhouse gas sources in cities. She is developing new types of sensors, methods, and models to precisely localize and quantify the emission sources of greenhouse gases and air pollutants in cities at high resolution. This can be used to efficiently reduce emissions, mitigate climate change, and reduce urban air pollution. ­Matthias Feige, Professor for Cellular Protein Biochemistry, is investigating how cells make and control important proteins. The ­objective is, among others, to find out how faulty ­membrane proteins are detected, which ­repair mechanisms exist, and how ­defective ­proteins, which cannot be repaired, are ­degraded. The results of the project should ­fundamentally advance our understanding of how our cells function and could provide new strategies for treating various­ ­severe ­diseases.

TUM-IAS Alumnus Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professor Job Boekhoven, Professor for Supramolecular Chemistry, is among the three TUM scientists who won ERC Consolidator Grants in 2023. This is already Job Boekhoven’s second ERC Grant after securing an ERC Starting Grant for his proposal ActiDrops in 2019. In his project SynLife, he aims to create synthetic life by researching so-called active droplets. These tiny droplets of insoluble molecules exhibit life-like behavior: they only form when external energy is supplied and multiply by dividing with sufficient energy. NASA defines life as a self-sustaining system ­capable of ­Darwinian evolution. In order to fulfill these criteria, Job Boekhoven wants to develop ­molecules that form a kind of genetic ­material. They are ­intended to influence properties such as the lifespan of the droplets, are passed on when a droplet divides, and can, in new ways, ­mutate and lead to new properties. Such ­artificial evolution could not only help ­provide insights into the origins of life but also make ­Darwinian evolution usable as a tool for ­designing new materials.

Julien Gagneur, TUM ­Professor ­for Computational Molecular Medicine, received an ERC Synergy Grant in 2023 and was made an TUM-IAS Honorary Fellow.

Eitan Yaakobi, TUM-IAS Alumnus Hans ­Fischer Fellow and Associate Professor at the Com­puter Science Department at the Technion – ­Israel Institute of Technology, was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant in 2022 for his research in the field of DNA Storage. DNA storage is an innovative approach that is ­expected to revolutionize information ­storage while dramatically reducing storage ­volume, storing information for the very long term and significantly reducing energy and economic costs.

Highly Cited Researchers

The frequency of citations of a study serves as a reliabe indicator of research quality. ­Annually, Clarivate, a U.S.-based company, assesses the ‘Web of Science’ database it manages, compiling scientific publications across various disciplines. Through this evaluation, Clarivate identifies Highly Cited Researchers, each of whom has authored multiple Highly Cited Papers™ ranked in the top 1 % by citations for their field(s) and ­publication year in the Web of Science™ over the past decade. However, ­citation ­activity is not the sole selection ­indicator. A ­preliminary list based on citation ­activity is refined through qualitative analysis and ­expert ­judgment.

The evaluation’s latest edition shows the ­scientists cited most frequently in their ­respective fields. Researchers who are cited particularly often across different fields are listed in the “Cross-Field” category. In total, the list comprises around 7,125 scientists in no­ particular order, including the following TUM-IAS Fellows:

Ib Chorkendorff (Chemistry), ­Professor at DTU Copen­hagen
Naomi Halas (Material Science), Professor at Rice University
Laura Herz (Cross-Field), Professor at University of Oxford
Peter Nordlander (Material Science), Professor at Rice University
Melanie Schirmer (Cross-Field), Professor at Technical University of Munich
Yang Shao-Horn (Chemistry), Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Yang Shao-Horn (Environment and ­Ecology), Professor at Massachusetts Institute of ­Technology
Thaddeus S. Stappenbeck (­Cross-Field), ­Professor at Washington University.

Awards for further Outstanding Contributions

Johannes Betz, TUM-IAS Rudolf ­Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professor, ­received the Golden Teaching Award 2023 by the ­Students’ Association of Mechanical Engineering for his lecutre titled “Fundamentals of Autonomous Vehicles”.

Ioannis Brilakis, Laing O’Rourke Professor of Construction Engineering at Cambridge ­University, and TUM-IAS Alumnus Hans ­Fischer Senior ­Fellow, was honored the Scherer Award at the European Council on Computing in Construction for 2023, as well as the Thorpe ­Medal at the ­European Council on Computing in ­Construction for 2022.

