Excellent research infrastructures are an important basis for Kiel University and for Schleswig-Holstein as a science location. They include all facilities, equipment, resources and services scientists need for their research.
As the transdisciplinary transfer of knowledge is so important, these research infrastructures are not only available for use by other universities, but also by companies from the industry. Exchanging findings between university and non-university investigations leads to synergy effects which benefit both fundamental and preventive research.
Institutes like the Centre for Molecular Biosciences (ZMB) or the Competence Center Nanosystem Technology not only enjoy outstanding reputations nationwide, but also offer excellent working conditions to international researchers.
The Centre for Molecular Biosciences (ZMB) stands for interdisciplinary research and scientific interaction. The distinctive building, known as ‘amoeba’ on the CAU campus, not only houses the Centre's equipment pool, but also the popgen genome database.
Interdisciplinarity and scientific interaction determine the Centre for Molecular Biosciences (ZMB) concept. The combination of research groups from the Faculties of Medicine, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences at Kiel University forms an ideal structure of highly specialised molecular-biological and molecular-genetic research.
The various activities anchored in the ZMB cover the detection and understanding of molecular diversity in biological systems, as well as interest in how barrier organs function as a decisive interaction zone between complex organisms and their environment. The overall objects of investigation are the barrier organs of organisms and the external influences affecting these organs. The focus therefore is on genetic variations in medicine which are linked to complex diseases and diet-related risk constellations (molecular nutrition), as well as valuable breeding characteristics for crops and livestock (agriculture).
Caring for the environment has become mankind’s most important task. The Gustav-Radbruch-Network for Environmental Philosophy and Ethics encompasses research into the ethical questions and problems, challenges and opportunities related to our self-perception as human beings in nature. It is a joint organisation of all eight faculties at Kiel University. Experts in philosophy, medicine, business ethics, theology, culture and marine sciences work together here, to tackle issues from natural, life and cultural sciences. It thus strengthens the ethical reflection skills and interdisciplinary understanding between the individual sciences and also participates in courses offered in "Environmental Philosophy and Ethics". The network develops and coordinates research projects, and cooperates with the university’s priority research areas and the faculty’s focus areas.
The Kiel Evolution Center (KEC) is an interactive platform which integrates and coordinates evolutionary research activities in research, teaching and public relations work, in Kiel and the surrounding area. In addition to supporting activities in the core areas of evolutionary biology, the KEC specifically aims to promote interdisciplinary exchange between scientists in evolutionary biology and other disciplines, in order to develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the huge current challenges in medicine, agriculture and environmental protection.
Many students dream of something other than being regularly employed and have creative ideas for self-employment. But the idea by itself won’t get you very far. There are many other issues such as: Where can I get the start-up capital? And where can I find customers who want to buy my product or service? The sheer mass of uncertainties and bureaucratic pitfalls prevents many people from implementing their plan.
At Kiel University, the Centre for Entrepreneurship (ZfE) provides professional support for start-ups, using counselling and various forms of assistance to help founders consolidate their business model. A large network of partners, such as the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IHK) in Kiel, the Investitionsbank Schleswig-Holstein and private investors can help, for example with scholarships, project funding and start-up capital.
The Leibniz Laboratory for Radiometric Dating and Stable Isotope Research combines a new 3 MV Tandetron accelerator mass spectrometer (AMS) system with the Radiocarbon and Mass Spectrometry Laboratories.
The Leibniz Laboratory dates samples containing at least 1 milligram of carbon after a chemical pre-treatment. The measuring accuracy of this dating is ideal for samples that are younger than 2,000 years old. The measured age of a sample can be determined with an accuracy of less than +/- 40 years. The dating accuracy for older samples is reduced accordingly. Suitable samples include wood, charcoal, bones, shells, plant residues, fabric residues or peat.
Approximately 3,000 samples are sent to the AMS Laboratory every year for age determination. In addition to the dating service offered, the Leibniz Laboratory is actively involved in research projects using the Carbon-14 method and the analysis of stable isotopes to tackle issues from a wide range of fields.
