Interdisciplinary Collaboration - Matchmaking for Innovative Research Projects

The matchmaking workshop in December 2022 was the starting point for many interdisciplinary project ideas. Image: Project House/TU Braunschweig

1st Round Seedfunding Interdisciplinary Collaboration – eight projects funded

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Hecker, Vice President for Research and Early Career Scientists, and Prof. Dr. Katja Koch, Vice President for Organisational Development and Teacher Training, are very satisfied with the results of the first round of the Interdisciplinary Collaboration Program: 50 participants attended the matchmaking workshop in December 2023; 30 interdisciplinary project proposals from various disciplines at TU Braunschweig were submitted.

Vice presidents Prof. Peter Hecker and Prof. Katja Koch at the matchmaking workshop. Image: Project House/TU Braunschweig

"The program started very well, the quality of the interdisciplinary proposals was excellent. The teams submitted highly innovative ideas that meet the commission's criteria of interdisciplinarity, certainty of results and feasibility," says Prof. Hecker.

"We are very pleased to see that during the application phase, after the matchmaking workshop, there has obviously been a lot of interdisciplinary exchange. This valuable collaboration then led to the interesting applications, which shows how much potential interdisciplinary approaches hold in terms of both research questions and methodology," said Prof. Koch.

The commission also noted that a large number of early career researchers are involved in the submissions and that regional as well as international references are made in the projects. Unfortunately, not all applications can be funded, but a second funding round is planned. The interdisciplinary teams can also seek advice from the research service regarding other funding opportunities.

The funded projects in detail:

  • Anthrosols and Technosols - Interdisciplinary approaches to historical landfills as urban soil archives (Prof. Dr. Franziska Neumann, Institute for Historical Studies; Prof. Dr. Ilhan Özgen & Dr. Sascha Iden, Institute of Geoecology; Prof. Dr. Matthias Bücker, Institute of Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics): This project will study soils influenced by humans, so-called anthrosols and technosols, from a geoecological and historical perspective and using geophysical methods. Using the example of a landfill site from the 18th century on Braunschweig's Gaußberg, the aim is to explore what information and knowledge can be gained from an "urban soil archive" of this kind for all the disciplines involved in the project.
  • How Metaphors shape Biotechnology (Prof. Dr. Stefan Dübel & Dr. Maren Schubert, Institute of Biochemistry, Biotechnology and Bioinformatics; Prof. Dr. Stefan Heuser & Daniel Keck, Institute of Evangelical Theology and Religious Education): In their project, Prof. Dübel and Prof. Heuser investigate the function and use of metaphors in biotechnological research and its mediation. They focus especially on the importance of metaphors for gaining scientific knowledge, their relevance in methodology and theory formation, their ethical dimension in science and their role in public science communication.
  • Win2 - Ways in psychology and in geoecology: interdisciplinary research by methods exchange (Jan de Haan, Prof. Dr. Frank Eggert, Alex Rieger, Institute of Psychology; Prof. Dr. Boris Schröder-Esselbach, Dr. Anne-Kathrin Schneider, Dr. Swantje Löbel, Dr. Anett Schibalski, Institute of Geoecology): Our goal is to promote interdisciplinary research through an exchange of methods which will enrich both disciplines in aspects of data collection, analysis and interpretation. This will substantially expand the possibilities of both disciplines to formally model their respective content areas and research questions and to arrive at new insights.
  • inter-fire: Interdisciplinary research in ecological, numerical, and mathematical analysis of wildfire hazards (Dr. Cordula Reisch, Institute for Partial Differential Equations; Prof. Dr. Ilhan Özgen & Prof. Dr. Boris Schröder- Esselbach, Institute for Geoecology): Forest fires are large, unpredictable fires whose origin and spread are not yet fully understood. Our project inter-fire aims to use analytical considerations, numerical simulations and approaches from theoretical ecology to gain insights into the mechanisms of wildfire spread and damage.
  • Interdisciplinary "digging" in Querumer Forst (Prof. Dr. Folke Köbberling, Institute of Architecture-Related Art; Prof. Dr. phil. Ulrike Fauerbach, Institute of Building History; Prof. Dr. Klaus Thiele, Institute of Building Construction and Timber Structures; Prof. Dr. Matthias Bücker, Institute of Geophysics and Extraterrestrial Physics; Prof. Dr. Christian Kehrt, Institute of History, History of Science and Technology): The research team will test new research approaches and methods from the fields of building research, urban and university history, monument protection, forensic architecture on the site of the former bombardment and reinforced concrete tests in Querumer Forst. Further, it will reflect on the future artistic implementation of contemporary commemorative concepts. The common goal is to deal with the legacy of wartime research and the possible associated crimes of Nazi forced labor in a critical and sustainable manner and to anchor findings with the help of an interdisciplinary investigation.
  • The Evolution of Digital Twins at the Boundary between Technical and Social Dimensions (Prof. Dr.-Ing. Daniel Schröder & Dr.-Ing. Nga Thi Quynh Do, Institute of Energy and Process Systems Engineering; Prof. Dr. Christian Ebner & Dr. Stefan Gründler, Institute of Sociology): The aim of the EvoDi project is to shed light on the use of "digital twins" in industrial manufacturing, e.g. for materials for the energy transition, from an engineering and labor sociology perspective. Specifically, the study focuses on the interaction of technical work processes and effectiveness of use, as well as concrete working conditions and the employees’ perception.
  • Adaptive mesh criteria for highly nonlinear partially saturated concrete (Dr. Cordula Reisch, Institute for Partial Differential Equations; Dr. Knut Andreas Meyer, Institute of applied mechanics): Numerical simulations help to assess degregation processes in concrete. In this project, we improve simulations for porous media in the interplay between accuracy and computational effort by defining and implementing new criteria for adaptive mesh refinement in the nonlinear partial differential equation.
  • Multiscale analyses of high- performance fibre reinforced polymer composites (Dr. Aditya Thakur, Institute of Space Systems; Prof. Dr. Libo Yan, Institute of Building Materials, Concrete Construction and Fire Protection): The project aims to employ novel manufacturing techniques to simultaneously and systematically tailor the micro-structure and the net-design, resulting in composite structures with multi-scale modularity. This approach is hypothesized to facilitate ‘deriving the most out of limited resources’, a prerequisite inherent to the research goals of both participating institutes.

First Round Interdisciplinary Collaboration in figures

  • Number of profiles submitted: 47
  • Participants at the Matchmaking Workshop: 53
  • Project proposal submissions: 30
  • Persons involved in project proposals: 76
  • Institutes involved in project proposals: 48
  • Faculties involved in project proposals: 6
  • Funded projects: 8
  • Total funding sum: 103,900.00 €



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