Research at Goethe University

Future-oriented research comes about both through creative scientific independence in excellent, individual research, as well as through the fruitful exchange of ideas and perspectives between different individuals and disciplines. At Goethe University, scientists research across a wide spectrum. This makes top scientific achievement possible at the international level in many fields and disciplines, which in turn shapes our continually evolving research profile. Goethe University strives to give tailwind to excellent research. It therefore supports research across disciplines as well as excellent and innovative individual research, and the development of internationally visible collaborative structures and profile focal points.

Overview of research at Goethe University:

  • Research collaborations
  • Individual research
  • Visiting fellowships

Research collaborations

Excellence Clusters

The Excellence Initiative aims to promote top-level research and to improve the quality of German universities and research institutions in general, thus making Germany a more attractive research location, making it more internationally competitive and focussing attention on the outstanding achievements of German universities and the German scientific community. Clusters of Excellence receive project-based funding in internationally competitive fields of research at universities or university consortia. 

Excellence Clusters at Goethe University


Collaborative Research Centres

Collaborative Research Centres are long-term university-based research institutions, established for up to 12 years, in which researchers work together within a multidisciplinary research programme. They are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Collaborate Research Centres at Goethe University


LOEWE Research Initiatives

LOEWE is the programme for promoting cutting-edge research initiatives in the federal state of Hessen. Since 2008, LOEWE has provided funding for competitively selected research projects to support Hessen’s research institutions in developing their research profile and reaching their strategic goals. LOEWE supports outstanding scientific collaborative projects, especially the intensive networking of science, independent research, and business.

LOEWE Research Initiatives at Goethe University


DFG Research Units

A Research Unit is made up of a team of researchers working together on a research project which, in terms of thematic focus, duration and finances, extends beyond the funding options available under the Individual Grants Programme or Priority Programme.

DFG Research Units at Goethe University


DFG Priority Programmes

The Priority Programmes aim to give clear impetus to the advancement of science and the humanities through coordinated multi-location funding for important new topics. A particular feature of the Priority Programme is the nationwide collaboration between its participating researchers.

DFG Priority Programmes at Goethe University



Research Training Groups and Doctoral Programmes

Research Training Groups were established in the late 1980’s to promote early career researchers. They were originally created by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation and the Volkswagen Foundation. Their funding has meanwhile been taken over by the central research funding organization in Germany, the DFG. Their key emphasis is on the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a focused research programme and a structured training strategy. This includes special courses and colloquia, international contacts, cooperation with related fields, and dialogue between experienced scientists and early career researchers.

Research Training Groups at Goethe University

The Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks are a part of Horizon 2020, the EU Commission’s framework programme for research and innovation, and offers funding for the creation of European networks for the structured training of doctoral candidates. A similar line of funding already existed in the 7th EU Framework Programme for Technological Research and Development.

Marie Curie Innovative Training Networks at Goethe University

The International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) offer talented German and foreign junior scientists the opportunity to earn a doctorate under excellent research conditions. A shared characteristics of the graduate programmes at Max Planck Institutes is a close colloboration with universities.

IMPRS in collaboration with Goethe University

The Helmholtz Graduate Schools are a joint endeavor of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung, Darmstadt, the universities at Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Giessen, Heidelberg and Mainz together with FIAS to promote and support structured PhD education for research associated with GSI and FAIR.

Heimholtz Graduate Schools

Other coordinated graduate programs


Individual Research

ERC Grants

The ERC Starting and Consolidator Grants are part of the main ERC frontier research grants funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The ERC's main frontier research grants aim to empower individual researchers and provide the best settings to foster their creativity. Scientific excellence is the sole criterion of evaluation.

ERC Advanced Grants are designed to support excellent Principal Investigators at the career stage at which they are already established research leaders with a recognised track record of research achievements.

ERC Synergy Grants are intended to enable minimum two to maximum four Principal Investigators (PIs) and their teams to bring together complementary skills, knowledge, and resources in new ways, in order to jointly address ambitious research questions.

The ERC Proof of Concept Grants aim to maximise the value of the excellent research that the ERC funds, by funding further work (i.e. activities which were not scheduled to be funded by the original ERC frontier research grant) to verify the innovation potential of ideas arising from ERC funded projects.

Overview of ERC Grants at Goethe University


Koselleck Projects

Reinhart Koselleck Projects represent greater freedom for projects which are particularly innovative and higher-risk. This programme enables outstanding researchers with a proven scientific track record to pursue exceptionally innovative, higher-risk projects.

Koselleck Projects at Goethe University


Leibniz Award 

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize is the highest research award in Germany. Winners are selected from a slate of nominations put forward by third parties. The Leibniz Programme was established in 1985 and the awards of up to € 2.5 million each are financed by the German Research Foundation.

Leibniz Award Laureates at Goethe University


Nobel Laureates

The Nobel Prize was established in 1901 and represents the highest distinction worldwide for outstanding achievements in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace.

Nobel Laureates at Goethe University


Early Career Researchers

Early career researchers at Goethe University were successful in winning funding from the these sponsors:

DFG (German Research Foundation)

  • The Emmy Noether Programme gives exceptionally qualified early career researchers the chance to qualify for the post of professor at a university by leading an independent junior research group for a period of six years.
  • The Heisenberg Programme is directed primarily at those researchers who have qualified for professorship via the Emmy Noether Programme, leadership of a junior research group, DFG project staff positions, private-sector research or mid-level faculty positions. The DFG provides funding for qualified researchers to carry on with high-quality research at the institution of their choice and continue building their academic reputation.

Volkswagen Stiftung

The Volkswagen Foundation funds research projects in path-breaking areas and provides assistance to academic institutions for the improvement of the structural conditions for their work. In particular, the Foundation supports aspiring young academics and promotes interdisciplinary and international collaboration.

Sofja Kovalevskaja Award

The Sofja Kovalevskaja Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation provides up to €1.65 million in funding for successful top-rank junior researchers from abroad who have completed their doctorate no more than 6 years previously and published work in prestigious international journals or publishing houses.

List of early career research awardees at Goethe University


Visiting Fellowships

A visiting fellowship endowment is assumed by an external academic for a set period of time, e.g., one semester. An endowed chair, on the other hand, is assumed permanently following an appointment procedure.

Visiting fellowship endowments at Goethe University