New medical implants, super-elastic metals, extremely sensitive sensors: the essential foundations are being laid at the Competence Center Nanosystem Technology at Kiel University’s Faculty of Engineering for new materials and applications as sensors or actuators.
As such, the Competence Center functions as an interface between the university and industry: using an area of over 600 square meters, it brings the latest research results from the field of nanotechnology and puts them into practice in a business context, making them usable in areas such as energy technology, medical technology or information technology. It is thus the central point of contact for companies, spin-offs and non-university research institutes from Schleswig-Holstein and beyond, who want to put their project ideas into practice.
The Competence Center Nanosystem Technology cooperates closely with the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicon Technology (ISIT) in Itzehoe, as well as with its other partners, ACQUANDAS GmbH, Phi-Stone AG and VON ARDENNE GmbH.
The CCIM is a major outpatient clinic for inflammatory diseases at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH) and is part of the Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces" at Kiel University. The goal of the Center is to facilitate interdisciplinary treatment of patients with serious chronic inflammatory diseases as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Inflammation experts from the fields of gastroenterology, hepatology, nephrology and pulmonology, rheumatology, cardiology and immunology, as well as doctors from the autoimmune surgery at the skin clinic, all work together at the CCIM on an interdisciplinary basis. Close and regular contact with the scientists at the Cluster of Excellence "Inflammation at Interfaces” enables findings from basic research to be put into daily practice more quickly. New substances discovered during research can thus benefit patients in the framework of clinical studies.
With the Competence Centre for Genome Analysis Kiel (CCGA Kiel), the CAU has one of the four German Competence Centres for cutting-edge genome analysis. The Centre is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and specialised in high-throughput sequencing of genomes. Through the DFG funding, an ultra-fast computing server and a new "NovaSeq" sequencing device are being added to the existing equipment. With this new system, Kiel genome researchers can analyse samples four times as fast as with the previously most powerful Kiel sequencer.
At the CCGA Kiel, expertise should be built up in performing and interpreting complex genetic analyses from a wide spectrum of areas of application. This requires a broad network of experts to cover the very diverse fields of application. In addition to researchers from the CAU, therefore, scientists from 6 further institutions are involved: the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, the Research Center Borstel (FZB), the University of Lübeck, the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön (MPI EB), the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen, and Saarland University. Together, using their combined expertise, they advise colleagues on new research projects, and assist with the analysis of the resulting huge volumes of data.
Ruprecht Haensel Laboratory (RHL)
In the Ruprecht Haensel Laboratory, the CAU conducts joint research with the Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY, a research centre of the Helmholtz Association. Kiel working groups from the fields of biology, chemistry, electrical engineering, materials science, theory and physics from the priority research area Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science (KiNSIS) are actively involved in the further development and use of the synchrotron radiation sources at DESY.
The experimental techniques at the Ruprecht Haensel Laboratory include, for example, investigations using the LISA diffractometer (Liquid Interfaces Scattering Apparatus) developed in Kiel, in which the x-ray light of PETRA III and the beam of a powerful short-term laser can be synchronised on liquids. This enables production processes for nanomaterials or biochemical processes at cell membranes to be explored in detail. The ASPHERE III photoelectron spectrometer developed in Kiel will also be used at PETRA III, which will lead to a better understanding of material properties and functionality. It enables individual electrons to be investigated in materials and electronic components.
Photon Science Building (under construction)
The future DESY centre for nano-research will also accommodate the Ruprecht Haensel Laboratory. The high-tech labs on the ground floor will particularly enable new methods in nano-research. They will provide ideal conditions for structuring, producing, characterising and marking nanoscale samples, which will then be investigated under the high-intensity X-ray beams of the PETRA III or FLASH research facilities.
The aDNA Lab was established by the graduate school "Human Development in Landscapes" and the Faculty of Medicine at Kiel University. The analysis of ancient DNA (aDNA) is currently performed at the Department of Legal Medicine and the Institute of Clinical Molecular Biology.
