Research profile & main Areas


The expertise of more than 65 research groups is divided into five key research areas:

  • Dynamic processes in solid-state bodies
  • Gas phase synthesis
  • Magnetism
  • Nano-biomaterials
  • Nanoenergy technology

The exceptional “NanoEnergieTechnikZentrum” (NETZ) research facility on the Duisburg campus combines basic research and applied further processing in the field of energy technology.

Also located here is the “Interdisciplinary Center for Analytics on the Nanoscale” (ICAN), which is open to internal and external users. This facility not only boasts an unparalleled range of equipment, but also the professional expertise to go with it. Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in “Nanoengineering” have been open to the nano-experts of the future here since 2006.

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Biomedical sciences

The key research area of “Biomedical Science” at the UDE combines the basic research into natural sciences undertaken at the Essen campus with the clinical research at Essen University Hospital. This comprises the Centre for Medical Biotechnology (ZMB) and the Erwin L. Hahn Institute, an inter-university, multidisciplinary research institution for the research and application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in neurosciences, medical diagnostics and therapy. The active networking between the research groups promotes and facilitates the development of ideas and innovations through cooperation and a diverse range of joint interdisciplinary projects. The latest research results can be incorporated directly into a variety of scenarios, from clinical research right through to the implementation of clinical trials.

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Joint center urban systems

In one of Europe’s largest metropolitan areas, engineering, business, natural and social scientists are focusing on the future of urban systems, working on sustainable concepts for the development of human living spaces in the context of structural change. To this end, ecological, economic and sociological perspectives have to be brought together and translated into politically feasible strategies. The integration of the city and its transport infrastructure, the mobility behaviour of passenger and freight transport, the rational management of waste and traffic within urban structures, and the reliable determination of water quality are just some of the key areas being addressed by a large number of working groups.

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Transformation of contemporary societies

The transformation of contemporary societies is essentially a reaction to the phenomena surrounding the dissolution of boundaries. In virtually all areas of community life, it is clear that social processes extend beyond the boundaries imposed by the spheres of established social institutions, whose social constructs, norms and behavioural patterns successfully regulated these processes in the 20th century. Boundary dissolution phenomena with considerable consequences for the world’s social development can also be found in so-called fragile societies, which have not cultivated this type of institutional system, or else lost it in the course of political upheaval. These phenomena can even be seen both “outwardly” and “inwardly”: outwardly as a breach of the limitations of the entire social institutions (cross-societal dissolution); inwardly as a breach of the limitations of institutions aimed specifically at individual fields of action within a community (intra-societal dissolution). Dissolution phenomena lead to a loss of influence of the established social institutions, creating the need to form a new order. The focus of this key research area is therefore to investigate new types of order formation in restricted circumstances.

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Water Research

Water - safe and clean it should be and supply billions of people. This resource is being used more and more intensively, which is why a sustainable and global water cycle is one of the greatest social challenges of our time. The UDE has therefore established the profile focus on water research.

Under the leadership of the Centre for Water and Environmental Research (ZWU), 90 water experts* from 29 UDE professorships in the natural and engineering sciences, medicine and social sciences are working together with colleagues from the UA Ruhr, affiliated institutes and partners from industry on the question: How can we succeed in ensuring that water and sanitation facilities are available to all people and that this precious resource is managed sustainably? Projects focus on water treatment and purification, biodiversity and the environmental consequences of heavy rainfall. This much concentrated expertise need a research centre: This is why the FutureWaterCampus will be built in Essen by 2022.

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