Leibniz Research Alliances

Bundling of competencies

The alliances not only serve to improve internal networking, but also work on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary solutions to complex social challenges.

In the interests of sustainable development, the choice of topics is integrated into the planning of the research programs of the participating institutes. The Leibniz Research Alliances are central points of contact for politics and industry, sponsors, the media and civil society. The research networks are open to cooperation with universities, other non-university research and infrastructure institutions as well as international research groups and partners from industry.

Leibniz Research Networks are dedicated to a particular focus topic or key technology. The aim is to pool, exchange and further develop the specialist and methodological/technical expertise of the participating Leibniz Institutes and make it visible to the outside world.

Leibniz Education Research Network - LERN

Education is pivotal to society, science and the economy. To individuals it opens doors to professional success, enables them to take part in society and take charge of their own lives. As a network of diverse competencies, we want to identify the potential of and for education, to unlock it and help people make better use of it.

There are many challenges in the field of education: educational opportunities are often unequally distributed, children and adults do not know how to deal with the information overload, and school and academic targets are not always clear. The Leibniz Education Research Network – LERN was formed to tackle these problems and to develop possible solutions.

The aim of the research network is to bring together and build on the expertise of the individual institutes relating to education issues in order to find answers to the questions posed by education policymakers and administrators and other societal actors.

The network’s research intentionally crosses disciplinary boundaries. LERN is the first education research network of this size and the only one in Germany. It brings together and supports the work of researchers in educational science, teaching methodology, linguistics, cultural and media studies, neuroscience, economics, politics, psychology, sociology, information science and computer science in the Leibniz Association and associated institutions.

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Environmental Crisis - Crisis Environments (CrisEn)

The Leibniz-Research-Network “Environmental Crises – Crisis Environments” is dedicated to the research of the perception and governance of environmental changes as crisis. A key to detect a crisis and to initiate political crisis management is the perception of a threat as urgent, existential, and uncertain in its consequences. Taking this as a vantage point, the Leibniz Research Network examines under which conditions environmental change is perceived and contested as crisis, and which governance arrangements foster effective and sustainable crisis management. Both steps are important as the attribution of environmental changes as crises involves biophysical and societal phenomena whose interaction are not well understood so far. Furthermore, these two perspectives on environmental crises include furthering the resilience of contemporary societies with regard to environmental changes as well as an understanding of crisis scenarios as an opportunity for sustainability transformations.

GESIS deals with economic and financial crises from a historical and comparative perspective as well as with the political and social effects of crises.

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Earth & Societies

Humankind is increasingly influencing the Earth system that has evolved over millions of years. Visible signs of this "Anthropocene" are global warming, pollution of the oceans and the decline in biodiversity.

In the coming years, therefore, societal decisions of civilisation-historical significance will have to be made. A fundamental question is: How can the Earth system be ecologically stabilised in such a way that well-being, prosperity, justice, peace and security for all people are secured or even achieved?

Against this background, the Leibniz Research Network "Earth & Societies" has set itself the task of gaining knowledge about people in the Earth system that is relevant to society's actions. Above all, the ecological carrying capacities of the Earth system are to be determined and sustainable development paths derived from them.

On the one hand, the network develops innovative principles of integrated Earth system research. On the other hand, it is investigating the oceans and their use, biodiversity, environmental migration, urban-rural relationships and the potential of the bioeconomy from the perspective of the Earth system. Climate change is considered throughout.

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The digital transformation is changing academia at a dramatic pace. In order to effectively utilise its inherent opportunities, this change must be managed as thoroughly as possible. Here the far-reaching use and processing of research data within the academic epistemological process is of fundamental importance to academia and innovation. Identifying digital research data as one of the most precious of resources, and safeguarding them, storing them for the long term and making them available to others, is therefore one of academia’s key tasks.

The aim of LeibnizData is to pool the Leibniz Association's responses to the requirements of future-oriented handling of research data. The Leibniz research network bundles interdisciplinary services for data management and the necessary research data infrastructures and creates opportunities for professional exchange - both within LeibnizData and for the entire Leibniz Association and beyond.

LeibnizData makes an important contribution to ensuring that the Leibniz Association is firmly anchored in science policy in the field of research data – both in terms of infrastructures, e.g. through past and current activities in the German Council for Scientific Information Infrastructures, the German Data Forum (RatSWD), the High Level Expert Group on the European Open Science Cloud (EOSC), the Horizon 2020 Advisory Group on European Research Infrastructures, the EOSC Association and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), as well as with regard to research data (e.g. through participation in the GOFAIR initiative and the involvement in activities relating to the Data Institute and the Research Data Act).

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Mathematical Modelling and Simulation (MMS)

Modern mathematical modelling and simulation methods have become a fundamental resource for scientific and technological progress. Mathematical modelling and simulation is therefore a key methodological area of great relevance for the natural sciences and engineering and for economic, social, life and environmental sciences. As a consequence, many Leibniz Institutes invest in these methods.

Methods from a wide range of mathematical fields are used (statistics, mathematical finance, optimisation/operations research, numerical methods for partial differential equations, mathematical image processing, etc.), to investigate problems on every conceivable temporal and spatial scale (from nanoparticles to immense cosmic structures, from femtoseconds to the age of the universe) with widely differing levels of complexity (from an individual company to the entire global economy, from local environmental events to global climate models).

The common factor in all these methods is that they are based on mathematical principles. This means they are cross-sectional in nature and can generally be used outside of the context in question, to help solve problems in completely different branches of science. There is great potential here for effective utilisation.

One of the key aims of this Leibniz Research Network is therefore to systematically exploit this potential for effective use and synergies. An important question is which is the fastest, most suitable and error-free of the current mathematical research methods to use in each case – to ensure that the available software and hardware resources are used effectively and sustainably.

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GESIS is an associated partner in the Leibniz research network "INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments":

INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World - Humans, Animals, Environments

Improved hygiene and better prevention and treatment have diminished the incidence of infectious diseases particularly in industrialised countries. However, increasing antibiotic resistance, emergence of new pathogens, together with changes in pathogen distribution due to altered climate and mobility are global challenges for humankind.

Infectious diseases can be spread and transferred to humans in many ways. A holistic approach is required to better understand transmission and to achieve optimal infection control strategies. Biomedical, ecological, socio-economic and political aspects all need to be considered.

The Leibniz Research Alliance “INFECTIONS in an Urbanizing World" aims to establish an interdisciplinary research agenda and opens up new avenues of communication across disciplines. New strategies and methods for early warning and outbreak management systems will be developed to control spread of pathogens. This effort will also include public involvement through citizen science projects.


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