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Research institutes

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The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMNS) has 13 research institutes. Each of these institutes is coupled to one or more bachelor and/or master degree programmes. Here we just treat the 7 institutes which can be interesting for FMF-members.


The Zernike Institute of Advanced Materials (ZIAM) is the research institute for (Applied) Physics, the topmaster Nanoscience and Chemistry.

ZIAM's mission is the design and scientific study of materials for functionality. Basic research on materials is directed towards unravelling the relations between the properties that determine their functionality and their chemical composition and structure. Their main driving force is the desire to understand how things work at the microscopic level. In this realm of nanoscience and nanotechnology, the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials covers the whole chain from synthesizing materials, building devices, characterizing materials and devices, and investigating the theoretical foundation of their properties.


The Energy and Sustainability Research Institute Groningen (ESRIG) was founded to contribute to a world-wide energy supply for the next century, for more people in a sustainable way. The Energy and Environmental Science (EES) master degree programme is connected to ESRIG.

Their research is centered around two core themes. The first is the energy supply and energy conversion like the sustainable role of bio-fuels and organic solar cells. The other core theme is the transition towards sustainability. Subjects are for example the development and evaluation of (inter)national climate policy and research on the carbon cycle and greenhouse gases. Next to these core themes, ESRIG pays attention to the theme "global change".

Kapteyn Institute

The Kapteyn Institute is the astronomical institute of the University of Groningen and is coupled to the Astronomy degree programme.

Research is being done on the formation, evolution and structure of galaxies. Also, they look at how the Universe has evolved from the very beginning until now. They are, furthermore, occupied in the development of the equipment needed to make observations, and the ways to process big data into workable results.


The Johann Bernoulli Institute (JBI) for Mathematics and Computing Science is linked to the (Applied) Mathematics and Computing Science degree programmes.

The JBI conducts fundamental research on for example algebraic structures and the mathematical foundations of the computing science. On the other hand they also have realised that with the continuing progress in numerical mathematics and computer technology, the impact of computer simulation on society is rapidly increasing. Therefore the JBI is also busy with enhancing numerical methods in general.


ALICE is the research institute for Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering. As such it is coupled to the degree programmes Artificial Intelligence and Computing Science.

The research in Artificial Intelligence and Cognitive Engineering is inherently interdisciplinary in nature. With Computing Science, an interest in formal modeling is shared, where these models may be symbolic, statistical or hybrid in nature. With Psychology and Biology an interest in natural cognition is shared, where the goal is to describe fundamental qualities of cognition in such an explicit way that computational models of perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral control functions can be constructed.

Van Swinderen Institute

The Van Swinderen Institute for Fundamental Physics is an institute that consists out of the former Centre for Theoretical Physics and some research groups of the Center for Advanced Radiation Technology (KVI). VSI is connected to the (Applied) Physics degree programmes.

Within VSI there are two groups: 'Theoretical High-Energy Physics' and 'Experimental Particle Physics'. The goal is to define universal laws of Nature that can account for the experimental data from, for example, LHC experiments. Subjects being studied are i.e. 'supersymmetry', 'quantum gravity' and 'string theory'.


The Department of Education (IDO) is working on a research programme aimed at improving the teaching in mathematics and science education. IDO is related to the two year's Dutch master programme Education and Communication in Mathematics and Science.

Theme of the research programme is 'preparing students for research'. This means that research is focused on the development of scientific knowledge, skills and attitudes in upper level secondary and university education. The research is both fundamental, aimed at theory development, and applied, aimed at applications in teaching.


KVI-Center for Advanced Radiation Technology (KVI-CART) is the research institution from the university with the mission to perform basic research on subatomic and astroparticle physics and application-driven research on accelerator physics and physics in medicine.

KVI-CART is, unlike the other institutions, not a part of the faculty. They are listed direct under the board of the university, but they do provide a part of the education of Physics and educate young researchers in Physics and medical technology at BSc, MSc and PhD level.