Welcome to the Exploratory Research Space at RWTH Aachen!

Cupola of a Building RWTH Aachen

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Scientists Need Leeway for Creativity

The Exploratory Research Space at RWTH Aachen University (ERS) has been initiated under the Excellence Initiative and now forms a core element of the University's institutional strategy. ERS promotes and funds interdisciplinary research projects and provides a platform for scientists who join forces to develop highly innovative, challenging research ideas involving a higher risk than conventional ventures and who seek to realize their ideas in so-called seed fund or boost fund projects.

We facilitate dialogue and exchange between the disciplines and support researchers with seminars, workshops, and continuing education opportunities. ERS is targeted both at experienced scientists and early-career researchers.

How do we understand interdisciplinarity at ERS?

  • Interdisciplinarity, as understood by the Exploratory Research Space at RWTH Aachen University, combines approaches, insights or methods of different academic disciplines to pursuit a task that is of common scientific interest and requires a joint research strategy with contributions from all partners.
  • That means that the disciplines should not only exchange results. The applied methods and techniques should rather be shared between the partners and preferably broaden the respective disciplinary portfolio. In contrast to multidisciplinarity, where different aspects can stand next to each other, interdisciplinarity imperatively merges the different aspects into one activity.
  • To further differentiate, in our understanding transdisciplinarity is an integrative research that combines scientific and practical knowledge to solve societal challenges.
  • ERS defines disciplines as different if they belong to different faculties and each have a particular approach to the respective research topic.

Also, we promote promising research ideas by RWTH researchers by providing various funding opportunities through the ERS Project Support.

ERS Forum

Another ERS institution is the ERS Forum, a networking platform covering all academic fields that makes it easier for our researchers to get to know each other and exchange their ideas across the disciplines. Through these networking activities, researchers have the chance to jointly create new ideas for common research projects.

ERS International

ERS International promotes international exchange at RWTH Aachen. Our Visiting Scholars Program makes it possible for high-profile researchers to come to the University as ERS Fellows in order to participate in interdisciplinary research projects. They are invited to stay at RWTH Aachen between one week and several months, depending on the research program.

Furthermore, RWTH researchers have the opportunity to receive funding for a short-term stay abroad in order to participate in research projects conducted at international universities.