Research at the Department of Mechanical Engineering covers a broad scope with focus on Energy- and Chemical Technology, Product Engineering and Logistics, Mechatronics, Ship and Nanotechnology. Research is funded by the State of Nordrhein-Westfalia, the Federal Ministry of Economy and Technology, the German Research Foundation, the European Union and industrial corporations.

Institutes embedded within the Department of Mechanical Engineering collaborate closely with four associated institutes thereby emphasizing the applied character of research in engineering sciences. The Institute for Energy and Environmental Technology (IUTA) carries out research and development in air pollution control, filtration, sustainable nanotechnology, industrial hygiene, gas conditioning, hydrogen technology and nano-particle synthesis. The IWW Water Center is a research and consulting center for drinking water, process, industrial and waste water in the areas of water resource management, water technology, water quality, applied microbiology, and management consulting. The development center for ship technology and transport systems (DST) investigates transport systems, shallow water hydrodynamics, and ship development and ship operation technology. The Center for Fuel Cell Technology (ZBT) is developing low temperature fuel (PEM) cell technology including compact reactors for decentralized hydrogen generation and gas purification. Fuel cells and their components as well as safely operating electrical power systems are constructed.