Our aim is to collaboratively develop metropolitan regions for tomorrow that meet the needs of current and future generations. Livable, connected, and resilient living and working spaces for the future - this is what we want to achieve with our research.
At the Institute of Applied Research IAF, we bring together specialized fields that work in an interdisciplinary manner on five subject areas. The various disciplines are organized into nine competence centers and make it possible to holistically view and develop metropolitan regions for tomorrow.
Our research is application-oriented and is integrated into an expansive international network. Sustainability as well as digital transformation and AI play a central role in each of our subject areas, as they directly impact metropolitan regions and present us with new challenges that we address with our research.
For us, metropolitan regions are areas of conurbation that extend from the city into the rural districts.
A high quality of life as well as a healthy and attractive living and working environment are becoming an important location factor for metropolitan regions against the backdrop of urbanisation. With participatory neighbourhood development, research on sustainable construction and renovation, innovative materials and optimised exterior and interior acoustics we contribute to the sustainability of the built environment.
For our often interdisciplinary approaches, we use physical models on a scale up to real settings in urban space including innovative participation concepts, various laboratories and workshops, measuring equipment as well as simulation tools to achieve valid and vivid research results.
Digitalisation, artificial intelligence and climate change will continue to strongly influence industry and the economy in the coming years. This is reflected in fundamental structural changes for value chains, work processes and corporate structures. The question of future competitiveness is linked to how successfully companies and regions manage to shape the change. Therefore, we conduct inter- and transdisciplinary research on the following topics, among others: Sustainable Finance (e.g. financing the energy and mobility transition), sustainability management, environmentally oriented logistics (e.g. CO2e calculation), Logistics 4.0, Lean Logistics and digital and networked product, process and factory planning. To this end, we develop and use methods for artificial intelligence, simulation, big data analytics, data protection and data security in the field of Internet of Things (IoT) and optical measurement technology, among others.
The climate protection agreement reached in Paris in 2015 underlined the urgency of the energy transition and the expansion of renewable energies. We are therefore conducting interdisciplinary research into innovative and intelligent energy concepts to supply metropolitan regions with resources efficiently and sustainably. In doing so, we take a systemic view of the entire metropolitan region - from individual buildings to city districts to rural districts. With intelligent power grids ("smart grids") and mobility concepts, energy management solutions, solar heating and cooling as well as simulation and control of energy technology systems we want to shape the sustainable metropolitan region of the future.
The inhabitants of a metropolitan region are on the move a lot, from the surrounding area to the city, from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, from work to home or during leisure time. We research organisational, technological and infrastructural solutions for sustainable mobility offers. Important topics are: reducing emissions, increasing traffic safety, changing forms of propulsion, urban-rural relationships, increasing the attractiveness of urban spaces, the digitalisation of mobility and sustainable operating strategies for transport infrastructures. In this way, we are making a contribution to the upcoming transport turnaround.
Upheavals in society and disruptive developments in the economy are leading to a changed understanding of education and work. In a digitalised future, work and continuous learning will take on a new significance. The big challenges: What does this future look like? How do we support effective learning that is flexible in terms of time and place with individualised offers and feedback? How can employees participate in shaping change? How and when will society accept new technologies? These are the questions we are asking ourselves.
Digital transformation has profound effects on economic and social structures. The unlimited networking of data and devices creates new conditions for the development of metropolitan regions. In the future, entire system processes can become automated and autonomous - this applies to buildings and urban systems as well as urban simulations and industrial production processes. In order to solve the challenges of handling today's and tomorrow's abundance of data as efficiently and sustainably as possible in interdisciplinary interaction, artificial intelligence methods are increasingly being adapted and developed as adequate processes.
The digital transformation enables innovations in many areas of society and the economy, but at the same time it is also driven by innovations. The diverse possibilities create pressure to change and innovate, which we counter with our groundbreaking research.
Climate change and resource scarcity are both limiting and reinforcing factors - in the sense of innovation drivers - for the development of metropolitan regions for tomorrow. The risks of environmental change increase the vulnerability and adaptation pressure of metropolitan regions. With our research in the five thematic fields, we would like to actively shape sustainable development on an economic, social and ecological level. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) serve as a benchmark for this.