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Welcome to the University of Potsdam’s Research Focus of Earth Sciences

Earth sciences at Potsdam University (UP) are one of its most outstanding areas for research and teaching, which serve as premier area for UP’s strategic development. Building on Potsdam’s 150 year-old tradition as a leading center of geoscientific research, UP’s Earth sciences were established in 1994. Close collaboration with internationally renowned and networked extramural research institutions in the Berlin-Potsdam area (see below) provide unique opportunities for study, innovative research, and outstanding career paths for young scientists.

The main objective of the Research Focus of Earth Sciences is the interdisciplinary investigation of the earth-human system in its different compartments. A primary focus is the analysis of interactions of these relationships. These commonly exhibit wide, complex, and sometimes non-linear reactions, causing nearly unpredictable changes in our environment, often with catastrophic and sometimes irreversible consequences.

Research on these topics covers interactions between processes in the Earth’s interior and its surface as well as ensuing environmental effects on different temporal and spatial scales. The purpose of such examinations is to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of the whole system, to measure the interference of different processes with one another, to estimate impacts on society, and to facilitate our future ability to manage such processes, to the greatest extent possible.

Fields of research include the following domains:

Ideal Environment

Building on Potsdam’s 150 year-old tradition as a leading center of geoscientific research, Universities’ Department of Earth and Environmental Science has become an excellent location with unique opportunities for study, innovative research, and outstanding opportunities for the advancement of young scientists. This is documented by an increasing number of undergraduate students, DFG-funded Graduate Schools, DFG-funded Emmy-Noether-Research Groups, two Leibniz-Awards, awarded to members of the department, and the International Dual-Degree programs with partners in Argentina and the US.

Today, the department conducts a variety of large-scale international projects, which is based on excellent infrastructural facilities and close international alliances with partners in the US, South America, Kenya, Turkey, Central Asia and South-East Asia. However, the universities excellence builds on the close collaborations with a variety of locally-based research institutions, too. Such collaborations include the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), the Alfred-Wegener-Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), and the Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF).
The university has more than 20 joint appointments with these institutions, guaranteeing a wide range in teaching and research.

Networking with strategic partners

In the metropolitan region of Berlin and Potsdam a critical mass of cutting-edge geoscience research has evolved from a number of scientific institutions that are competitive on a worldwide level. This comprehensive scientific expertise is bundled in the Geo.X research network that brings together partners from universities and non-university research institutions. By joining forces, Geo.X will groom next generation geoscientists, to sustain a vibrant, concentrated and productive regional research network that serves as a blueprint for perpetuating collaborative multi- and interdisciplinary science and, in this way, to provide answers to grand challenges that shape the future of our society.

Geo.X will cover new ground in order to overcome restrictions of inter-institutional collaboration. The regional research competence within the geosciences will be integrated into inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to generate both system knowledge and orientation knowledge on a broad and robust basis.

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