Research bridge


"Explorer" by ahmad syahrir von Pexels

The research bridge HEiKAexplore serves the exploration and support of new, strategically important topics. Thus, HEiKAexplore regularly devotes itself to a large, common topic (outside the topics of the established HEiKA research bridges: AIP, MTH, OE, PAC and SB), in which existing collaborations should be strengthened and new ones stimulated. An important goal for HEiKA is to promote topics that have a recognizable potential for initiating a new joint research network. It follows automatically that a HEiKAexplore thematic field should already have a certain breadth on both sides of the KIT and the University of Heidelberg, in order to enable cooperation beyond a simple HEiKA project.


2018/2019: Modeling, simulation and optimization for mastering the energy transition

Energy transmissionThe success of the energy transition is a high-priority objective of our society as the security of energy supply must be guaranteed at all stages of the fundamental transformation of the energy sector in Germany. The German federal government has formulated the ambitious goal to reduce primary energy usage until 2050 by 50 % compared to 2008. At least 80 % of the electricity will be generated by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power to save 80 % of the carbon dioxide emissions. The transformation process also includes decommissioning of large conventional power plants. Therefore a growing number of network redispatches is necessary for the security of energy supply. A large number of decentralized energy producers, the distribution and the storage of energy in the volatile, nonlinear energy system with uncertain influences are particularly challenging for the network operators, because they have to meet the time-dependent energy demand. In this context it is inevitable to develop new methods in the field of mathematical modeling, simulation and optimization to realize the energy transition. On top of that, studies in the social sciences have to be pushed forward to achieve higher acceptance of the energy transition in the society.

Our activities within HEiKA include methodological research in mathematics, computer science, scientific computing, power engineering and energy economics as well as the technology transfer to practical solutions. The HEiKA research bridge benefits from the following synergies: KIT contributes excellent competence in the fields of power engineering and energy economics, Heidelberg University is internationally renowned for its expertise in efficient numerical methods for scientific computing and mathematical optimization.

The goal of the research bridge is to create an environment that exploits the potential of the participating research groups in Karlsruhe and Heidelberg. On the one hand, the research bridge aims to provide scientific arguments for decision-makers in government and society, and on the other hand, the methods developed in the research bridge enable network operators and industry to successfully implement the energy transition.

Scientific coordinatiors:

2017/2018: Text Worlds and Knowledge Research

Text WorldsThe historical and systematic study of ‚knowledge‘ as a central concept of scholarship and of the modern knowledge society as well as the medial representation of knowledge and knowledge transfer are in the centre of the research bridge HEiKAexplore with the topic “Text Worlds and Knowledge Research” and eligible for the forthcoming HEiKA project call. Questions concerning narratology as well as research on fiction and rhetoric might be of special importance:

What kind of knowledge is transferred by narrative textes? How can the relation between knowledge and fiction be described? How are rhetorical techniques, like the use of metaphors, helpful to the accessibility and transfer of knowledge? Which change of meaning do topoi like the robot, the artificial human or the cyborg undergo until present age?

The historic transformations of knowledge claims in different cultural situations, forms of presentation, production, discussion, distribution, reception and canonisation of knowledge might, among others, be investigated in the context of the research bridge. However, the research on knowledge does not only encompass academic and theoretical knowledge, but also everyday and practical applications of knowledge. The relation between text and image plays a crucial role in this context, connecting the media history of the eras before and after the “Gutenberg galaxy”, the pre-modern period and present age. Also, questions on forms and fields of alternative or uncertain knowledge are of central interest.

Scientific coordinatiors:

2016/2017: FACE - Facing Environmental Change: Research, Communication, Action

Environmental changeSocieties are facing a variety of challenges in dealing with their environment, fundamentally questioning the current way of living. Finding adequate solution strategies for these problems is therefore an urgent task. This was underlined by the German Science Council in its position paper ‘Grand Societal Challenges as a Topic for Science Policy’ published in April 2015. Examples of fields of action in the environmental context include, amongst others, climate change as well as resource and energy problems, which are especially exacerbated in urban regions and cities.

The scientific analysis of environmental challenges is a first step towards developing appropriate solution strategies. On the one hand, it is necessary to assess each problem set with scientific and engineering expertise and to outline possible sustainable solutions. On the other hand, it is essential to investigate past and present patterns in the perception of and reactions to these phenomena from the perspective of the social sciences and humanities. Solution strategies have to be implemented both at the individual as well as at the community level and are often connected on the spatial scale. Conveying solutions and corresponding behavioral changes to individuals, various social groups and to a whole society becomes therefore an important task for researchers. In this regard, the inclusion of expertise of behavioral, communication, education and spatial sciences is of greatest importance.

In the HEiKAexplore research bridge “Facing Environmental Change: Research, Communication, Action (FACE)”, projects are welcome that examine environmental challenges from different perspectives and correlate their findings to one another.

Scientific coordinatiors:

HEiKA-Projects of this research bridge