connected & interdisciplinary

Connected & interdisciplinary

With around 8,000 staff working in teaching, research and administration, with 15 faculties and more than 4,500 students, the University of Münster provides countless opportunities for networking and teamwork – locally, nationally and internationally. From February to July 2023, the Communications and Public Relations Department conducted a six-month dossier to examine cooperation in its many facets and the corresponding opportunities and challenges.

University physicians planning to develop a digital experts’ forum with the EXPERT project<address>© - mrmohock</address>
© - mrmohock

Interdisciplinary teamwork reduces complications in bone fractures

Bone fractures can occur very quickly. But not all fractures are the same. In order to provide the best possible care for patients in such cases, interdisciplinary consultation in diagnostics and therapy is essential. This is where the EXPERT project at the Medical Faculty of the University of Münster comes in. University physicians are planning to develop a digital experts’ forum.

Prof. Jan vom Brocke (from left), Prof. Yuri Kazepov and Dr. Francesca Cadeddu give insights into their interdisciplinary work.<address>© WWU - Designservice</address>
© WWU - Designservice

Ingredients for Collaboration: Vision and Playfulness

With around 8,000 employees, 15 faculties and more than 45,000 students, the University of Münster offers plenty of opportunities for networking and teamwork. In a dossier published over the past six months, the Communications and Public Relations Department has taken a close look at the theme of collaboration. To round, three international universities provide insights into their work.


The BACCARA research school focuses on interdisciplinarity in the training of young scientists<address>© MEET - Peter Leßmann</address>
© MEET - Peter Leßmann

Developing the batteries of tomorrow together

The Graduate School of BACCARA was established on 1 July 2020. A programme covers the fields of materials science, (macro-)molecular chemistry, electrochemistry, catalysis and battery cell research for energy storage as well as life cycle analysis and recycling. In their guest contributions, two doctoral students present the importance that interdisciplinarity has in their everyday research.

Erasmus+ offers many cross-border opportunities such as cooperation and partnership programmes.<address>© DAAD - Oliver Reetz</address>
© DAAD - Oliver Reetz

Erasmus is more than just an exchange programme for students

Student exchanges, staff mobility, university projects: for over 35 years now, these have been part of the European Union’s Erasmus+ programme. Starting as a European exchange programme for students, Erasmus today offers numerous cross-border opportunities. These include cooperation and partnership programmes which assist exchanges between universities in Europe and all over the world.

Exchanges and interdisciplinary collaboration are at the centre of the master’s course in “Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies”: course coordinator Lukas Reddemann (left) and director of studies Prof. Karl Enenkel (3rd from left) take a look at medieval material with students Hannah von Legat and Luca Hollenborg.<address>© WWU - Peter Leßmann</address>
© WWU - Peter Leßmann

More methodologies, better possibilities, greater insights

The master’s course “Interdisciplinary Medieval Studies” combines the subjects of History, Philosophy and Philology. Anyone enrolling for this course learns a lot, from several angles, about textual scholarship, oral and written traditions, history and cultural history in the period from 500 to 1500 CE.

Installing the new ALICE silicon detector near the LHC beam tube.<address>© CERN</address>

Physicist Christian Klein-Bösing about the collaboration at CERN

Uncovering the secrets of the universe: this is one of many aims which CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Geneva has. Prof. Christian Klein-Bösing from the Institute of Nuclear Physics at Münster University has been working on the ALICE project there for many years. In an interview, he explains what the project is about and what collaboration is like in a large team.

In the Center for Soft Nanoscience physicists, chemists, biologists and physicians research together under one roof<address>© WWU - MünsterView</address>
© WWU - MünsterView

When interdisciplinary collaboration begins with the architecture

The Center for Soft Nanoscience is a research building for the nano-sciences. Here, 32 teams from the physics, chemistry, biology and medicine do their work using high-precision nano-analytical methods. The special thing: Together under one roof, scientists are researching how nanomaterials with complex properties are created in nature in order to produce nanomaterials based on this model.

Preceding the work: the search for a common language<address>© WWU - kn</address>
© WWU - kn

Preceding the work: the search for a common language

It is an unwritten law: scientific exchanges and interdisciplinarity are the basis for excellent research. How does interdisciplinary collaboration increase the gain in knowledge? What obstacles have to be overcome in everyday work? We take a closer look at these and other questions by presenting two research projects from the Humanities and the Social Sciences.

Senior lecturer Dr. Saeed Amirjalayer (from left), Prof. Harald Fuchs and senior lecturer Dr. Harry Mönig at the atomic force microscope at CeNTech. The device can be used to identify different atoms.<address>© WWU- Peter Leßmann</address>
© WWU- Peter Leßmann

Chemistry and physics are intermeshed

At the nanoscale, the laws of quantum mechanics apply and the boundaries between chemistry and physics become blurred. Three scientists provide insights into their research in this border area.

An interdisciplinary glossary covering historical legal research is being compiled at the University of Münster<address>© Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Legal Unity and Pluralism”</address>
© Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Legal Unity and Pluralism”

Interdisciplinary glossary thematises historical legal research

The Käte Hamburger Kolleg “Legal Unity and Pluralism” at the University of Münster is committed to interdisciplinary exchanges. One project is the Münster Glossary on Legal Unity and Pluralism, which has now been published in its second edition. In this interview ditor-in-chief Dr. Benjamin Seebröker describes the challenges which have to be overcome in interdisciplinary understanding.

Excellent research is not possible without interdisciplinary working. But, even within one discipline, collaborations crossing the barriers between research areas can lead to new approaches and findings. Mathematics is an example of this.<address>© WWU - Kathrin Nolte</address>
© WWU - Kathrin Nolte

“Learning from one another means we arrive at findings faster”

Research is not possible without interdisciplinary working. But, even within one discipline, collaborations crossing the barriers between research areas can lead to new approaches. Mathematics is an example of this. Prof. Hendrik Weber and Prof. Raimar Wulkenhaar work together at the Cluster of Excellence “Mathematics Münster” and talk about the opportunities which exchanging ideas presents.

<address>© WWU - Robert Matzke</address>
© WWU - Robert Matzke

Academic freedom at risk

Irrespective of whether the issue is the general security situation, the rule of law, or political influence on academic and scientific work – instability is on the increase worldwide. The consequence is that scientific cooperation is at risk or has even been forbidden by law. Here we present how the University of Münster deals with "challenging" partner countries and dictatorships.

Four Münster University academics talk about their everyday work with non-democratic partners<address>© WWU - private source, Khorchide, Karberg</address>
© WWU - private source, Khorchide, Karberg

Worldwide collaborations – with obstacles

The German scholar Prof. Dr Susanne Günthner, the biologist Prof. Dr Eva Liebau, the Islamic scholar Prof. Dr Mouhanad Khorchide and the archaeologist Prof. Dr Angelika Lohwasser work with non-democratic partners. In their guest contributions, the academics from the University of Münster give an insight into their everyday work.

Heide Ahrens, Secretary-General of the German Research Foundation (DFG) on dealing with dictatorships and on strengthening awareness<address>© - royyimzy / goldmarie design</address>
© - royyimzy / goldmarie design

“It will remain a balancing act”

International exchange is a matter of course for universities. Only through cooperation can global challenges be solved. However, the field of tension between one's own set of values and divergent value systems in partner countries is constantly growing. In an interview, DFG Secretary-General Heide Ahrens talks about diplomacy in science.

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