Grants & Awards

Promoting early academic independence


Successful early career researchers typically show high intrinsic motivation and identification with their academic work. In order to encourage and honor these attributes, the Cluster of Excellence IntCDC has established several early career grants.

The IntCDC Best Publication Award recognizes up two excellent publications per year to honor and strengthen early academic independence and dedication to academic work.

All publications authored or co-authored by IntCDC early career researchers, published or formally accepted to be published, are eligible for the award.



Holistic Quality Model and Assessment: Quality as Driver for Sustainable Construction

Li Zhang, Laura Balangé, Kathrin Braun, Roberta Di Bari, Rafael Horn, Deniz Hos, Cordula Kropp, Philip Leistner and Volker Schwieger

Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7847;

Facing rising building demands due to a fast-growing world population and significant environmental challenges at the same time, the building sector urgently requires innovation. The Cluster of Excellence Integrative Computational Design and Construction for Architecture at the University of Stuttgart tackles these challenges through a Co-Design approach for integrating computational design and engineering and robotic construction. Within this research framework, a Holistic Quality Model is developed to ensure the technical, environmental, and social quality of Co-Design processes and products. Up to now, quality models that consider and integrate all these three aspects throughout the life cycle of buildings are still missing. The article outlines the concept of holistic quality assessment based on a Holistic Quality Model for sustainable construction. A key mechanism for sustainable quality assessment in the Holistic Quality Model is the definition of control and decision points in the construction process where critical decisions are made that will affect the quality of the building throughout its entire life-cycle. Firstly, subject-specific quality concepts are defined and their interrelations are conceptualized. Subsequently, these interrelations and their effects on the overall Co-Design construction processes and products are explained using the example of the semi-robotic production of concrete slabs. Examples for control and decision points are given as well. The outline presented here serves as a basis for further advancing and concretizing the Holistic Quality Model and its applications in Co-Design for a functioning, liveable, and sustainable high-quality construction and building culture.


The IntCDC “Blue Sky” Project Grant is awarded annually in recognition of a research idea that stands out in terms of its originality, its quality and the readiness to assume risk. The grant is endowed with 10.000€ enabling the grant recipient to test the feasibility of their research idea in preparation for a full dissertation or postdoctoral project.

All IntCDC early career researchers as well as advanced master’s students of the institutes involved in IntCDC are eligible to apply.


The IntCDC Master’s Thesis Grant aims to encourage excellent master’s students to pursue an academic career by supporting independent master’s thesis research. We award up to two IntCDC Master’s Thesis Grants per year.

All master’s students who are writing their master’s theses at one of the institutes involved in IntCDC are eligible. Candidates must be nominated by their thesis advisors.


Building Across Scales: A Heterogeneous Robotic System for In-Situ Timber Fabrication         

Daniel Locatelli and Nils Opgenorth
Supervisor: Achim Menges, Jan Knippers
Tutors: Hans Jakob Wagner, Samuel Leder

Distributed Fabrication for Fibrous Networks
August Lehrecke, Cody Tucker and Xiliu Yang
Supervisor: Achim Menges, Jan Knippers
Tutors: Rebeca Duque Estrada, Mathias Maierhofer


Joint Effort: Robot team enabled carbon fibre joining strategies for lightweight wood construction

Simon Lut, Lasath Siriwardena und Tim Stark

Supervisors: Achim Menges, Jan Knippers
Tutors: Hans Jakob Wagner, Simon Bechert, Mathias Maierhofer

Collective robotic construction is a contemporary research field in which multi-robot systems modify their shared environments to materialize structures. Current research is primarily focussed on the positioning of elements and tends to disregard connection strategies, limiting scalability and structural viability of autonomously built structures. This study demonstrates methods by which a heterogeneous team of robots connects discrete timber elements by winding carbon fibre through pre-routed grooves to establish a structurally performant joint. In contrast to current human-centric steel fasteners, CFRPs are flexible, compact and can be easily integrated into mobile robots, enabling the exploration of novel robot-orientated connection typologies. By regarding the timber as an integral part of the robotic system, assembly information is pre-programmed into the material, including instructions for navigation, localization and construction. This substantially reduces robot complexity, weight, size, cost and allows for decentralized control of the connection agents. Through cooperation between different robotic and material species, a fully autonomous assembly choreography can be performed, leveraging the task-specific capabilities of each agent in the team. This building framework demonstrates the utility of heterogeneous robot teams in facilitating novel construction methods that could eventually mount a challenge to the reliance on existing humancentric connection strategies in timber assemblies.


Working with Uncertainties: An adaptive fabrication system for bamboo structures utilizing computer vision

Yue Qi und Ruqing Zhong

Supervisors: Achim Menges, Alexander Verl
Tutors: Hans Jakob Wagner, Yasaman Tahouni, Benjamin Kaiser

The group investigates an adaptive fabrication system that is able to work with cumulative deviations. During fabrication, the deviation can be caused by material- and fabrication-related uncertainties. All these factors exist in the bamboo constructions significantly, which limits the application of this high performance and sustainable material. To address the challenge, the proposed method leverages vision-based feedback to update future fabrication instructions and provide guidance for manual assembly, thereby compensating for the error in every iteration of the building process. This workflow effectively improves the accuracy of manually fabricated structure with natural imperfect material, allowing it to predictably interface with prefabricated building components.





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