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Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Peter Greil, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering

Wherever there is change and development, you will find engineers, natural scientists and computer scientists at work. Striving for progress is, after all, their essential motivation. The particular appeal of the Faculty of Engineering at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) lies precisely in this dynamic and interdisciplinary commitment to the pursuit of innovation.
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Peter Greil, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering

A unique look at the atomic structure of materials

How are atoms arranged in a material? How are they bonded together? The answers to these questions are the key to understanding how materials behave – and how they can be improved to make them even more stable, heat-resistant or conductive. Researchers at FAU have a new tool to help them here – one of the world’s best transmission electron microscopes. On 30 April, the new Institute of Micro and Nanostructure Research which houses this powerful piece of equipment was officially opened by Bernd Sibler, a state secretary at the Bavarian State Ministry of Education, Science and the Arts.

‘The new transmission electronic microscope and the Institute of Micro and Nanostructure Research have opened up brand new research opportunities with the potential to boost the international reputation of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’, the University as a whole and, last but not least, Bavaria as a key location for research. Today at FAU, ... Read on...

FAU’s materials science is world class

In 2015, FAU is once again ranked among the top universities in research and teaching compared with other universities around the world. 13 subjects from the humanities, sciences, medicine and engineering are among the best 300 worldwide and materials science was once again ranked in the top 100. Competition was fierce. QS Quacquarelli Symonds, an established provider of specialist higher education and careers information and global rankings, assessed 3551 universities and produced a ranking of the top institutions according to individual disciplines.

This year, FAU, which is the second-largest university in Bavaria and one of the leading research universities in Germany, is listed among the top 150 institutions in chemistry, chemical engineering, pharmacy and pharmacology. In astronomy, linguistics, medicine and physics, it is ranked among the best 200. Materials science is ranked among the top 100 worldwide, as it was in 2014. In terms of the subjects on offer, FAU is considered one of... Read on...

FAU gets the green light for planned moves

„We are delighted with the decision made by the Cabinet in its meeting today in favour of our planned site development,“ says Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, President of FAU. „It is a big step towards making our „Vision FAU 2030” concept a reality, as it means that we have the go-ahead for our plans. Thanks to the Council of Ministers’ decision, negotiations regarding the purchase of the former AEG site can begin and we can then develop our plans for the move.“

For researchers and students a key benefit of these plans is that the various parts of the Faculty of Engineering which are currently spread out across almost 30 locations in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region would be brought together on two large sites, considerably reducing the time needed to travel between locations. It would also mean greater opportunities for creative discussion and an exchange of ideas.

After the move, around half of the Faculty of Engineering’s stude... Read on...

Researchers work on more sustainable nappies

Collaboration between FAU and Procter & Gamble aims to further improve the environmental impact of disposable nappies: Disposable nappies are easy to use, practical when on the move, and particularly good at keeping the skin dry. FAU researchers are now working with the multinational consumer goods company Procter & Gamble (P&G) to improve the material properties of disposable nappies. The aim is to make them considerably more environmentally friendly. Carbohydrate sources from agricultural by-products could be used as the basis of the extremely absorbent granules inside babies’ nappies and similar hygiene products.

Nowadays the cores of disposable nappies are made of polyacrylic acid, a superabsorbent polymer. The granules can absorb many times their own weight in liquid and – unlike a sponge – trap it permanently inside a kind of gel. Each year, globally more than five million tons of acrylic acid are produced from oil, and around 30 percent is used for hy... Read on...

Students from a variety of disciplines bring forward innovative concepts

Companies need innovative minds to move forward and stay ahead of their competition and students need the chance to test themselves in real life topics and learn from them. At the “Innovation Research Lab” (IRL) at the Central Institute for Healthcare Engineering (ZIMT), both have the chance to meet. FAU launched the lab in order to give students a creative and productive environment to develop their ideas.