The application of NGS in combination with highly sensitive target enrichment methods allows to reconstruct and analyse whole genomes from various organisms that died centuries or millennia ago. With specialized methods, the lab investigates mitochondrial/nuclear polymorphic markers and genomes (or parts thereof) retrieved from bacterial, animal and human remains.
The research topics range from gender and kinship analysis through to population genetics and evolutionary studies of infectious and inflammatory diseases.
The Kieler Forschungswerkstatt (research workshop) offers school pupils and entire school classes a look at the CAU’s latest research. It’s also good for student teachers - they gain practical teaching experience and attend supplementary training courses. The workshop is the product of close cooperation between the CAU’s priority research areas and specialists at the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), which is the key to its success. It was also a crucial factor in approving the new Leibniz ScienceCampus "KiSOC - Kiel Science Outreach Campus".
The Forschungswerkstatt is home to nine research laboratories: geo:labor, zoom:labor, klick!:labor, ozean:labor, energie:labor, life:labor, denk:labor, sprach:werk and zeit:werk.
The Molecular Imaging North Competence Center (MOIN CC) at Kiel University provides a technology and cooperation platform for researchers and companies in the life science sector. One of the focal points is molecular imaging, which is regarded as one of the most dynamic innovation and growth areas in the field of biomedical engineering. Their successful production enables personalised medicine for patients through more accurate diagnosis, and therefore better chances of recovery.
The MOIN CC is operated by the Departments of Biomedical Imaging, Radiology and Neuroradiology at the University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein (UKSH). The laboratory was primarily established as a central unit for academic users. However, through "MOIN Services", it also provides imaging services for the private sector and biomedical companies in Northern Germany and beyond.
The European XFEL is an international research institute of superlatives: extremely short-wave and high-resolution x-ray laser flashes are generated here, which open up completely new possibilities for science. With its technology, the world's largest free-electron laser in the x-ray range will not only open up new areas of research, but also significantly boost innovation in industrial applications.
CAU researchers will examine their own material samples at the European XFEL, and jointly develop new experiments in photoelectron spectroscopy within an international consortium. In the long term, the interdisciplinary fundamental research at the XFEL could lead to new drugs and materials, as well as more efficient solar cells and computers, artificial photosynthesis, or better catalysts for more efficient production processes in the chemical industry.
Kiel University sees itself as a strong research university of unified scientific cultures. Major, socially-relevant topics such as marine sciences, societal change, nano-research, as well as interactions between humans and the environment, are consistently tackled on an interdisciplinary basis. The four established priority research areas at the CAU - Kiel Marine Science (KMS), Kiel Life Science (KLS), Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science (KiNSIS) and Societal, Environmental, and Cultural Change (SECC) - are accordingly structured on an interdisciplinary basis, and are strengthened by numerous collaborative projects, such as clusters of excellence or collaborative research centres.
A transdisciplinary-based virtual environment for research data is being developed, building on the existing data management initiatives at the CAU. The groundwork was laid by the Kiel Data Management Infrastructure (KDMI) as well as the DFG projects PubFlow by AG Software Engineering and VFU@Kiel by the Service Centre for Research, IT and Innovation and the CAU’s Computing Centre, followed by further projects. The implementation of this multi-institutional and interdisciplinary portfolio includes the preservation of subject-specific characteristics, and will thus contribute to further networking of Kiel as a science location. The plan is to develop and provide researchers with a core infrastructure for research data management. In addition to research data itself, this also applies to project organisation and communication, as well as exchange with the scientific community.
The future of science is digital. Ever more complex and detailed measuring procedures produce increasing amounts of larger datasets. The GeRDI project aims to virtually network the servers on which these datasets are saved, which would enable researchers in future to access colleagues’ data from anywhere and use it for their work. The GeRDI (Generic Research Data Infrastructure) project is being funded by around €3 million from the German Research Foundation (DFG).