International Research Training Group (ITRG 1938) "Non-linearities and Upscaling in Porous Media (NUPUS)"

Department of Hydromechanics and Modelling of Hydrosystems

The German Research Foundation (DFG) funded from 2007 to 2015 the International Research Training Group (ITRG) 1398 - Project number 20025736


Coping with non-linearities and the question of upscaling are outstanding challenges in environmental, technical, and biological applications within the field of flow and transport in porous media. A variety of characteristic (spatial and temporal) scales can be identified in porous media, generally related to the structure of their heterogeneities. The flow and transport phenomena in these media can be caused by coupled mechanisms resulting from the non-linear interplay of physical, chemical, and/or biological processes. To tackle the problems in this field, an interdisciplinary approach is crucial. The participating scientists excel in such diverse fields as applied mathematics, scientific computing, physics, environmental and civil engineering, geosciences, and petroleum engineering. Fundamental research (e.g. the development of stochastic methods and basic theories of flow and transport in porous media) and research on the optimisation of efficient numerical schemes were interlinked with applied research in various fields (e.g. the optimisation of fuel cells or the geological sequestration of carbon dioxide). One central aspect of the International Research Training Group on Non-linearities and Upscaling in PoroUS Media (NUPUS) was the study programme, which aimed at fostering a coherent combination of education of and research by young scientists. This was achieved by organising advanced courses which met the needs of the young scientists involved, implementing a local, biweekly 'graduate school seminar' for discussing research results, and an exchange programme allowing the doctoral students to spend six to nine months in one of the partner countries. The biweekly seminar was made available to students and supervisors from the other universities via video-conferencing. The resulting international and interdisciplinary environment enabled the qualifying fellows as well as the doctoral and postdoctoral researchers to perform highly efficient work at a top level of scientific research in non-linearities and upscaling in porous media systems. With the help of the International Research Training Group NUPUS, porous-media research and education has gained a high strategic and structural importance for the University of Stuttgart.

Number of doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, qualifying fellows and student assistants
Within the two funding periods (1st January 2007 to 30th June 2011 and 1st July 2011 to 31st December 2015), the following positions and fellowships were funded by NUPUS:

31 doctoral researchers (full positions, TV-L 13),
5 postdoctoral researchers (full positions, TV-L 13)

On the German side, a total of 15 doctoral researchers and 3 postdoctoral researchers were associate members of the IRTG but not funded by NUPUS. On the Dutch side, a total of 30 doctoral researchers and 4 postdoctoral researchers were associate members of the IRTG but not funded by NUPUS. On the Norwegian side, a total of 15 doctoral researchers and 6 postdoctoral researchers were associate members of the IRTG but not funded by NUPUS.


Rainer Helmig (Germany)
Majid Hassanizadeh (The Netherlands)
Helge K. Dahle (Norway)

Coordinating University

University of Stuttgart

Participating Universities


  • Technical University of Delft
  • Technical University of Eindhoven
  • Utrecht University
  • Wageningen University


  • University of Bergen


01/2007 – 12/2015


Completed projects within the graduate school of NUPUS


This image shows Rainer Helmig

Rainer Helmig

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr.-Ing. h.c.


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