Virtual Helmholtz Collaborations

  The JUGENE high-performance computer at Forschungszentrum Jülich Copyright: © Forschungszentrum Jülich

Through the Initiative and Networking Fund, the Helmholtz Association supports collaboration between universities and Helmholtz Research Centers.  Its goal is to establish centers of excellence in key research areas, garnering international importance and appeal.


Virtual institutes are a funding instrument of the Helmholtz Association. The Helmholtz Centers and universities use this instrument to join research centers, in order to establish internationally renowned centers of excellence in key research areas.

Virtual institutes are funded for three years with 300,000 Euros. They are not bound to a location, operate through their own organzational and management structures, and foster young researchers in particular.

Overview of Virtual Institutes with RWTH Involvement

Virtual Institute for Biohybrid Technology (de)
Future technological development will be strongly influenced by the need of new forms of diagnosis and therapy in medicine and new information technology. New technology and measurement principles contain a decisive development impetus through the close integration of engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine, and (bio)informatics.

Virtual Institute "Airport Planning and Management"
Research activities within the Virtual Institute aim to develop and verify capacity functions for airport runway systems. The goal is increase airport capacity functions by minimizing delays and waiting times.

Virtual Insitute of Functional Molecular Systems for Information Technology
Logical switches, memeory chips, and sensors in computers are becoming smaller and more efficient. Silicon technology will eventually meet its limits through this continuous progressive miniaturization. Molecular information processing is a possible alternative - key term: computing with molecules.

Virtual Institute - High Productivity Supercomputing
Virtual Institute seeks to improve the quality and accelerate the development process of complex simulation codes in science and engineering designed to run on highly-parallel computer systems. The VI is developing integrated state-of-the-art programming tools for high-performance computing that assist programmers in diagnosing programming errors and optimizing the performance of their applications.

Virtual Institute of Spin Electronics
Modern information technology is based on semiconductors and ferromagnetic materials. Information is processed in semiconductor transistors and integrated circuits while information is stored magnetically on high density hard disk drives. Spin electronics aims to combine ferromagnets with semiconductors. As a result, spintronic devices are developed that exploit the quantum mechanical "spin" of electrons as well as their "charge".

Virtual Institute for Material Design
By joining partners together with various expertise, the way to the future is paved through multi-scale modelling, consistent process and material modelling , and exactly defined experiments.