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Structural Change

Structural Change

What’s next after lignite? How can high-quality jobs be kept in the region while also creating new ones? And what role does science and research play in this process that will radically transform the identity of the lignite region surrounding Jülich today?The structural change in the Rhineland raises a whole series of questions and is one of the central societal challenges not just for the lignite region, but for North Rhine-Westphalia as a whole. To meet this challenge, the lignite-mining region has to be transformed. This structural change has already begun – and Forschungszentrum Jülich is helping to actively shape it. Both its excellent scientific expertise and its special location in the heart of the Rhineland are valuable to this effort. Read more: Structural Change …
Wolfgang Marquardt

Shaping Change

The Rhineland lignite-mining region, at the heart of which Forschungszentrum Jülich is located, is faced with major challenges. The Federal Government’s Commission on Growth, Structural Change and Employment has unveiled a pathway for how climate protection, economic viability, energy security, and social compatibility can be ensured as the region phases out coal-fired power generation. This is a huge challenge, but also a huge opportunity.

Article by Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich, on Jülich Blogs. Read more ... (in German)


iNEW Project

How can the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) be used industrially and made into an asset within the process of structural change in the Rhineland region? This is just one of the questions that the iNEW research project intends to answer. Coordinated by Forschungszentrum Jülich, the project aims to be an incubator for sustainable electrochemical value creation. The project is an open innovation platform that brings together developers and users of technology. (Photo: zwiboe /


Neuro-Inspired Artificial Intelligence Technologies for the Electronics of the Future (NEUROTEC) – This interdisciplinary project unites experts from Forschungszentrum Jülich and RWTH Aachen University to develop new materials and electronic components for neuro-inspired hardware together with partners from industry. The inner workings of the brain serve as the basis for innovative computer architectures. These neuromorphic computers have the potential to become the computer generation of the future. (Tim Caspary /


BioökonomieREVIER Rheinland is intended to be a pilot project for all of Europe in which the conversion of the traditional economy based on fossil fuels into a sustainable bioeconomy adapted to the local conditions and future prospects is implemented in the Rhineland region. (Foto: Bernd Kasper /


Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier recommended in May 2020 that the following projects be implemented. They are currently in the selection phase for potential funding as part of the federal and state governments’ structural change funding programme.


Helmholtz cluster for hydrogen technology

The goal of the Helmholtz cluster for hydrogen technology (HC-H2) would be to show what is possible. The planned research cluster will be a central component of a model region for hydrogen in the Rhineland. It could help advance the development of this promising technology and illustrate its practical strengths in specific demonstration projects. Liquid organic hydrogen carrier systems (LOHCs) play an important role in this cluster. The cluster would be coordinated by the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy (HI ERN).

Der Supercomputer JURECA in der Rechnerhalle des JSC

Cognitive Computing Center

If data are the raw material of the 21st century, then innovative approaches such as cognitive computing are the new support tools for this raw material. This is where the planned Cognitive Computing Center (CCC) comes into play, developing adaptive procedures to gain useful knowledge from raw data. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and neuro-inspired computing are just some of the research fields that could be applied to this end. The CCC would be a multifaceted platform for supporting the regional economy through the imminent digital transformation and contributing to successful structural change. The project would be supervised by the Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC).

Forschen an den physikalischen Grenzen der Optik

Beacon infrastructure for high-resolution electron microscopy

Excellence is in the detail. This is especially the case for materials technology. Innovations in fields as crucial as energy conversion and storage, information technology, and the pharmaceutical sector are only possible if the properties of the materials underlying these fields are understood right down to the molecular or atomic level. This close look at the crucial details could be provided by the Ernst Ruska-Centre 2.0. With its unique options for high-resolution electron microscopy, it would offer the possibility to support companies in the region undergoing structural change with developing new material technologies. The Rhineland would thus have the chance to become an attractive region for establishing new material technologies.