Andrzej J. Buras was ­awarded the J. J. ­Sakurai Prize for Theoretical ­Particle Physics by the American Physical Society (APS), which recognizes outstanding achievement in particle theory. He earned the prize “for ­exceptional contributions to quark-flavor physics, in particular, ­developing and ­carrying out calculations of higher-­order QCD effects to electroweak transitions, as well as for drawing phenomenological ­connections between ­kaons, D mesons, and B mesons.” Andrzej ­Buras is a Professor Emeritus of Theoretical ­Elementary Particle Physics at TUM and was Carl von Linde Senior Fellow at the TUM-IAS from 2008-2011.

Roberto Giuntini, TUM-IAS ­Philosopher in Residence and Professor at University of ­Cagliari, was elected ­Corresponding Member at the General ­Assembly of the Académie ­Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences (AIPS), held in Münster on 28 September 2023. The object of the Académie ­Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences is to reach a synthesis of the fundamental ­questions of the philosophy of the sciences in an interdisciplinary ­manner.

Gustavo Goldman, TUM-IAS Alumnus Hans Fischer Senior Fellow and Professor at ­University of São Paulo, was honored with the Mosello Schaechter Award 2021 of the­ ­American Society of Microbiology.

Kim Kraus, Physician at TUM ­Univ­ersity Hospital and TUM-IAS Albrecht ­Struppler ­Clinician Scientist Fellow, won the Innovation Prize of the German Society for Radiation ­Oncology (DEGRO – Deutsche ­Gesellschaft für Radioonkologie). This prize is awarded to ­physicians, physicists and technicians who have developed and ­implemented advanced and ­innovative ideas in the field of medical technology and quality assurance in radiation oncology. Kim Kraus was awarded the prize for her work on “­Microbeam therapy in ­Germany - on the way to the clinic.”

TUM-IAS Alumnus Hans Fischer Fellow Luca Magri won the “Artificial Intelligence ­research to enable UK’s net zero target” grant by UK ­Research and Innovation (UKRI). ­Endowed with more than 3 million GBP, the grant, for which Luca Magri applied together with ­Co-PIs, aims at ­using current AI technologies or ­developing and applying new AI ­capabilities to ­address net-zero ­challenges across the fields of ­energy, transportation, environment, and agricultural, and food systems.

Andreea Molnar, TUM-IAS Anna Boyksen Fellow and Associate Professor at Swinburne University of Technology, has been selec­ted as one of the International Science ­­Council Fellows.

TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Senior Fellow ­­Wil ­Schilders, Professor at Eindhoven ­University of Technology, was one of three ­researchers awarded the prestigious NWO Stairway to ­Impact Award in 2022. This award is presented annually by the Dutch Research ­Council (NWO), one of the most important science funding bodies in the Netherlands, and aims to realize ­quality and innovation in science. The ­specific NWO ­Domain ­Science wishes to ­promote ­knowledge ­utilization. With the Stairway to Impact Award, NWO rewards ­scientists who take effective steps to utilize their ­scientific findings to ­tackle a ­societal problem and / or to make an ­­economic ­contribution. In addition, Wil ­Schilders was awarded the high ­royal Dutch award Officier in de Orde van Orenje-­Nassau from the Kingdom of the ­Netherlands. The award was given for his ­extraordinary achievements for the Dutch and ­international mathematics ­community. Also, he was elected a Fellow of the ­European Academy of Sciences.

Mathias Senge, Hans Fischer Senior Fellow and Professor of Organic Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin, received the Trinity Research Excellence Award 2023 in the category “Foster and grow research talent” from Trinity ­College Dublin (2023).

TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Fellow ­Natalia ­Shustova, Professor at University of South ­Carolina, was honored with the ­Friedrich ­Wilhelm ­Bessel Research Award of the ­Alexander von ­Humboldt Foundation. The prize is awarded to ­researchers whose ­outstanding ­academic qualification is ­internationally ­recognized and demonstrated through ­corresponding successes in research. Moreover, they must present a well-founded ­expectation of future ­outstanding academic achievements that will have a lasting impact on their ­discipline ­beyond their ­immediate ­research area.

