Public Release: 

German Research Foundation funds global Open Research Challenge

Award for international science contest organized by Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg

University of Erlangen-Nuremberg


IMAGE: The logo for the FAU Open Research Challenge. view more

Credit: FAU

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has awarded 75,000 Euros for the implementation of a new international research marketing project, the FAU Open Research Challenge. The project is one of three strategic concepts awarded a prize for innovative approaches to marketing Germany's research landscape internationally.

The funding has enabled FAU to launch an online platform to host the competition at In addition to the technical set-up, the DFG funds cover the operation of the platform, publicity for the challenges, and the prizes for the contest winners, including travel and accommodation.

Designed to be engaging as well as challenging, the contest reflects some of FAU's major research areas. From now until July 2015, members of the global research community are invited to register and form teams to tackle one of three separate questions at the forefront of information technology, optics, or applied mathematics in energy research. The topics are:

Digital Forensics: More and more data is stored and shared by digital devices in our networked world. With this increase and recent data breaches, the question of information security is highly relevant. Besides actively securing data and devices, proving and investigating a potential hack is an equally important skill needed for digital crime scene investigation. The Digital Forensics challenge provides a scenario with a data set and asks researchers to investigate the case.

Discrete Optimization: The global community is searching for new ways to mitigate its growing energy demands and offer sustainable solutions for a rapidly developing world. This challenge focuses on the crucial aspect of electric rail transportation, specifically: how can rail timetables be optimized to prevent costly fluctuations, or peaks, in power consumption. Participants in this challenge are asked to find an efficient solution to optimize a given rail timetable.

Photonic Technologies: Modern technology makes the life of counterfeiters increasingly difficult. It allows us to create complex holograms as a security measure. A seemingly random pattern reveals its concealed security information when read out with a laser. The challenge is to decode analytically the message hidden in a hologram.

The submitted answers will be judged by a panel of experts in the respective fields. The three winning teams will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to visit FAU. During a week-long autumn school in Erlangen-Nuremberg in October 2015, they will have the chance to visit the research groups and laboratories, discuss their solutions, explore possibilities for future collaboration or careers, and present their work at a high profile public event, the Long Night of Science. The winners will also experience the cultural and nature highlights of FAU's historic and innovation-driven region of northern Bavaria including the picturesque medieval city of Nuremberg.


About FAU

Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg, founded in 1743, is one of Germany's leading research universities with an international perspective. It is one of the largest universities in Germany, with almost 40,000 students, 244 degree programmes, 4,000 academic staff (including 661 professors), 171 million euros (2013) third-party funding, and 500 partnerships with universities all over the world. FAU's outstanding research and teaching is reflected in top positions in both national and international rankings, as well as the high amount of DFG funding which its researchers are able to secure. FAU is among the world's elite institutions in 13 of the 36 subjects featured in this year's QS World University Rankings by Subject, is ranked tenth in the DFG's current research ranking, and was judged the seventh best university in Germany in the most recent University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP). For more information, visit

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.