Research Field Key Technologies

Scientists in the Helmholtz Association's research field Key Technologies work on topics including new components for tomorrow's computers, energy-saving supercomputers, and custom-made materials for use in technology and medicine. 

Programmes in the funding period 2015 - 2019

Three Helmholtz-Centres are involved in the research field Key Technologies: the Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ), the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht Centre for Materials and Coastal Research (HZG), as well as the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The research field comprises seven programmes as well as two joint programmes of the research fields Key Technologies and Energy: “Future Information Technology” and “Technology, Innovation and Society”:

Research Programmes


Supercomputing & Big Data

The main goal of the programme “Supercomputing & Big Data” is the provision of world-class instruments and infrastructures for high performance computing and for the management and analysis of large-scale data for computational science and engineering in Germany as well as in Europe and within the context of national and European frameworks.


Future Information Technology (FIT) – Fundamentals, Novel Concepts, and Energy Efficiency

The rationale of the research programme is twofold: First, it explores the fundamentals of solid-state based new technologies and strategies for a future green ICT. The focus lies on the development of highly energy-efficient concepts and processes for the storage and processing of information. Second, the programme will tackle material-related fundamental problems and microscopic mechanisms in the fields of energy harvesting, conversion and storage.


Science and Technology of Nanosystems

Ziel des Programms ist es, Nanosysteme mit einzigartiger Funktionalität zur erforschen und zu entwickeln. Hierfür verfolgen die beteiligten Wissenschaftler die Vision einer gezielten Gestaltung und Kontrolle von Materialien von der atomaren und molekularen über die nano- und mikroskalige bis hin zur makroskaligen Dimension.


Advanced Engineering Materials

The Programme Advanced Engineering Materials focuses on the development of selected materials and technologies, from fundamental understanding to technological application. Major challenges are the realization of low weight, high mechanical performance, and the implementation of multifunctional properties.


BioSoft – Fundamentals for future Technologies in the fields of Soft Matter and Life Sciences

The programme aims to engineer novel nanostructured functional materials and to develop knowledge-based strategies for disease therapy by means of application-orientated basic research in the fields of soft matter as well as molecular and cellular biophysics.


BioInterfaces in Technology and Medicine

The scientists in this programme will conduct comprehensive analyses on cell cultures, biofilms, animal models and patient samples, in order to decipher the natural control mechanisms of cell division and cell differentiation. On this basis, rational design shall not only provide multifunctional synthetic molecules for the manipulation of cells in bioreactors or within the organism itself; it shall also facilitate the development of biomimetic substrates for 3D cultivation of stem cells.


Decoding the Human Brain

Decoding the Human Brain aims at contributing to a realistic, three-dimensional model of the human brain based on brain structure and function, both of which change or are modulated at different time scales. Among others, advanced neuroimaging techniques and methods from high performance computing are employed to provide the knowledge basis for such model. 


Key Technologies for the Bioeconomy

Die Aufgabe des Programmes „Key Technologies for the Bioeconomy“ im Rahmen eines umfassenden Konzepts der nachhaltigen Bioökonomie ist die Optimierung der biologischen Ressourcen für die Bioökonomie. 


Technology, Innovation and Society

The aim of this cross-disciplinary programme is to research the environmental, economic, political, ethical and social aspects of new technologies in order to support decision-making processes in politics, the economy and society as a whole.

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