Interfaces + (IPLUS)
Interfaces play an essential role in many (bio-) physico-chemical processes, ranging from solar energy conversion via biological membrane processes to sensing, but interfaces are also found in interactions of persons with digital information or between several persons enabled by macroscopic physical environments. These research worlds are typically coexisting, but not truly interacting with each other.
The major aim of this DSP IPLUS program is to educate a next generation of researchers in a new line of problem solving by integrating expertise from materials sciences with life sciences and human-computer interaction to address challenges, in this specific case, on interfaces from the nanometer scale up to the macroscopic (tangible) world. New efforts need to be undertaken to educate the next generation of researchers to work in cross-disciplinary fields. While a deep disciplinary background in the respective fields (biology, materials science, human-computer interaction) remains vital, the inclusion of a robust cross-disciplinary education is an essential additional preparation for our future scientists and particularly important for research careers. DSP IPLUS will generate such a cross-disciplinary, internationally visible and attractive educational platform for students at the University of Salzburg. The main objectives of the DSP IPLUS program are:
- (i) Developing and strengthening of skills and scientific knowledge of the doctoral candidates in their own doctoral project, within the IPLUS consortium, and in their basic scientific discipline;
- (ii) Acquiring an interdisciplinary, collaborative and largely independent working style at an internationally competitive level;
- (iii) Developing an interdisciplinary understanding of the importance of interfaces in daily human life from different perspectives; and
- (iv) Acquiring essential additional qualifications („soft skills“) in different areas.
IPLUS will implement a comprehensive research-driven PhD program with a co-supervision model: students will be teamed, both with established leading experts as well as younger high potential researchers with complementary expertise. In the future, PhD projects are designed to foster collaborative research, and the cross-fertilization of ideas will be supported by a thesis advisory committee consisting of experts from different areas. In a nutshell, IPLUS provides the PhD students with a comprehensive education at the forefront of research on interfaces on various scales (nano-to-macro) and for different applications, ranging from sensors to tangible user interfaces, in a truly multidisciplinary way. Hence, we will educate well-rounded young researchers, accustomed to collaboration, with the skills they need to embark on successful careers in this rapidly growing research field.