Cooperation and partnerships
Forschungszentrum Jülich works together with numerous partners from science and industry at the national and international level and does so to the benefit of all involved.
Among the scientifically and strategically most important partners at the moment are RWTH Aachen University, the French Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives (CEA), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the USA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in China.
National and International Relations (UE-B)
Science and research at Forschungszentrum Jülich is international. Maintaining and expanding national and international relations and collaborations is therefore a crucial component of Jülich’s strategy. UE-B advises and supports the Board of Directors in matters related to national and international partnerships. The key goal is to create an attractive research environment at Jülich for scientists at all career levels from Germany or anywhere else in the world.
Together with RWTH Aachen University, Forschungszentrum Jülich established the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance (JARA) in 2007. JARA is the only cooperative model between a university and non-university research institution in the whole of Germany. It is funded as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German Federal Government and the federal states. By means of JARA, Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University want to create synergy effects between university and non-university research. The topics of the five JARA sections are: brain research (JARA-BRAIN), energy research (JARA-ENERGY), basic physical research (JARA-FAME), information technology (JARA-FIT) and soft matter research (JARA-SOFT). Since 2018, the research sections have been complemented by the JARA Center for Simulation and Data Science (JARA-CSD), which emerged from the JARA-HPC section and focuses on simulation and data science. In addition, the cooperation comprises JARA-institutes founded jointly at the Research Centre Jülich and RWTH. The four JARA institutes launched in 2016 are located in the JARA-FIT and JARA-BRAIN sections. Two each with a focus on information and brain research.
Scientists at Forschungszentrum Jülich cooperate with various universities through numerous projects – whenever expertise can be be brought together to create ideal partnerships. In addition to JARA, Forschungszentrum Jülich also maintains strong alliances with other regional partner universities, in particular the Rhineland universities of Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf.
Within the framework of the Research Alliance Cologne, Cologne University is working on long-term perspectives for collaboration across all topics with regional non-university cooperation partners. Joint strategy development and support for young scientists are important concerns of the alliance, of which Forschungszentrum Jülich is also a member.
In the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC), RWTH Aachen University, Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, the University of Bonn, and Forschungszentrum Jülich pool their research activities in the field of bioeconomy. In this centre of excellence, the partners are developing integrative solution approaches to sustainably produce and further process biomass as part of a biomass-based value-adding chain.
Forschungszentrum Jülich networks closely with neighbouring universities. Early-career scientists thus benefit from the systematically structured PhD programmes.
With the German Research School for Simulation Sciences (GRS), as a joint training and research establishment, RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich offer students and PhD candidates excellent academic training in the field of simulation sciences.
The HITEC Graduate School for Energy and Climate, operated by Forschungszentrum Jülich, offers PhD students opportunities to work on interdisciplinary issues in energy and climate research. Partner universities in this venture are RWTH Aachen University, Ruhr University Bochum, the University of Cologne, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, and the University of Wuppertal.
The International Helmholtz Research School of Biophysics and Soft Matter (IHRS BioSoft) interconnects the research disciplines of biology, chemistry, and physics to conduct research in biophysical issues and soft matter. Doctoral researchers are offered an interdisciplinary research environment by Forschungszentrum Jülich, together with the university partners in Cologne and Düsseldorf as well as caesar Bonn.
Together with the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, Forschungszentrum Jülich operates a centre of excellence for imaging techniques in brain research, specifically for ultra-high-field magnetic resonance tomography.
Research Alliance Cologne
In the field of energy research, Forschungszentrum Jülich cooperates with other organizations within the framework of two Helmholtz institutions. The Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg (HI ERN) is a branch office of Forschungszentrum Jülich, run in cooperation with the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB). The aim of this joint research is to develop new materials for the conversion and storage of energy from renewable sources.
Helmholtz-Institut Münster (HI MS), jointly established by Forschungszentrum Jülich, the University of Münster, and RWTH Aachen University, is to advance battery research, focusing specifically on exploring electrolytes. HI MS is also a permanent branch office of Forschungszentrum Jülich. Both branch offices are part of the Institute of Energy and Climate Research of Forschungszentrum Jülich.