Every two years, the Applied Vision ­Association (AVA) honors the achievements of an ­outstanding scientist in vision research with the AVA David Marr Medal. This year, Rudolf ­Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant ­Professor Manuel Spitschan, ­Professor of ­Chronobiology & Health at TUM, received the committee’s award for his ­research on how light affects human ­physiology. The award is named in memory of David Marr (1945-1980), one of the ­United Kingdom’s foremost neuroscientists in the field of the ­visual ­system. Spitschan’s research focuses on the effects of light in relation to human physiology and behavior, particularly the interplay of the ­biological clock, ­circadian rhythm, and sleep. The health scientist is ­providing new ­insights into the fundamental properties of ­melanopsin, a light-sensitive photoreceptor ­recently found in the human retina.
Luisa Verdoliva, TUM-IAS Hans Fischer ­Senior ­Fellow, became a Full Professor in April 2023 at the University Federico II of ­Naples, Italy.

Antonia Wachter-Zeh, Alumna Rudolf ­Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant ­Professor of TUM-IAS, was awarded the bi-­annual ­Johann-Philipp-Reis-Prize for significant ­innovations in telecommunications. In the field of post-quantum cryptography, she is ­working on procedures that are secure even when ­quantum computers are used. A ­second key area of her research is ­long-term data ­storage. As the volume of data continues to grow ­exponentially, the need for compact, secure, and long-term archiving solutions ­becomes increasingly critical. One ­promising ­approach involves storing data ­within a ­molecular ­biological system, mimicking the storage of genetic material in DNA.

Awards of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation 2023

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Awardees are members of the TUM-IAS. We congratulate the recent awardees and ­welcome them as our new members.

Carl Friedrich von Siemens Research Award

Meisong Tong, Professor at ­Tongji University, Shanghai, at TUM Chair of High-­Frequency Engineering (Prof. ­Eibert), De­partment of Electrical Engineering

Polina Bayvel, Professor at ­University ­College London, UK, at TUM Chair of ­Communications Engineering (Prof. ­Kramer), Department of Computer ­Engineering.

Friedrich Wilhlem Bessel Award

Natalia Shustova, Professor at ­University of South Carolina, USA, at TUM Chair of ­Inorganic and Organometallic Chemistry (Prof. Fischer), Department of Chemistry.


Seminars, workshops, and conferences are at the heart of ­TUM-IAS’s activities. Throughout 2023, many of our Fellows hosted multi-day conferences on their research topics. In addition, over 150 other events were held at the TUM-IAS. Our Scientists Meet Scientists seminar series, with over 20 lectures ­annually, ­is now offered exclusively online. This makes it easier for the many ­TUM-IAS Fellows and Alumni Fellows from all over the world as well as ­all TUM members at six locations to participate in our current ­research topics seminars. Moreover, we continued to host our Fellow Lunches, and following the Covid-19 ­pandemic, ­reintroduced our public outreach program in the ­neigh­boring ­city of Garching with four public presentations.

Nobel Sustainability ­Summit

For the first time, the Nobel ­Sustainability Trust (NST) and the Technical ­University of Munich (TUM) presented the ­Sustainability Awards supported by the NST. The first two honorees are Professor ­Elena Bou, ­Innovation ­Director of EIT InnoEnergy, for her ­contributions to ­promoting energy start-ups, and Lord ­Nicholas Stern, Professor at the London School of ­Economics and Political ­Science, for his achievements relating to the economic ­aspects of ­climate change.

The winners were selected by a panel of ­international experts and TUM professors ­organized by the TUM-IAS.

The prizes were presented on 9 November 2023 at the Nobel Sustainability Trust ­Summit at the Bavarian Academy of ­Sciences and ­Humanities in Munich. Peter Nobel, Chairman of the Nobel Sustainability Trust, and TUM President Thomas Hofmann handed over the awards.

The Sustainability Awards supported by the NST are given annually to individuals or institutions who have made significant developments of great potential or contributions to implement sustainable solutions for the benefit of humanity.

In 2024, they will be given in the categories “Outstanding Research and Development in the field of Water”, “Outstanding Research and Development in the field of Agriculture”, and “Leadership in Implementation”.

Elena Bou said: “I am honored to receive this inaugural Nobel Sustainability Trust Award. This prize recognizes the determinant roles start-ups, innovation, and entrepreneurship play in the energy transition. Reaching net zero demands new ideas and approaches – it will truly shift the needle on the progress of sustainable energy solutions. Working at EIT InnoEnergy allows me to put this into action every day. Through my research and teaching at ESADE Business School, I hope to encourage and influence the next generation of changemakers.”

