Research Training Group ‘Critical Infrastructures’

The Research Training Group ‘Critical infrastructures: construction, functional crises and protection in cities’ at the Technical University of Darmstadt began its research activities, initially planned for a period of four and a half years, on 1 October 2016. In November 2020 KRITIS was successfully prolonged for another four and a half years. In the College, which is sponsored by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), historians, infrastructure and land use planners, civil engineers, philosophers, political scientists, architects and IT specialists work together.

Critical infrastructures and the functionality of cities

The Research Training Group conducts research into critical infrastructures (CI) in cities: the functioning of cities is highly dependent on technical systems e.g. the provision of water and electricity, waste management, communication and transport, which are regarded as the ‘nervous system’ of modern cities. Breakdowns and malfunctions can be troublesome and even lead to dramatic crises that can be life-threatening to city dwellers. The increasing vulnerability of modern (urban) societies is usually believed to have various causes: on the one hand, in recent years external threats from natural catastrophes, terrorist attacks and cyberattacks have come into focus; on the other, risks also result from the increasing complexity and interdependency of the systems.

Interdisciplinary CI research

The Research Training Group at the TU Darmstadt, with professors from several different faculties, will contribute to the still fragmentary basic research on critical infrastructure. The intention is to understand and explain infrastructure systems (and their disruption) in their spatial and temporal contexts. At the same time the participating scholars from the humanities, the social sciences and engineering will attempt to find answers as to how the prevention of functional disruptions and preparedness for functional crises can be organised.

In the Research Training Group, doctoral candidates will work on their individual theses together with, and under the supervision of, several professors and other associated scientists. Their theses are related to one another through the principal theme of the group and through similar approaches. One particular feature of the Research Training Group is its close cooperation with partners from practice and its collaboration with three renowned research institutes in other European countries.


KRITIS offers a perfect platform for cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary exchange amongst research scientists. The individual expertise of various professors and their research candidates greatly facilitated in developing a comprehensive understanding of infrastructure related challenges. The healthy scientific environment at KRITIS helped me to complete my research within the planned duration of three years", Manas Marathe (11/2016 - 10/2019).

Die Vereinbarkeit von Beruf und Familie stellt insbesondere Promovierende vor besondere Herausforderungen. Das wurde innerhalb des GraKos nicht nur anerkannt, sondern umfassend unterstützt. So gewährte man mir ein auf meine Bedürfnisse ausgerichtetes Coaching, finanzielle Unterstützung bei der Kinderbetreuung und Zuschüsse für das Home-Office. Daher war das Kolleg für mich eine elementare Stütze und enorme Entlastung auf dem Weg zur Promotion", Stephanie Eifert (10/2016 - 09/2019).

Dank KRITIS konnte ich internationale Konferenzen besuchen und dabei enge Kontakte zu Technikphilosophinnen und Technikphilosophen aus anderen Ländern knüpfen, woraus mittlerweile Publikationen und andere Kooperationen entstanden. Dieser Austausch mit anderen Forschungskulturen hat mich fachlich stark geprägt", Marcel Müller (10/2016 - 09/2019).


+49 6151 16-57365

Visiting address:

Graduiertenkolleg KRITIS, Landwehrstraße 54, Gebäude S4|24 113, D-64293 Darmstadt

Mail address:

Technische Universität Darmstadt, Graduiertenkolleg KRITIS, Dolivostraße 15, D-64293 Darmstadt

The Research Training Group CRITIS is funded by the German Research Foundation.