In our "cluster projects", we offer answers to the major scientific and social questions of our time together with partners with strong research capabilities. These projects are the result of many years of interdisciplinary research in the profile topics of the TU Darmstadt and the intensive collaboration with our scientific cooperation partners. Four of our projects have been funded since 2021 as part of the Top Research Competition launched by the state of Hesse and with the TU Darmstadt's and partners' own funds.

COM2LIFE

Project partner

Project partner

CoM2Life is a project within the framework of the Rhine Main Universities

Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research

Fraunhofer Institute for Microengineering and Microsystems

The vision of the CoM2Life initiative is to revolutionize the field of soft biomaterials by integrating principles from living systems into synthetic materials to enable bidirectional communication and continuous interaction with living biological systems. Our approach combines chemistry-centered biomaterials design and synthetic biology-centered design of regulatory circuits, resulting in biomaterials that exhibit life-like properties such as signal sensing, processing, and actuation. This breakthrough towards biomaterials with an ‘embodied intelligence’ unlocks new possibilities for interactive crossregulation and adaptive co-development in future generations of biomaterials systems.

CoM2Life focuses on “deep technology push” concepts to empower biomaterials research with the cutting-edge technologies of tomorrow. These advancements are expected to drive breakthroughs in medical research and personalized healthcare in the coming decades. Examples include feedback-regulated drug delivery devices for homeostatic regulation, tissue models that can replace animal testing, metabolic regulation systems for tumor immunotherapy, tissue repair, and the engineering of artificial organs.

CoM2Life integrates complementary disciplines from JGU Mainz and TU Darmstadt that synergize expertise and technologies, creating a Rhine Main University research hub dedicated to the convergence of living and soft matter disciplines. Our interdisciplinary program equips researchers with a multidisciplinary information advantage to drive future innovation. Experts in communication sciences foster trust and understanding in this highly interdisciplinary environment and develop effective communication strategies to address the challenges of misinformation in the world today.

CoM2Life was invited to submit a full proposal as part of the Cluster of Excellence funding line.

RAI

Reasonable Artificial Intelligence (formerly Third Wave of AI (3AI))

Project partner

Julius-Maximilians-Universität of Würzburg

Goethe University Frankfurt

The Rhenish Friedrich Wilhelm University of Bonn

Researchers led by Technische Universität Darmstadt want to usher in a new era in the development of artificial intelligence (AI): These AI systems are to acquire human-like communication and thinking skills, recognise and classify new situations and adapt to them independently. The novel AI systems should not only be able to learn, but they will also grasp facts and link them to forms of abstract thinking. They will draw logical conclusions and make context-related decisions and learn from them again. This new future perspective is called the “third wave of AI” in reference to the two previous developmental thrusts in artificial intelligence.

RAI was invited to submit a full proposal as part of the Cluster of Excellence funding line.

TAM

The Adaptive Mind

Project partner

Project partner

Project partner

Goethe University Frankfurt

Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies

In this research cluster led by the University of Giessen, scientists from the Centre for Cognitive Science at TU Darmstadt, among others, contribute their expertise in the fields of cognitive science and artificial intelligence. “The Adaptive Mind” investigates human behaviour under changing external conditions – in some situations, people react through stability, in others through adaptation. A central question in the cluster is the balance between these strategies in the context of adaptive and learning systems.

TAM was invited to submit a full proposal as part of the Cluster of Excellence funding line.

CLEAN CIRCLES

Iron as energy carrier in a carbon neutral circular energy economy

Project partner

Project partner

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz

The German Aerospace Center Cottbus site

Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung

Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg

Iron has enormous potential for storing and transporting large amounts of renewable energy. Scientists at TU Darmstadt want to prove this in the “Clean Circles” research project. They want to use a new research approach to develop a sustainable solution for the future and show how the abundant raw material iron on earth and its oxides can be used in a cycle system as a carbon-free chemical energy carrier to store electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind and sun. To this end, experts from engineering, natural, political and economic science disciplines are cooperating.

ELEMENTS

Exploring the Universe from Microscopic to Macroscopic Scales

Project partner

Project partner

Elements is a project within the framework of the Rhine Main Universities

GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung

Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies

Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Bonn

Understanding the dynamics of neutron stars, investigating the formation of gravitational waves and the heaviest chemical elements – this is the research aspiration of physicists from Goethe University Frankfurt and TU Darmstadt in the joint ELEMENTS project. They are combining their expertise in gravitational physics and the physics of nuclear reactions and will use the outstanding infrastructure of accelerator facilities in Hesse – including the FAIR facility being built at the GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt.