Cooperation & Networks
We implement our research programme through a collaborative approach, both within the institute and with external partners. At the regional level, the Leibniz-IZW is an active part of the integrated science environment of Berlin/Brandenburg in regional consortia, joint infrastructures and teaching. We are engaged in working groups and collaborative formats within the Leibniz Association. And finally, our work is embedded in a strong network of academic institutions, zoological gardens and NGOs nationally, in Europe and worldwide.
Collaboration with universities
The Leibniz-IZW has always fostered intensive collaborations with universities in order to create synergies in the regional research landscape. Leading scientific positions at the Leibniz-IZW (director and heads of departments) are appointed as joint professorships with one of the three Berlin Universities or the University of Potsdam.
- Jörns Fickel: Professor at University of Potsdam
- Alex Greenwood: Professor at Freie Universität Berlin
- Thomas Hildebrandt: Professor at Freie Universität Berlin and Professorial Fellow at Melbourne University (2016-2021)
- Heribert Hofer: Professor at Freie Universität Berlin
- Stephanie Kramer-Schadt: Professor at Technical University Berlin
- Robert Hermes: Adjunct Professor at University of Sydney
- Katarina Jewgenow: Adjunct Professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Arne Ludwig: Adjunct Professor at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Emanuel Heitlinger: Junior Professorship at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
- Beate Braun: Privatdozentin* at Freie Universität Berlin
- Christian Voigt: Privatdozent* at Freie Universität Berlin
*non-professorial members of a university faculty with teaching obligation and the right to supervise doctoral students
Our scientists are active in teaching at the three Berlin universities and the University of Potsdam. In addition, we regularly offer summer schools for graduate students worldwide. >> Lectures & Courses
Besides cooperating with regional universities, the Leibniz-IZW maintains research collaborations with 26 national and 108 international universities worldwide.
Regional consortia with universities and other Leibniz institutes
The Leibniz-IZW is a founder, lead or active partner in several research consortia and regional networks, such as:
Founded in early 2013, the BBIB has become the main competence and coordination centre in the Berlin-Brandenburg region for biodiversity research. The main objective of BBIB is to provide the required knowledge to tackle the challenges raised by rapid biodiversity change. BBIB crosses traditional academic boundaries through integrating competences in ecological, evolutionary, social and political sciences available in the greater Berlin region. The BBIB consists of four universities (Freie Universität Berlin, University of Potsdam, Technical University Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Berlin) and five institutes of the Leibniz Association – the Leibniz-IZW, the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries Berlin (IGB), the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MfN), the Leibniz-Center for Agricultural Landscape Research in Müncheberg (ZALF) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Research (PIK).
The Botanical Garden / Botanical Museum at the Freie Universität Berlin (FU), the Institute of Biology of the FU, the University of Potsdam, the Leibniz-IZW, the Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries Berlin (IGB) and the Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MfN) formed a consortium in 2009 to establish and run the BeGenDiv. Besides being cost-efficient, the BeGenDiv constitutes an excellent platform for pooling of expertise, scientific collaboration and “mutual learning”. It consists of a series of laboratories and offices at the Botanical Museum with facilities for high throughput (next generation) genetic sequencing, providing the partner institutions with the technological and bio-informatic support to perform genome sequencing and transcriptomics with high efficiency and at a reasonable price.
The Leibniz-IZW is a founding member of the interdisciplinary Center of Infection Biology and Immunity, established in 2004 and coordinated by Humboldt University (HU) Berlin (2010-14) and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Freie Universität (FU) Berlin since 2014. The ZIBI aims to coordinate the activities of Berlin scientists in research and training in infection biology and immunity. It addresses the entire spectrum of pathogens from viruses to parasites in humans, domestic animals and wildlife. The ZIBI includes more than 30 research groups and institutes from HU, the Faculty for Veterinary Medicine of FU, the Charité Medical University of Berlin, the Max-Planck-Institute for Infection Biology, the German Rheumatism Research Centre (Deutsches Rheumaforschungszentrum, DRFZ, a Leibniz institute) and the Robert Koch Institute.
The model of the BeGenDiv has proven very successful for joining resources and competences with partner institutions in a synergistic fashion to generate the necessary critical mass and tackle technologies and research areas that would not be feasible or too expensive to implement by one institution alone. Following this concept, the Leibniz-IZW, Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) and Museum für Naturkunde – Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science (MfN) formed a consortium in late 2012 to run a Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Stable Isotope Ecology (CeSIE), providing the full spectrum of expertise across animal, plant, microbial and palaeontological samples.
The Research Training Group “Parasite infections: from experimental models to natural systems” was established in 2015 and is now in its second funding period (until 2024). In an interdisciplinary approach, the RTG trains 15 doctoral students plus ten associated doctoral students in molecular approaches, cellular interactions and organismic studies on key parasites of model organisms, free-ranging wildlife, domestic animals and people. In accordance with the One Health concept, parasite infections are studied from biological, medical and translational perspectives, with the Leibniz-IZW running several projects on parasites in wildlife.
In the Research Training Group “Integrating biodiversity research with movement ecology in dynamic agricultural landscapes (BioMove)”, 11 doctoral students plus six associated doctoral students explore the mutual links between movement processes and biodiversity patterns in one common study area, the AgroScapeLab in rural Brandenburg. The Leibniz-IZW contributes several field and theoretical modelling projects on pathogen evolution in changing landscapes, equalizing and stabilizing mechanisms in regulating the co-existence of aerial-hawking bat species in agricultural landscape, the use of agent-based movement modelling to improve the connectivity of jaguar populations in Middle America and the effect of variation in demographic rates on population and community dynamics.
Collaboration within the Leibniz Association
The Leibniz-IZW is active in collaboration with other Leibniz institutes and engages in the strategic discourse on issues of science-political relevance. The Leibniz-IZW is an active partner in three Leibniz Research Alliances (LRA):
The LRA “INFECTIONS ’21” has established an interdisciplinary research agenda on infectious diseases and develops new strategies for early warning and outbreak management systems. In the effort to characterize transmission pathways of diseases, we contribute expertise on the transmission of pathogens between different host species, particularly through water as a vector.
The LRA “Healthy Ageing” analyses the biological and social factors underlying the ageing process in order to develop novel strategies for intervention and adjustment capable of sustainably promoting healthy ageing. Using our experimental colonies of naked mole rats, we contribute a new and highly promising study system to this consortium.
Reconciling the objectives of national and international biodiversity agreements with the often competing objectives of climate, energy, agricultural and economic policy is a major challenge. The LRA “Biodiversity” was founded in 2008 and combines environmental, life, social, spatial and economic sciences to develop recommendations for sustainable biodiversity conservation.
Collaboration with non-university partners
At present we maintain cooperation with 90 non-university research institutes worldwide. Extensive collaborations and joint projects in research, conservation and wildlife husbandry also exist with 39 conservation organisations and 72 zoological gardens. We collaborate with other national or international organisations, including specialist groups of the IUCN Species Survival Commission, the German Federation of Zoological Gardens (Verband der Zoologischen Gärten, VdZ), the European Association for Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), particularly its Taxon Advisory Groups, the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) and the European Association of Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians (EAZWV). Other important networks include the Frozen Ark Consortium, the Global Management and Propagation Board for Sumatran Rhinos (GMBP), the long-term network “European endangered species breeding program for Przewalski’s horses”, and the research networks EURODEER and EUROLYNX. At our long-term field sites in Africa and Asia, we collaborate closely with conservation organisations, governmental institutions and other local stakeholders to transfer our scientific findings into sustainable management strategies.