The IRL offers lectures and practical training sessions on the topics of Innovation management, interdisciplinary innovations in healthcare and product design to the students. Furthermore, they have the possibility to work on their thesis or complete the “Interdisciplinary Management” internship offered from Siemens Healthcare and ZIMT. Additionally the IRL is working with international students and researchers from around the world.

The IRL is run by Sultan Haider, founder and manager of the Innovation think Tank at Siemens Healthcare. “We ar... Read on...

New FAU vice presidents elected

Prof. Dr. Nadine Gatzert, Prof. Dr. Antje Kley and Prof. Dr. Günter Leugering are FAU’s three new vice presidents, elected by the University Council in the vote on 27 February following the recommendations of FAU’s president-elect, Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger. The vice presidents’ term of office will begin at the same time as that of the new president on 1 April 2015 and will span a period of three years.

Professor Gatzert will be responsible for research as the successor to Prof. Hornegger, who has been Vice President for Research since 2011. Professor Kley, who has been vice president since October 2012, will continue to represent teaching and learning. Professor Leugering will be responsible for international affairs in his role as vice president. After two terms of office, the current Vice President for International Affairs, Prof. Dr. Christoph Korbmacher, now wishes to focus his attention so... Read on...

Success in energy reform

Renewable energies saved German electricity consumers 11.2 billion euros in 2013 Germany’s energy consumers saved a total of 11.2 billion euros in 2013 because large amounts of renewable energy was fed into the electricity grid. This was recently discovered by researchers at FAU.

For their discussion paper entitled ‘Deutschland ohne Erneuerbare Energien? – Stromkosten und Versorgungssicherheit ohne die Einspeisung Erneuerbarer Energien in den Jahren 2011–2013′ (Germany without renewable energy? – Electricity costs and supply security without renewable energy in 2011–2013), the researchers analysed the development of electricity prices over the past few years for Siemens AG as part of the Campus Future Energy Systems (FES) initiative.

Read on…

DFG Research Unit to work on improving optical data transmission systems

Light signals in optical fibres can be used to transmit very large quantities of data very quickly with minimal disruption. For this reason, demand is growing for even more of their potential to be harnessed in infrastructure and industry, such as in the automotive and aviation industries. What should production processes look like in order to integrate systems which transmit data using light into existing components in the best possible way? This is the main research question that a newly established DFG Research Unit will be investigating. Researchers at FAU will play a key role in the Research Unit.

There are currently certain technical limitations in this area. For example, it is difficult to transmit the signal from one optical fibre to other optical fibres without it being lost in any of the fibres. The DFG Research Unit ‘Optische Aufbau- und Verbindungstechnik für baugruppenintegrierte Bussysteme’ (Optical integrated circuit packaging for module-integrated bus sys... Read on...

Research grants worth six million euros at FAU

Four young researchers at FAU have succeeded in securing research funding in one of the toughest European selection processes. Over the next five years, the European Research Council (ERC) will provide ERC Starting Grants of 1.5 million euros each to support the outstanding research projects of Dr. Björn Braunschweig, PD Dr. Andreas Bräuer, PD Dr. Gerhard Krönke and Prof. Dr. Sabine Maier. In the strict selection process for the proposed projects, the ERC makes its decision on the basis of a comprehensive review process which involves many leading international researchers from the respective fields. Less than ten percent of the research projects submitted make the cut. Once a year, the ERC awards these grants to the best young researchers to give them the chance to establish their own working groups and pursue research projects with great potential for innovation. Read on...

Simulation software – made in Erlangen

FAU researchers develop software to predict hurricanes

(Image: Andreas Schäfer/CERA)

Nowadays, computer simulations are essential in science. Whether it is meteorology, medicine, engineering or materials science, all of these disciplines use computer models in their experiments. However, the more complex the simulations become, the more computing power is required. A standard PC is no longer enough. For a number of years, computer scientists at FAU have been working on simulation software which enables CPU-intensive model calculations to be carried out effectively and as accurately as possible. They have now released a new version of this software which will be used in the USA ... Read on...