The Institute for Formal Ontology and Medical Information Science (IFOMIS) is a research group at the Philosophy Institute of Saarland University. Its main research and development activities are:

  1. the investigation of the philosophical and logical foundations of formal ontologies in information science, in particular the Basic Formal Ontology;
  2. the development and refinement of domain ontologies especially for the biomedical area, in particular a middle-layer ontology for the biomedical domain, the so-called Health-data Ontology Trunk (HDOT);
  3. the development of ontology-based data integration strategies for ensuring semantic interoperability, combining a middle-layer ontology and a semi-automated ontology aggregator tool.

Historically, IFOMIS originated in April 2002 utilizing the Wolfgang Paul Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation to Prof. Barry Smith. Substantial funding was provided also by the Volkswagen Foundation and by the European Commission.


IFOMIS comprehends an interdisciplinary research group, with members from Philosophy, Computer and Information Science, Logic, Medicine, and Medical Informatics.


Inquiries regarding long- and short-term research visits are welcome.