technician working in a glovebox


What is IFW?

The IFW is a research center. Researchers work at IFW. People who know a lot about technology work at IFW. These are engineers and technicians.

People at IFW study, how to make materials better. They want to find new materials. Materials are for example

  • plastics
  • iron

The experts at the IFW are familiar with the subjects of chemistry and physics.
Their fields are:

  • Experimental physics
  • Theoretical physics
  • Chemistry
  • Materials Science
  • Electrical engineering

The IFW does not belong to any university. The IFW can decide for itself, which research it makes.

The IFW is a Leibniz Institute. There are many Leibniz Institutes in Germany. All Leibniz Institutes do research. All Leibniz Institutes are members of the Leibniz Association.

What is the IFW doing?

Technical things have to become always better. For that you need good materials. People at IFW do research for new materials. This is important for all people.

Researchers work that way:
Researchers find new things in physics and chemistry.
Than they decide:
May be the new finding helps to make better materials.

New materials help to make devices better. Or parts of devices.
For Example:

  • Magnets that can cool other parts
  • Materials that can make electricity out of heat

People have always looked for new materials. Many thousands of years ago they needed tools. They used hard stones for that. Later, people made their tools better. They used new materials for that. For example

  • Iron
  • Bronze

Now we have cell phones and computers. For this new substances are important. For example the substances:

  • which save and send the information.
  • which convert the heat into electricity
  •  which are magnetic or
  • which save the electricity

Researchers are researching very, very small parts in the materials. These parts are called atoms or molecules. The subject area of the researchers is called: Quantum physics.

Who is working at IFW?

500 people work at IFW.
Most of them are:

  • Physicists
  • Chemists
  • Engineers

80 people work at IFW only for a certain time. Some of these 80 people get money from the government or from other organizations. This money is called: scholarship or grant.

130 young people work on their own topic. They want to become doctors. Therefore they write a doctoral thesis at IFW. There are also 20 apprentices at IFW.

Who gives the IFW the money?

IFW needs money for research. The IFW gets the money from the government. Every year IFW receives 33 million euros. In addition, 9 million euros for the projects in the IFW. The IFW gets money for the projects:

  • from the German Research Association
  • from the European Union or
  • Companies with which the IFW works on a project.

The IFW gets the money from the government, only if the IFW works well. The results of his research must:

  • be important to all people
  • be good for other researchers in the world

Experts check the results in the IFW research every 7 years.

The text is from:
© Büro für Leichte Sprache, Lebenshilfe für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung Bremen e.V., 2018.

The pictures are from:
© Lebenshilfe für Menschen mit geistiger Behinderung Bremen e.V., Illustrator Stefan Albers, Atelier Fleetinsel, 2013.