Research centers are an important strategic funding instrument of the German Research Foundation (DFG). They enable universities and other institutions to establish research priorities on the basis of existing structures. They provide the means to concentrate scientific research competence in particularly innovative fields, creating temporary, internationally visible research priorities at universities.
Freie Universität has been represented in a DFG Research Center from 2002 to 2014: MATHEON. The research center’s purpose is to develop new mathematical methods to model, simulate, and optimize complex systems so that those systems can be used in advanced key technologies. This creates a link between numerical mathematical simulation, non-numerical modeling, and stochastics for a whole host of different areas of application, including medicine, biotechnology, traffic and communication networks, optimization of industrial processes, and issues of optimization in electronics.
Since June 2014, the Einstein Center for Mathematics Berlin (ECMath) is a platform for the consolidation of the collaborative mathematical excellence projects in Berlin, including the Research Center Matheon, the Berlin Mathematical School, and the German Center for Teacher Education in Mathematics, in an internationally visible framework, using the organizational structure of Matheon as a role model. ECMath establishes the institutional basis for innovative first-rate research in mathematics ranging from application-driven as well as theoretical basic research, up to the transfer of mathematical research results into industrial practice.