Transfer- und Konferenzzentrum

Transfer and conference centre

A process like structural change requires places where everyone involved can come together and engage in dialogue. The transfer and conference centre at Forschungszentrum Jülich is intended to be such a place. Centrally located in the Rhineland science region, it would be a platform for dialogue between the different stakeholders from the worlds of science, business, and society. With its research priorities in user-oriented basic research, Jülich is an ideal location to explore the innovation potential of scientific findings. In addition, the research centre could also provide a space to direct questions at scientists themselves.


Prof. Dr. Rafal E. Dunin-Borkowski

Prof. Rafal Dunin-Borkowski

Prof. Rafal Dunin-Borkowski is director at Jülich’s Peter Grünberg Institute, Professor of Experimental Physics at RWTH Aachen University, and director at the Ernst Ruska-Centre for Microscopy and Spectroscopy with Electrons. He has been working on advanced electron microscopy techniques, including electron holography, for over twenty years. His scientific career includes positions in Cambridge, Oxford, and Arizona. The physicist, who has won multiple awards, received an ERC Synergy Grant from the European Research Council in 2019.

Prof. Rüdiger Eichel

Prof. Rüdiger Eichel

Prof. Rüdiger-A. Eichel heads the Fundamental Electrochemistry subinstitute (IEK-9) within the Institute of Energy and Climate Research and is the founding director of the Competence Center Sustainable Electrochemical Process Engineering (ELECTRA). At the competence centre, the physicist and his team investigate innovative energy storage systems and energy converters. Their goal is to make batteries, fuel cells, and electrolyzers more efficient, affordable, long-lasting, and safer. Eichel is the coordinator of the Kopernikus Power-to-X project and head of the iNEW structural change project.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Lippert

Prof. Thomas Lippert

Prof. Thomas Lippert is director at the Jülich Supercomputing Centre at Forschungszentrum Jülich, a member of the Board of Directors of the John von Neumann Institute for Computing (NIC), and professor for theoretical computational physics at the University of Wuppertal. In addition, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Gauss Centre for Supercomputing (GCS). His research interests include lattice gauge theory, quantum computing, numerical and parallel algorithms, and cluster computing.

Prof. Dr. Joachim Mayer

Prof. Joachim Mayer

Prof. Joachim Mayer is a full professor of microstructure analysis and head of the Central Facility for Electron Microscopy at RWTH Aachen University. Since the founding of the Ernst Ruska-Centre in 2004, he has been one of the Centre’s two directors, conducting research into the development of imaging methods at the atomic level.

Ulrich Schurr

Prof. Ulrich Schurr

Prof. Ulrich Schurr has many years of experience in the field of bioeconomy research. The plant researcher heads the BioökonomieREVIER Rheinland coordination office and is director for Plant Sciences (IBG-2) at Forschungszentrum Jülich’s Institute of Bio- and Geosciences. In addition, he is the spokesperson of the managing directors of the Bioeconomy Science Center (BioSC). He teaches at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf.

Prof. Rainer Waser

Prof. Rainer Waser

As both a scientist and engineer, Prof. Rainer Waser combines the central ideas behind user-oriented basic research in a particular way. The winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize heads the Electronic Materials subinstitute (PGI-7) in the Peter Grünberg Institute at Forschungszentrum Jülich and the second institute studying electrical engineering materials (IWE II) at RWTH Aachen University. His research priority for some years now has been on studying and developing electronic components for future computers.

Prof. Dr. Peter Wasserscheid

Prof. Peter Wasserscheid

Prof. Peter Wasserscheid is chair of chemical engineering at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg and is director at the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg, a branch office of Forschungszentrum Jülich. The recipient of multiple scientific awards, he researches and develops solutions to use renewable energy in a way that is climate-neutral, sustainable, and cost-effective. In line with this, he works on topics such as options for storing and transporting hydrogen in chemical form. The winner of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize received an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant in 2010.

Initiativen und Kooperationen


A region with a future

“At Forschungszentrum Jülich, we make scientific contributions to the future sustainability of our society in the fields of energy, climate, the environment, information, and biomedicine. Zukunftsagentur Rheinisches Revier provides us with a framework to put our research into effect in the region where we live and work.Prof. Wolfgang Marquardt 

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