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The research programme of the IRTG “Soft Matter Science: Concepts for the Design of Functional Materials” was fundamentally oriented, but also had a thrust to harness these “concepts” to develop functional materials for future applications. In order to implement this central research idea, the programme was structured around three thematic fields: soft matter interfacess, design of multifunctional materials and devices, and physical concepts for soft materials.

►Research Projects

The IRTG has established a qualification programme which comprised four key elements: SoMaS Summer Schools were organized annually and hosted an international audience; Discussion Meetings were international conferences discussing current challenges in soft matter science; Internal Workshops were organized at least once per year and provided the framework within which the doctoral researchers presented their results; Training Camps were organized by the doctoral researchers, tailored to their needs for further training. These elements were complemented by the weekly seminar series at the partner universities with presentations from international visitors. In addition, soft skill and career seminars were organized according to the needs of the doctoral researchers. The combination of all these components aimed at offering a multifaceted qualification programme, which accompanied the doctoral research. The programme provided scientific and soft skills, encouraged the active participation of the doctoral researchers, and aimed at preparing them for the international job market.

►Qualification Programme

The IRTG was perfectly embedded in the long-standing tradition in soft matter science in the Upper Rhine Valley: High-quality facilities and outstanding multidisciplinary expertise in the area of soft matter science at the Universities of Freiburg and Strasbourg provided optimal conditions. The Universities of Freiburg and Strasbourg are both members of Eucor – The European Campus (EC), a trinational alliance of five universities in the Upper Rhine valley with the aim to promote scientific exchange between Germany, France and Switzerland. Eucor is a model project, which is unique in the European research area. The IRTG profited from these tight links between the universities, but also played a pivotal role in the development of the EC, as the IRTG has always been a role model for successful scientific collaboration between Freiburg and Strasbourg.

►Partner Institutes and Universities

During the nine years of its existence, the IRTG has achieved excellent scientific progress, documented by a substantial number of publications, many of which are in top journals in the respective field. Many publications were co-authored by researchers from different disciplines and from authors from Germany and France, highlighting the added value by the interdisciplinary and international character of the programme.


Until now, 44 doctoral researchers successfully defended their PhD within the IRTG (the others will defend in the near future) and many of them currently hold attractive research positions at institutes all over the world.



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