© Sascha Hüttenhain Photography
The University of Siegen focuses on the promotion and expansion of the already existing internationally visible profile areas and research foci in order to further sharpen the universities research profile. Those profile areas are characterized by long-time strengths in fundamental research. While already established through proven past merits at the University of Siegen, they are to be strengthened and expanded for future research. The profile areas of the University of Siegen represent thematically focused, partly interdisciplinary oriented research foci that address the major scientific and societal challenges.
Media & Culture
The traditionally strong profile area Media & Culture investigates practices in media and culture of contemporary societies and the respective social and societal effects. Currently, the research concentrates on the ubiquity of media practices and the transformation of society through new methods to measure attention and develops new methodological approaches and theories. New sensor-supported or autonomously acting media as well as the associated data practices determined by algorithms or smart devices are shaping the current transformation of our society from a digital network society to a data society. Algorithms and automation are also the driving force regarding the determination of popularity values (likes, usage, sales, etc.) in rankings of all kinds, with serious consequences for the social distribution of attention and its legitimation in art and literature, science and politics, religion and education. The associated fundamental social and cultural change not only affects our perceptions and communication structures, but also significantly influences our social life and our cultural and political identity.
The transdisciplinary research of this area analyses these developments and combines cultural studies, literature and media studies, linguistics and social sciences, history, educational sciences, psychology, economics and computer science. With currently two Collaborative Research Centres, the University of Siegen is one of the internationally outstanding locations in the field of praxeologically oriented media and cultural studies.
Education & Social Society
The profile area Education & Social Society focuses on social integration as a challenge for an increasingly diverse and dynamically changing society. Education, social participation, migration and social systems are topics that deal with the challenges of an inclusive society, which is characterized by diversity and mobility. Intensive cooperation in inter- and transdisciplinary collaborative research projects among the disciplines of social work, special education and social science, are dedicated to researching the welfare state and its governance structures as well as the facilitation of social participation from a wide variety of perspectives: Specifically, both intended and unintended consequences of social assistance are looked at from the perspective of the persons addressed. Another research network is working on how migration changes institutions and when do institutions (im-)mobilize; this network joins migration research, sociological and political research on institutions by taking sociological, ethnological and political science perspectives into account.
Sensorics & Visual Computing
The profile area Sensorics & Visual Computing is centred around trendsetting sensor developments and nanotechnological research. The close interdisciplinary cooperation of groups working on fundamental research in physics and physical chemistry, microelectronic sensor development and data processing in information technology is very unique at the University of Siegen. One main focus is the development of intelligent sensor systems. Using new methods of machine learning allows us a simultaneous integration of hardware and information processing. This highly interdisciplinary approach and the close cooperation between the disciplines opens up a wide range of advantages in terms of data efficiency, privacy protection and the ubiquitous integrability of future sensor systems. With its focus on “Smart Sensing”, the Center for Sensor Systems (ZESS) forms the condensation point of this research. Another research focus includes biomolecular assisted sensing, personalized digital medicine or sensor-based systems and materials for diagnostics, which are developed in the Research Center of Micro and Nanochemistry and (Bio)Technology (Cμ), using methods of micro- and nanochemistry and microelectronic sensor development. This research area is also characterized by a high degree of interdisciplinarity, bringing together researchers working on topics like nanotechnological integration, ubiquitous sensing, intelligent autonomous recognition and classification methods. The development of integrated electrotechnical and chemical sensors, which is relevant for both focal areas, is supported by establishing the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Nanoanalytics, Nanochemistry and Cyber-physical Sensor Technologies (INCYTE).
Matter & Quantum Systems
The profile area Matter & Quantum Systems comprises fundamental research in the fields of elementary particle physics and quantum optics. This internationally visible area of the University of Siegen carries out its research in theoretical and experimental physics to study matter and quantum information technology in coordinated collaborative research projects. Theoretical research in elementary particle physics deals with conceptual aspects of quantum field theory, with the development of mathematical methods for performing precise calculations within the framework of the Standard Model of particle physics and its possible extensions. The focus lies on heavy quark flavours, quantum chromodynamics, Higgs physics, and new models beyond the Standard Model. The development of novel detectors and the analysis of data from two large experiments, the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the Pierre Auger Observatory, are the centre of experimental research activities in particle physics. The research is embedded in internationally relevant collaborations, such as CERN or DESY. The fields of quantum optics and quantum information theory form another research area. Research on an innovative quantum core module as the basic building block of a future quantum computer is being pursued in collaboration with other universities and industry collaborations.
Areas of Competence
The University of Siegen supports research activities that pick up on pioneering trends and take part in developing and shaping new research areas. On the one hand, these areas of competence are research-active areas that are either in the process of being established or redefined. These are being further expanded and supported by the university in order to lay the foundation for innovative research clusters and coordinated, large-scale research alliances. On the other hand, these areas also include research groups that conduct applied and practice-oriented research with a focus on transfer.
Smart Work & Smart Everyday
In Smart Work & Smart Everyday, the focus is on the design of successful smart production, process optimization for SMEs based on artificial intelligence, and smart applications for everyday life. Particular attention is paid to the consequences and opportunities of digitality for consumers and regional economy, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises. The transfer between science and regional SMEs takes place in joint projects and competence centres, in which the realization of smart production or the research of innovative tool concepts and components are tested. A key question of this competence area is the research and configuration of human-machine interaction in both working and everyday environment. This includes smart applications in sustainability and resource optimization, but also in health care and assistance robotics for the aging society. The central question is how technology can be designed to be accepted, used and experienced as meaningful by humans.
Nanotechnology & New Materials
The development of highly efficient materials and manufacturing processes that minimize resource consumption, maximize performance parameters and being ecologically sustainable is the focus of the Nanotechnology & New Materials competence area. Areas of work also include materials that can endure infinite duty cycles, nanostructured composites, smart multifunctional materials, micro- and nanostructured (bio)materials, monitoring systems for structural integrity, and composite materials for lightweight automotive manufacturing. These research activities are primarily located at the Research Center of Micro and Nanochemistry and (Bio)Technology (Cμ), and at the Multidiscipilary Center for Innovative Materials at the University of Siegen. The three central research topics, materials science, sensor development and cross-scale characterization are to be brought together by establishing the new the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Nanoanalytics, Nanochemistry and Cyber-physical Sensor Technologies (INCYTE). This will form the infrastructural base for future-oriented, interdisciplinary research and development of new materials and sensors at the University of Siegen.
Health Care & Gerontology
The focus of the competence area Health Care & Gerontology is an application-oriented approach to individualized, evidence-based and integrated health care. Innovative care models for rural regions with limited access to the healthcare system (especially in the context of the model project “Medicine Rethink®” and the Digital Model Region Health Dreiländereck DMGD) are developed. The central research topics are biomedical sensor technology, mobile health information technology or digital assistance systems. A special focus is laid on aging research and IT applications for the aging society. In the Gerontology Network Siegen (GeNeSi) together with partners from health, business, politics and care, the requirements for good and self-determined aging are analysed and new concepts are developed in interdisciplinary research projects.