The research landscape of ZU is based on focal research points and topics that have developed successfully over many years are by now largely established.
Among these are, in particular, research projects on Family businesses, Decision making, Financial systems, Cultural production, Leadership, Innovation, Globalization, Digitalization, Consumption and consumer behavior, Media, Mobility, Sustainability, Political institutions, Formation of political will, Administration 4.0, Public management.
As an institution aware of its social responsibility, ZU is paying particular attention to two fundamental social transformations, which can be seen both as the central framing conditions for almost every economic, social and humanistic academic research project. On the one hand is a critical analysis of the consequences of the dynamic process of globalization and on the other a concern with digitalization that has penetrated every area of life and everyday routine. As part of its research, ZU wishes to take on responsibility for the social handling of these central topics.
With this as a background, we have since 2019 been promoting four research clusters in a special way with staff and material resources. These clusters represent the central focal points of research for ZU:
These research clusters, interdisciplinary and in part extending across departments, are from various points of view representative for the strategic development of the University research landscape: decision-making research and cultural production have for many years been established focal points of research at ZU, bringing in extensive external funding and generating a high level of research output. Their promotion within the research cluster continues to extend the existing potential. The topic of Governance of Global Cooperation Networks also links up with prior research additionally extended by the Chair of International Relations set up in 2018. The research cluster of Computational Social Sciences defines a new focal point of research at ZU, one which supplements the research profile around the increasingly important topic of digitalization. Professorships to be newly created will further strengthen this area in the years to come.
Numerous other other research topics linked to Chairs are embedded in the specialist departments and form part of the department-specific strategies. With regard to social responsibility of research, the general conditions of globalization and digitalization also have an important part to play here. Given a corresponding performance and presence, there is also a possibility for these topics to move up and become a research cluster. Currently, for example, this affects the research topic of sustainability, for which the European Center for Sustainability Research already exists, where many externally funded joint projects have been secured, carried out and successfully completed.
Both within and in addition to the research clusters, different research topics are frequently worked on as part of externally funded research projects – both as single and also as joint projects, which are promoted particularly by the German Research Association (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG), various Federal German ministries, the European Commission and also the largest academic research foundations. Research cooperation also plays an important part, ranging from individual collaboration in co-publications to institutional cooperation with universities within Germany and abroad.