Current research projects in the profile area MSE are, based on their traditional development at RWTH Aachen University, focused on "molecular transformations" and "soft matter / interactive materials". As the border between those two areas fades, it becomes obvious that a mutual effort to integrate the molecular understanding of transformations of compounds and materials is required in order to secure the challenge of offering sustainable raw materials, energy, food and health care.

Whereas processes in molecular transformations and the design of functional materials is focused on steady states and a permanent performance under optimal conditions, adaptive systems are able to react to changes in a dynamical and self-regulated way. This principle, which is a typical feature of vivid nature, is a challenge for synthetic systems and therefore a key-task for research in the profile area MSE.