Forschungszentrum Jülich maintains a branch office of the Jülich Centre for Neutron Science in Garching near Munich. There, in cooperation with Technische Universität München and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, it operates Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ), a facility conducting research with neutrons. The cooperation partners build and operate a wide range of world-class scattering instruments at MLZ, which are used for conducting research into scientific fields such as physics, chemistry, biology, geosciences, engineering, and materials sciences.
Helmholtz-Institut Erlangen-Nürnberg (HI ERN)
Helmholtz-Institut Münster (HI MS)
European research infrastructures
Large and complex research projects and infrastructures are to an increasing extent only feasible within a European or international context. This is why Forschungszentrum Jülich is committed to the relevant measures and projects, in the fields of supercomputing, research with neutrons, climate research, bioeconomy, and brain research.
On a European level, Jülich pursues the goal of establishing Europe as a leading international location for high-performance computing as a member of the Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE).
Together with GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH in Darmstadt, Jülich is working on the construction of the new international accelerator Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR). FAIR will provide researchers from all over the world with new insights into the structure of matter and the development of the universe.
Researching climate-relevant processes in the atmosphere is the subject of the research project IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System). Coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich, the project combines the expertise of partners from research, weather forecasting, the aviation industry, and airlines in order to establish a unique instrument for global Earth observation.
The EU-funded Human Brain Project focuses on researching the human brain in order to better understand its complexity and recreate its functionality on a computer. This is relevant not only for the understanding of and treatment options for brain diseases but the new insights may also provide new impulses for information technology.
The French Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique et aux Énergies Alternatives and Forschungszentrum Jülich have long-standing connections through a partnership whose roots go back to the Élysée Treaty, signed in 1963, which among other things, stipulated the establishment of joint research programmes. Today’s main focus of cooperation is on supercomputing, structural biology, nuclear safety research, neurosciences, and renewable energy.
At present, the world’s leading centre for research with neutrons is the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL) with the highest flux reactor and the broadest range of instruments. In cooperation with the CEA, Jülich scientists operate three instruments there and make use of others.
At Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in the USA, Forschungszentrum Jülich has a branch office and operates a neutron spectrometer at the spallation neutron source. In October 2014, the existing memorandum of understanding with ORNL was extended by another five years. The aim is to advance existing cooperations in the field of neutron and energy research, as well as to establish closer scientific and technological collaboration. Further important cooperations of Forschungszentrum Jülich are based in China, where it works together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) as well as Peking University and Fudan University in Shanghai.
Forschungszentrum Jülich cooperates with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) in Russia in the fields of life sciences, soft matter, solid state research, nuclear physics, and environmental research. Energy and climate are also the focus of the cooperation between Forschungszentrum Jülich and the Moscow State Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI). The cooperations are suspended.
Forschungszentrum Jülich is also represented in New Delhi, India: the India Office brings together all of the activities pursued in India by individual Jülich institutes, and its permanent presence locally facilitates the establishment of long-term cooperations with partners from science, research, and industry and lends support in acquiring excellent young scientists.
In Brazil, the close cooperation with EMBRAPA – the organization coordinating Brazilian agricultural research – led to the foundation of an external EMBRAPA laboratory in Jülich (Labex); conversely, Forschungszentrum Jülich has established a branch office of the Institute of Bio- and Geosciences – Plant Research (IBG-2) in Brazil.
Forschungszentrum Jülich works together with a multitude of companies to develop unique devices and methods which are themselves utilized in research. Among them are supercomputers, the electron microscope PICO, and the 9.4 tesla MR PET hybrid scanner for brain research. Companies are also partners in technology transfer – when the emphasis is on transferring scientific findings from Jülich to broad applications.
IBM, for example, and Forschungszentrum Jülich share a long-standing partnership in the field of supercomputing, spanning the development and installation of several computer generations. Since 2012, together with NVIDIA, Forschungszentrum Jülich has been running the NVIDIA Application Lab, with similar objectives. Siemens Medical Solutions is a long-standing partner in the development of specialized instruments and imaging techniques for brain research – to mention just a few.