Lord Nicholas Stern said in his acceptance speech: “Overall, I am very optimistic about what we can do. We can see a path to a world with much stronger mitigation and adaptation and to a new, much more attractive ­model of growth and development: sustainable, ­resilient, and inclusive. However, I am deeply worried about what we will do. The scale and pace of structural, technological and social change must be large and rapid. That will ­require changes in behavior and institutions. It will require purposive and sustained ­political leadership and strong political pressure from society as a whole on decision-makers to ­deliver change.”

More information can be found here:

TUM-IAS ­General Assembly

Our General Assembly represents the highlight of our academic year, featuring talks from our Fellows and Focus Groups, poster presentations of doctoral candidates, and a keynote lecture. TUM-IAS Fellows attended our meeting enriching the discussions and exchanges.

Julijana Gjorgjieva, Professor for Computational Neuroscience at TUM School of Life Sciences and TUM-IAS ­Honorary Fellow, gave the 2023 Linde Lecture ­titled “Teaching the Brain to See: Models of ­Neural Circuit Development and Learning.” She ­presented her research on how diverse mechanisms work together to set up ­neural circuits shortly after an animal is born, ­enabling it to gradually acquire cognitive and behavioral capabilities. In her outlook, she mentioned recent work on ­understanding a higher ­cognitive function in human ­circuits, namely the ability to generate and ­understand ­language.

Full Program

Fast and Cost-Efficient Evaluation of Air ­Pollution Exposure in Urban and ­Rural ­Areas Using Machine Learning, Frank Keutsch, Professor of Engineering and Atmospheric Science at Harvard University, Hans Fischer Senior Fellow

Optimal Control for Highly Flexible ­Robots, Karin Nachbagauer, Professor for ­Applied Mathematics at University of Applied ­Sciences Upper Austria, Hans Fischer Fellow funded by Siemens AG

Quantum Computing and Quantum Simulation, Christian Mendl, Rudolf Mößbauer ­Tenure Track Assistant Professor at TUM School of Computation, Information and Technology

Detecting DeepFakes, Luisa ­Verdoliva, ­Professor at the Department for ­Industrial Engineering at University Federico II of ­­Naples, Hans Fischer Senior Fellow

Factors Influencing Young Women to ­Enroll in IT at TUM, Andreea Molnar, Professor at Swinburne University of Technology, Anna Boyksen Fellow

Electrifying Chemical Production: Electrochemical Ammonia Synthesis, Ib Chorkendorff, Professor in Heterogeneous Catalysis at Technical University of Denmark, Hans Fischer Senior Fellow

Extreme Events on Structures. The Key Role of Multiphysics Simulation, Antonia ­Larese, University of Padua, Hans Fischer Fellow

Markets and Governance in the Digital Economy

Hans Fischer Senior Fellow, Kathleen ­Thelen, Professor at Massachussetts ­Institute of Technology, and her host, Eugénia da ­Conceição-Heldt, Professor at the TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, organized a workshop on the topic “Markets and Governance in the Digital Economy” at the Hochschule für Politik München on 19 May 2023. It focused on the origins and ­evolution of ­political-economic institutions in rich ­democracies and their impact on ­contemporary ­political ­outcomes.

Curriculum Comedy

Anna Boyksen Fellow, Meike Schalk, ­Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm organized together with SOFT – School of Transformation (TUM) the three-day symposium Curriculum Comedy at the Department of Architecture, TUM School of Engineering and Design, in November 2022.

This symposium took the form of a play and set the stage for conversations about the architecture curriculum. Questions such as “How do we learn and work together?”, “What are the sources of our Canon, and who does it takes into account?”, and “What knowledge and experiences are we missing” were adressed. Three acts with lectures, workshops, and round tables dealt with the learning / unlearning of gender norms and ­unreflected biases in architecture, work cultures and well-being, and equitable ­pedagogies in humorous and serious ways.

