The research center "Elementary Forces and Mathematical Foundations" is based on the particular strengths of research in Mainz in the areas of elementary particle physics, nuclear physics, and atomic physics as well as mathematics and nuclear chemistry. The interdisciplinary approach of the center comprises the investigation of the structure of matter, the evolution and history of the universe, and the fundamental forces from the lowest to the highest energies.

The scientists employ complementary methods in order to achieve their ambitious research goals the impact of which is likely to alter our view of the world. Experiments using high energy accelerators, ion traps, and ultracold neutrons are closely connected with corresponding research in theoretical physics and mathematics. Computer-based research methods do not only play a key role in planning, performing, and evaluating these experiments but are also an independent branch of the theoretical research on the center's core interests. For this reason, its working groups are closely networking with their colleagues in the University’s research focus Computer-based Research Methods in the Natural Sciences (CMS).

The center relies on an established infrastructure. Traditionally, nuclear physics, hadron physics, elementary particle physics as well as nuclear chemistry are among the key areas of research at Mainz. This is reflected in the large research facilities maintained by the University: the Mainz Microtron electron accelerator (MAMI) and the TRIGA research reactor. Furthermore, the center’s research groups are closely integrated into a wide range of scientific networks and research partnerships. There are long-term cooperation agreements with, for example, the GSI Helmholtz Center for Heavy Ion Research in Darmstadt and the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) near Geneva. These networks provide a unique opportunity for up-and-coming young scientists in order to enhance their profile and to ensure that research at the highest academic level will be performed in the future.