University of Innsbruck
Gregor Weihs und Veronika Sexl mit jeweils einem gelben Schutzhelm am Kopf

Three Clusters of Excellence for the University of Innsbruck: The new Rector, Veronika Sexl, and Vice Rector for Research, Gregor Weihs, who will also head the new Cluster of Excellence for Quantum Sciences, are getting down to work with a lot of momentum.

Three Clus­ters of Excel­lence in Inns­bruck

With highly endowed clusters of excellence, the Austrian Science Fund FWF creates Austrian flagships of basic research. The University of Innsbruck will coordinate the Cluster of Excellence for Quantum Sciences and is involved in two Clusters of Excellence on political, social and cultural developments in Eurasia and on materials for energy conversion and storage.

The expectations for the new clusters of excellence are high: In the long term, they are to anchor research topics at a top international level in Austria and to take on an internationally leading role in the development and expansion of their field of research. "The University of Innsbruck has done extremely well in the fiercely contested competition for the new Clusters of Excellence," Rector Veronika Sexl is pleased to state. "Our broad participation in the now approved Clusters of Excellence underlines our leading role as a research university in Austria."
The new Cluster of Excellence Quantum Science Austria, is coordinated by experimental physicist Gregor Weihs: "Over the past three decades, Austria has developed into a world-leading center for quantum physics. This is underlined by the Nobel Prize for Anton Zeilinger. We also owe this development to the always very close cooperation of research groups in Austria. With the new Cluster of Excellence, we can further intensify these collaborations and establish an internationally visible center of quantum science in Austria that will attract the best minds from all over the world," says Gregor Weihs, who has also been Vice Rector for Research at the University of Innsbruck since March.

The funded clusters of excellence with participation of the University of Innsbruck

Quantum Science Austria
University of Innsbruck, University of Vienna, Vienna University of Technology, University of Linz, IST Austria, Austrian Academy of Sciences

DThe Second Quantum Revolution - the breathtaking development of modern quantum science - would not have been conceivable without the pioneering contributions from Austria. Based on them, quantum technologies are being developed today that surpass classical technologies in many areas. The Cluster of Excellence Quantum Science Austria, which has now been approved by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, is advancing basic research in the quantum sciences, aims to expand the frontiers of knowledge and thus be the engine for future innovations. The focus is on fundamental questions regarding the quantum nature of space, time and gravity, new paradigms in quantum information science and the physics of quantum many-body systems. The scientists* in Innsbruck, Vienna, Linz and Klosterneuburg are asking innovative fundamental questions that can only be solved by combining the unique know-how available in Austria. With well-controlled model systems based on trapped ions, ultracold atoms, long-range interaction systems, photonic systems, superconducting quantum circuits, and nanoscopic solid-state systems, they aim to unravel the most challenging puzzles of the quantum world.
From the University of Innsbruck participating are: Rainer Blatt, Tracy Northup, Gregor Weihs (Department of Experimental Physics), Hans Briegel, Gemma De la Cuevas, Oriol Romero-Isart (Department of Theoretical Physics), Francesca Ferlaino, Hannes Pichler, Peter Zoller (for the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information, IQOQI Innsbruck).

Six persons in front of a blue wall

The Board of the new Cluster of Excellence in Quantum Sciences: Armando Rastelli (University of Linz), Hannes-Jörg Schmiedmayer (TU Vienna), Francesca Ferlaino (University of Innsbruck/ÖAW), Gregor Weihs (University of Innsbruck), Oriol Romero-Isart (University of Innsbruck/ÖAW) and Markus Aspelmeyer (University of Vienna/ÖAW); not in the picture: Johannes Fink (IST).

EurAsia: Cultural Heritage and Historical Transformation Processes in Global Perspective
Austrian Academy of Sciences, University of Innsbruck, University of Vienna, Central European University

Over three millennia, from Central Europe to Asia, the 'Eurasian Miracle' (Jack Goody) evolved: historical transformation processes that continue to have an impact into modern times. Growth and decline of empires, environmental changes, and mobility and migration had consequences for economic developments and were managed by new discourses of identity and strategies of exclusion, including religious ones. Historical sources from this period are preserved in a variety of languages and writings. The cultural heritage of this large region is still waiting to be explored and analyzed. 31 scientists of the Cluster of Excellence EurAsia at four Austrian institutions will dedicate themselves to the research of these topics in dialogue with international partners and train a new generation of doctoral students and young researchers with broad competences in research-oriented teaching.
From the University of Innsbruck participating are: Robert Rollinger, Irene Madreiter, Sebastian Fink (Department of Ancient History and Ancient Oriental Studies), Erich Kistler (Department of Archaeologies), Ulrike Tanzer (Research Department Brenner-Archiv), Kristina Stoeckl (Department of Sociology)

Six persons in front of a blue wall

The Board of the new Cluster of Excellence for EurAsia: Tijana Krstic (Central European University), Birgit Kellner (University of Vienna/ÖAW), Walter Pohl (University of Vienna/ÖAW), Claudia Rapp (University of Vienna/ÖAW), Oliver Jens Schmitt (University of Vienna), Melanie Malzahn (University of Vienna) and Robert Rollinger (University of Innsbruck).

Materials for energy conversion and storage
TU Vienna, University of Innsbruck, University of Vienna, IST Austria

The continued burning of fossil fuels to meet growing energy demand has brought the world to the brink of a climate crisis. In the Cluster of Excellence Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage, researchers are working to create new technologies for efficient energy conversion and storage, thus paving the way to a fossil fuel-free society. The storage of renewable energies in recyclable energy carriers is crucial: water can be split into hydrogen and oxygen, CO2 can even be converted into valuable products - all the way to climate-neutral substitutes for natural gas and crude oil. To this end, nanocatalysts are being developed in the Cluster of Excellence on which chemical reactions can take place quickly and reliably. To this end, expertise from various fields such as surface chemistry, surface physics, materials science and computer simulation is being pooled. The Cluster of Excellence is thus taking an important step towards climate neutrality.
From the University of Innsbruck participating: Julia Kunze-Liebhäuser, Department of Physical Chemistry

Five persons in front of a blue wall

The Board of the new Cluster of Excellence in Materials for Energy Conversion and Storage: Ulrike Diebold (TU Vienna), Stefan Freunberger (IST), Günther Rupprechter (TU Vienna), Leticia González (University of Vienna) and Julia Kunze-Liebhäuser (University of Innsbruck).

Cutting-edge research, training and knowledge transfer


The extent and flexibility of research funding are crucial to being able to conduct research at the top of the world. In the first excellent=austria program line, the Clusters of Excellence, up to 70 million euros are available to research teams over ten years for pioneering large-scale projects in basic research - the magnitude exceeds all previous funding programs in the field of basic research in Austria. A Cluster of Excellence is characterized by the successful combination of cutting-edge research, research-led training and support for young researchers, as well as the national and international exchange of knowledge. The funding initiative gives teams of scientists* at Austrian research institutions the opportunity to achieve outstanding joint research achievements in one field or even interdisciplinary. The aim is to anchor this field of research at a top international level in Austria in the long term. In addition, special emphasis is placed on equal opportunities and diversity. In addition, knowledge and technology transfer in the form of cooperation with business and society is a central element. A cluster of excellence should take on a leading role internationally in the development and expansion of its research field.