Selection Symposium for Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professorships

For the last ten years, TUM-IAS has been responsible for selecting up to five Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Assistant Professorships per year. From 22 to 24 March 2023, short­listed ­candidates presented their ­research ­vision at the selection symposium “­Selected Topics in Science and Technology”. The presentations were open to the public, and ­covered the following research areas:

  • Cyber Security and Cryptography
  • Green Hydrogen Production and ­Hydrogen Storage Technology
  • Neutron-based Methods for Energy or Quantum Materials
  • Participation and Diversity in Digital ­Societies
  • Preventive Medicine
  • Statistical Modelling and Uncertainty Quantification for Spatio-Temporal Data

Out of 138 applications received, 21 ­candidates were shortlisted and invited, and of those, 19 candidates presented for interviews. Individual and comparative peer ­reviews were ­collected for these candidates. Five candidates were proposed to the TUM ­Management Board for a Rudolf Mößbauer Assistant Tenure Track ­Assistant Professorship.
Mathias Senge, TUM-IAS Hans ­Fischer ­Senior Fellow and Professor at Trinity ­College Dublin, served as a member of the ­commission as an external expert. We owe him a debt of gratitude for his valuable ­advice ­and­ professional evaluations.

Workshop on Optimal Transport, ­Mean-Field Models, and Machine Learning

TUM-IAS Hans Fischer Senior Fellow ­Giuseppe Savaré, Professor at Bocconi University, ­organized a workshop on Optimal ­Transport, ­Mean-Field ­Models, and ­Machine ­Learning (OTMFML) in April 2023. It aimed to ­highlight the ­interactions between ­optimal transport, ­mean-field control, and ­machine ­learning. It focused on innovative ideas to address crucial problems of high-dimensionality, nonlinearity, and ­nonconvexity, seeking the best ­examples and practice of successful deployment of mathematics to provide guarantees for ­practicable machine learning. The workshop was ­organized in ­cooperation with Martin Burger, ­Professor at Friedrich-­­Alexander-Universität ­­Erlangen- Nürnberg, Massimo ­Fornasier, ­Professor of Applied Numerical Analysis at TUM, ­Gabriel Peyré, Professor in the Mathematics and Applications Department of the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and ­TUM-IAS.

Women In Science@TUM - WISTUM

The project is an initiative of Anna Boyksen Fellow Shobhana Narasimhan, Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced ­Scientific Research, India. In our society, there are significant elements of unequal treatment of different people, ­especially about their ­origin and gender or gender ­identity. ­Unfortunately, this also applies to the academic environment, including the STEM domain. In her project, ­Shobhana ­Narasimhan and her group have been ­developing a computer-based “cooperative ­discussion game” on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the ­scientific field. The game allows ­players to experience the stories and learnings of ­inspiring individuals who have ­overcome significant challenges due to ­inequality. Shobhana Narasimhan wants to increase the visibility and recognition of potentially successful but ­underrepresented groups of people. Unlike other passive ­media, a game allows players to actively engage with the ­issue and broaden their experience.

In her workshop on 8 and 9 May 2023, she also wanted to introduce the TUM community to a variety of ­perspectives and experiences of women in science from across the globe. It aimed to provide a platform for these women to share their stories, establish connections, and ­foster a ­supportive ­network. ­Additionally, the ­workshop sought to gather valuable insights that could ­contribute to the ongoing game ­project.

Women in STEM – Voices from the ­Developing World

Another part of the WISTUM workshop was a one-day conference on “Women in STEM – Voices from the Developing World.” In the presentations, guests from around the world ­introduced themselves and shared their ­journey and experiences as ­female ­researchers in science in developing ­countries.

The international guests:

  • Shazrene Mohamed, Professor of ­Computational Stellar Astrophysics, ­University of ­Miami, USA and University of Capetown, South Africa
  • Rabia Salihu Sa’id, Professor of Atmospheric and Space-Weather Physics, ­Bayero University, Nigeria
  • Marta Antonelli, TUM Ambassador and Head of the Laboratory of Perinatal ­Programming of Neurodevelopment, ­University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Jinky Bornales, Vice Chancellor for ­Research and Extension and Project ­Leader of the Center of Innovation and Technopreneurship, Mindanao State University-­Iligan Institute of Technology, Philippines

All speakers shared their experiences on how they were able to successfully pursue their scientific careers in hostile ­environments, which behavioral and communication ­methods were particularly helpful to them and offered recommendations based on their experiences.

