FAU is one of the strongest and most reputable research universities in Germany, boasting a large number of outstanding academic approaches and perspectives. Moreover, as a so-called ‘full university’, it brings all disciplines together under one roof. Short distances are extremely conducive to interdisciplinary collaborations. FAU thus offers perfect conditions for the generation of innovative ideas, which often emerge at the interface between several disciplines and span different fields of research.
Such unconventional, and at times risky, ideas are what advances scientific research and at the same time has positive effects on teaching. However, despite their great potential in terms of future development and success, these projects do usually not receive funding from traditional sources, at least not in their early stages. Therefore, FAU launched its Emerging Fields Initiative (EFI) in 2010.
The EFI aims to promote outstanding, preferably interdisciplinary research projects at an early stage and in a flexible and non-bureaucratic way. In doing so, the EFI aims to enable renowned FAU researchers to put visionary ideas into practice and thus to react more quickly and more effectively to upcoming challenges. This internal funding scheme for excellent research will increase FAU’s reputation as a leading university and enhance its attraction by highlighting FAU’s unique selling points, increasing FAU’s attraction as an employer for excellent researchers both from Germany and from abroad, and expanding FAU’s strategic alliances with key partners.
In the first round of EFI funding nine top FAU research projects successfully applied for funding in a highly competitive process. The University has provided funds to the volume of 4.4 million euros over a period of two years for these projects. As part of the interim evaluation, all nine project-teams presented significant research results and succeeded in convincing the university governing board and the external reviewers. Therefore they will receive a total of 2 million euro as final funding in 2015.
In the second round of the Emerging Fields Initiative nine new projects were selected as winners. They will be granted a total of six million euro during the first two funding years; their interim evaluation will take place in the second half of 2015.