The Joint Centre Urban Systems (JUS) is an inter- and transdisciplinary "umbrella" research centre with central facilities at the University of Duisburg-Essen (UDE) and represents the university’s strategic research area "urban systems". The JUS is part of a greater scientific cooperation within the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr), which, together with the Ruhr University of Bochum and the Technical University of Dortmund, founded the Competence Field Metropolitan Research (KoMet).

JUS follows a "systems approach" in the analysis, understanding and necessary transition of cities and the entities systemically connected to them. The urban system is characterized by nested organisation and interlocking perspectives on compartments, e.g. of urban core infrastructures, in addition to spatial and above all functional relationships (e.g. mobility, supply), network perspectives of actors or organizations, narratives of the city or of "urbanity", impact of urban environments (e.g. in the sense of public urban health or ecological footprints) as well as in terms of technological options of urban design, e.g. within the framework of "smart city" concepts. In addition to many interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research questions, this results in further challenges for JUS beyond the classic academic framework: Which methods can be (further) developed here? What role do they and academia play in the necessary urban transition processes?