CardioMRI Symposium - From MR Physics and Novel Hardware to Artificial Intelligence: making CMR a more Accessible and Affordable Imaging Modality

This workshop of Hans Fischer Senior ­Fellow René M. Botnar, Professor at King’s ­College London, in July 2023 addressed cardiac MR (CMR) as a highly complex and rather expensive imaging exam that ­requires highly trained MR technicians and clinicians and is mainly performed in very ­specialized settings in tertiary ­academic hospitals. The workshop discussed how the latest ­developments in Artificial ­Intelligence (AI), MR acquisition / reconstruction, and ­low-field MRI, in ­combination with ­knowledge gained from large CMR clinical trials / biobanks, could turn CMR into an easy-to-use and ­affordable ­mainstream imaging modality like ­computed ­tomography. More specifically, it was ­discussed how the latest ­developments in MR physics, ­motion correction, and image reconstruction can be harnessed to enable a self-driving CMR exami­nation (no ­planning, no breath holds) that ­provides ­comprehensive disease ­characterization in a short, less than 10-minute scan. We asked how AI can enable ­automated image ­acquisition, ­reconstruction, processing, and analysis and create ­automated ­diagnosis and ­treatment planning. To better ­understand where CMR could play an increasing role in the ­patient ­pathway, ­lessons learned from large clinical ­trials / biobanks were taken. ­Finally, ­participants ­discussed the ­potential of AI to replace the use of gadolinium.

Learning outcomes:

  • Understand how novel, more ­intelligent MR sequences, including quantitative multi-parametric MRI, can provide a comprehensive diagnosis with minimal user input.
  • Understand how the latest develop­ments in AI can facilitate automated ­processing and analysis of complex and ­multi-­contrast MR datasets.
  • Understand the value of clinical trials / biobanks in identifying new biomarkers and the economic value of CMR in comparison with other imaging modalitie­s.

Advocates and Allies - Male Allies for ­Gender Equality

On 19 June 2023, TUM-IAS Anna ­Boyksen ­Fellow Andrea Erhardt and Hans ­Fischer ­Senior ­Fellow Gregory Erhardt, Professors at ­University of Kentucky, organized a ­workshop on “Advocates and Allies - Male ­Allies for ­Gender Equality”. The workshop aimed to ­address the underrepresentation of ­women in the ­sciences by engaging men as ­advocates and allies. Led by the ­instructors ­Gregory Erhardt, along with Rolf Moeckl and ­Martin ­Elsner, both Professors at TUM the ­workshop provided a platform for open ­dialogue on ­topics ­including implicit bias, ­workplace ­culture, effective ­communication, and ­handling ­resistance. Attendees explored best ­practices, shared relevant examples, and ­received ­guidance for future actions to ­promote ­gender equity in ­science.

Gentoberfest - Crossing Bridges Between Bioinformatics and Clinical Research

This conference organized in October 2023 by Hans Fischer Senior Fellow Lothar Hennighausen, National Institute of Health, USA aimed at crossing the bridges between theory and clinical practice, hence, finding common ground between bioinformaticians and clinicians.

The sessions:

