Developing and implementing interactive materials cannot be done in an ‘ivory tower’. Thus, in many research projects, the scientists of the DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials are cooperating with universities and other research institutes and companies in Germany and throughout the world.

Member of the Leibniz Association

On January 1, 2014, DWI became a member of the Leibniz Association. The Leibniz Association connects 96 independent research institutions that range in focus from the natural, engineering and environmental sciences via economics, spatial and social sciences to the humanities. Leibniz Institutes address issues of social, economic and ecological relevance. They conduct knowledge-driven and applied basic research, maintain scientific infrastructure and provide research-based services. The Leibniz Association identifies focus areas for knowledge transfer to policy-makers, academia, business and the public. Leibniz institutions collaborate intensively with universities – in the form of “Leibniz ScienceCampi” (thematic partnerships between university and non-university research institutes), for example – as well as with industry and other partners at home and abroad. They are subject to an independent evaluation procedure that is unparalleled in its transparency. Due to the institutes' national importance, they are jointly financed by the federal and state governments and employ around 19,100 staff, including 9,900 researchers. The total budget of all institutes is around 2 billion euros.

In addition, the DWI is a member of the research alliance Leibniz Health Technologies. Together with industry partners the members of the research alliance are pursuing the goal of improving medical care for patients. Through an interdisciplinary approach prevention, diagnosis and therapy shall grow together and thus increase the quality of life. The alliance combines competencies from various fields: From photonics and medicine to microelectronics and material research, to economic research and applied mathematics.

Strong collaboration with RWTH Aachen University and the Uniklinik RWTH Aachen

The DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials is located on RWTH Aachen University’s Campus Melaten, near the Uniklinik RWTH Aachen. DWI collaborates closely with both institutions. This concerns research projects, training of young scientists as well as the appointment of new professors.

The members of the DWI scientific board also have a chair at RWTH Aachen University or head a university research area. DWI scientists collaborate with their colleagues at the RWTH Aachen University and the Uniklinik RWTH Aachen / Medical Faculty in a number of research projects. This way, the material science competence of the DWI researchers, the expertise of their colleagues in the medical department, the engineering know-how and the soft matter knowledge of the RWTH scientists can complement each other. In addition, the scientists collaborate within the DFG Collaborative Research Center 985 ‚Functional Microgels and Microgel Systems‘. The RWTH Center for Biohybrid Medical Systems houses laboratories of scientists from the RWTH Aachen University, the Uniklinik RWTH Aachen and also from the DWI.

Engagement in Various Scientific Networks

The scientists of the DWI are active in various networks, including:

The Max Planck School ‟Matter to Life”

This Max Planck School is organized as a national research and training network in which several Max Planck institutes, the Universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen, the Technical University of Munich as well as the Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials are engaged.


Since September 2017, DWI has been a member in the project “EUSMI” (European Infrastructure for Spectroscopy, Scattering and Imaging of Soft Matter & Synthesis), which is funded by the EU for four years. This project aims to provide cutting-edge specialized infrastructures which are not available by individual research institutes nor even by R&D centers of multinational companies.

Forschungskuratorium Textil e.V. (Textile Research Council)

As umbrella association of the 16 German textile research institutes and as one of over 100 industrial boards within the Work Association of Industrial Research Associations (Aif), the Textile Research Council, with headquarters in Berlin, coordinates a part of the institutional textile research in Germany.


The Research Alliance JARA (Jülich Aachen Research Alliance), Section JARA-SOFT, is dedicated to the multidisciplinary research of soft material with regard to current questions of materials sciences and biophysics.

Partners from Industry

In various research projects, we work closely with experts from industry, both small and medium-sized enterprises and well-known corporations. The Förderverein Deutsches Wollforschungsinstitut Aachen e.V., a strong industrial association with over 50 members, supports the DWI's research work. The Advisory Board 'Textiles and Materials' is an external board of experts, the majority of whom are industry partners, which advises the DWI on its application-oriented research in these fields.

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How we work


Knowledge transfer and technology transfer are integral parts of the DWI's research culture.

Valuable support


The Institute is being strongly supported by strong partners that offer scholarships to a number of exceptional young scientists.