What is a research association

A Research Association is a unique network of scientists, specialising in widely differing disciplines. The researchers operate from different locations, and work together on complex topics. A Research Association is either formed on the basis of a current need, triggered, for instance, by the BSE crisis in agriculture, or as a direct investment in the future, to secure Bavaria's position as a centre of research and industry.

Industrial partners are involved from the very beginning. They actively cooperate and do not merely provide finance. This ensures that research is beneficial for industrial applications and can be implemented quickly in the industrial environment. Research Associations are financed for a limited period between three and six years.

In 1993, Bavarian Research Associations joined together in the Research Associations Consortium, abayfor, forming an umbrella organization to represent their interests. Following the founding of BayFOR and its entry into the Bavarian Research and Innovation Agency, the Bavarian Research Associations gave up their own independent umbrella organization and now partner with the Bavarian Research Alliance, which continues to network the Bavarian Research Associations internally, and to raise their public profile.

To make its extensive experience in network organization and network management available also to other research associations, the Bavarian Research Associations launched the "Collaborative research working group" initiative at the start of 2011, which is now also available to European and national research associations under Bavarian coordination. The goals of the working group are:

  • To network the research skills available in Bavaria to support Bavarian scientists in the competition for national and European subsidies
  • To generate new research ideas at the interfaces between disciplines

This working group functions without legal structure and has a flat management structure. Professor Thorsten M. Kühlmann from University of Bayreuth and Professor Michael Schmidt from Erlangen-Nurnberg FAU are the current representatives of the working group.

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