  • Discovery of Gene-Regulatory (­Network)Mechanisms
    Gene regulatory networks ­encompass a multitude of regulatory layers ­ranging from transcription factors to long ­non-­coding RNAs, circRNAs or microRNAs. Furthermore, epigenetic ­mechanisms, such as DNA methylation or ­histone ­modifications, are key determinants of gene activity. This session focused on current challenges and ­advances in ­discovering and understanding gene ­regulatory ­mechanisms and networks.
  • Using AI in Genetic Diagnostics
    Artificial intelligence (AI) has shown ­impressive results across fields and is starting to gain traction in the medical domain, especially in image processing. However, the expected breakthrough in genetics has not yet materialized ­despite countless genome-wide association ­studies. Considering the potential of AI in genetic ­diagnostics, this session focused on ­current challenges and future ­developments.
  • Implementing OMICS Technology ­in Clinical Practice
    OMICS technologies (e.g., genomics, ­trans­criptomics, proteomics, and meta­bolomics) allow an understanding of the ­molecular landscapes in an ­­unpre­­cedented resolution. Even though OMICS technologies have shown potential for prognosis, diagnostics, and treatment monitoring, their use in ­clinical routine is still an ­exception. This session highlighted the ­successes of OMICS data in ­clinical ­practice and discussed how integrating ­different technologies can lead to more ­widespread and robust applications.
  • Data Storage and Sharing - Between FAIR Open Science and the GDPR ­and Ethics
    The unprecedented wealth of biological and genomic data that has already been generated, dwarfed by the OMICS data that will soon be routinely collected in clinical medicine. In spite of the huge potential of such data for research, the experience shows that the General Data Protection Regulation and other legislative barriers prevent researchers from leveraging such data towards improving the understanding of diseases and the development of new diagnostic tools. This session provided an opportunity for discussing FAIR data sharing and usage of valuable datasets for scientific purposes in a GDPR-compliant fashion, to pave the way to open science.
  • Drug Target Prediction and Drug ­Repurposing
    Eroom’s law shows that the costs for drug discovery have become ­prohibitively large such that alternative strategies are ­needed for widening the existing ­treatment ­options. Research highlights two ­avenues here. A better ­understanding of drug-­target ­interactions will help ­develop more targeted therapies ­following the ­precision ­medicine paradigm. At the same time, a ­better ­understanding of disease ­mechanisms and drug-­target ­interactions enables ­informed drug ­repurposing ­strategies, where ­existing drugs can be leveraged ­effectively and ­after shortened clinical ­trials for the ­benefit of the ­patients. For both strategies, the availability of ­high-­quality datasets and the ­successful use of AI methods are ­imperative. This ­session was ­dedicated to assessing ­current advances in the fields of drug ­target ­predictions and drug ­repurposing.
  • Latest Developments in OMICS ­Technologies
    Since the introduction of ­microarrays in 1995, an ever-increasing variety of new tech­nologies has provided new ­opportunities - among them, ­single-cell ­analyses, ­long-read, and spatial ­sequencing readouts. With new ­technologies, new ­challenges in data analysis arise and more advanced ­computational ­methods are ­needed to unearth the wealth of ­information from existing datasets. This session addressed the latest (­sequencing) ­technological and methodological developments and their ­impact on clinical ­diagnostics.

Workshop on Neuromorphic Computing and Rehabilitation

Neuromorphic computing is at the ­forefront of technological innovation, seeking to ­emulate the remarkable capabilities of the human brain in silicon. As students ­pursuing excellence in neural engineering, this workshop presented a unique ­opportunity to delve into the world of neuromorphic ­computation, interact with leading experts, and gain insights into the latest advancements in this ­fascinating field. The ­workshop was ­organized by Hans ­Fischer Senior ­Fellow ­Nitish ­Thakor, Professor of ­Biomedical ­Engineering at Johns ­Hopkins University, and his host ­Gordon Cheng, ­Professor at the TUM School of ­Computation, ­Information and Technology, in October 2023. The Hans Fischer Senior Fellowship of Nitish Thakor is funded by the ­Siemens AG.

Quantumness: from Logic to Engineering and back

Roberto Giuntini is TUM-IAS Philosopher in Residence and Professor at the University of Cagliari. The leitmotiv of his research is based on the idea that quantum formalism finds applications beyond the realm of ­micro­physics, encompassing the domains of ­cognitive and social sciences as well. The ­burgeoning ­research into quantum information and computation marks a significant milestone that can be dubbed “the second quantum revolution.” The first quantum ­revolution of the 20th ­century deeply changed the fundamental concepts of physics and our ­understanding of the physical world. The second quantum ­revolution of the 21st ­century is leading to ­dramatic ­technological changes in our ­society and shaping new conceptual and ­logical ­paradigms. The new workshop ­series is ­dedicated to this ­topic. The first ­session on 6 December 2023, included ­Guiseppe ­Sergiolo, Professor at University of Cagliari, ­Roberto Giuntini and Rudolf ­Mößbauer ­Tenure Track Professor Christian Mendl, TUM School of ­Computation, ­Information and Technology.

Exploring Global Governance ­Dynamics: Workshop on “The Evolution of ­International Regime Complexes”

In December 2023, Eugénia da Conceição-­Heldt, TUM-IAS Carl von Linde ­Senior Fellow and Professor at the TUM School of Social ­Sciences and Technology, gathered scholars for a ­two-day ­workshop to delve into the ­intricate ­dynamics of international regime complexes. The workshop was hosted in ­collab­oration with the American ­University and Temple ­University. It engaged in rigorous ­debates around the evolving nature of ­international ­regimes, focusing on both ­exogenous shocks and endogenous trans­formations that shape the global ­governance landscape. The ­insights gained from the ­discussions are ­expected to ­contribute to ­ongoing scholarly debates and inform future research on the ­evolution of ­international ­regime complexes.