Requirements Engineering (RE) is a critical determinant for software quality. At the same time, many projects still suffer from insufficient RE. 33% of software development errors are estimated to have their origin in insufficient RE and 36% of these errors are known to lead to project failures [NaPiRE]. In a world pervaded by software and where the majority of our daily routines are supported – if not dominated – by software-intensive systems, excellence in RE becomes key. While it is understood that the various influences in industrial RE practices and surrounding development processes and tools render standardisation efforts of RE approaches cumbersome, much of today’s research in RE still relies on conventional and often purely academic wisdom. This often leads to contributions to problems not well understood and, thus, prone to be of limited practical value. The sensitivity of RE excellence to the particularities of practical contexts makes evident that only if we approach requirements engineering research in a human-centric and evidence-based manner, we are able to tackle the emergent challenges in today’s requirements engineering where we need to empirically reason about our discipline and the plethora of available practices, methods, and tools.

Closing this existing gap is in scope of the empirical Requirements Engineering (empiRE) research group which is driven by problem-driven, empirical, and interdisciplinary research. It relies on continuous experimentation, development, evaluation, and transfer – all in close collaboration with the software industry. The empiRE research group concentrates on investigating and improving early, volatile, human- and data-centric stages of development of software-intensive systems. Of particular interest is to investigate how we can contribute practically relevant RE research to reproducibly control and improve the quality of industrial requirements engineering endeavours. The group virtually 

Research projects have typically special emphasis on collaborations with the relevant industries and focus on three larger (interrelated) thematic areas:

  1. RE in regulated environments gile engineering of non-functional requirements (including concepts and data-driven tools to guide the elaboration, specification, and quality assurance of regulatory requirements),
  2. RE in data-driven environments (including concepts and tools for automation in RE and its quality assurance as well as RE for data-centric software systems), and
  3. RE in human-centric environments (including concepts and techniques for human-centred problem exploration such as design thinking and their integration into model-based engineering approaches).

Major catalysts we rely on include, but are not limited to automation, e.g. by the application of natural language processing, and artefact orientation as a means to establish process-agnostic, flexible and tailorable approaches to support model-based development principles. The major underlying research philosophy we rely on is based on empirical software engineering. That includes the principle of applied, evidence-based research, but also extends to central questions in the philosophy of science for software engineering with the goal of extending our research methods to increase the practical relevance of our research contributions and to eventually build strong and robust software engineering theories. Finally, adhering to and fostering Open Science principles are a natural (and fundamental) consequence.

Organisational setting

The research group virtually comprehends members at the Software Engineering Research Lab (SERL Sweden) at BTH – having a strong focus on and reputation in empirical and applied software engineering research and higher education – and at fortiss GmbH – having a strong focus on and reputation in applied research and technology transfer in engineering of software-intensive systems and services. At fortiss, it manifests itself as an explicit research division (“field of competence”) for Requirements Engineering. Both (independent) units actively exchange and collaborate with each other on a frequent basis to foster the symbiotic relationship facilitating the effective use of synergies in applied research, technology transfer, and activities in higher education.

Group members


The group includes researchers at all levels. Doctoral students are either enrolled at the Technical University of Munich (starting before 2019) or at the Blekinge Institute of Technology (starting from 2019 on).


Daniel Mendez
Professor / Lead competence field at fortiss

Full Professor at the Software Engineering Research Lab of the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Senior Scientist heading the research division Requirements Engineering at fortiss GmbH, the research institute of the Free State of Bavaria for software-intensive systems and services.

Michael Dorner
PhD student

In his research at BTH, Michael explores how social diffusion, the process by which ideas, innovations, knowledge, and other information spread through a social group, affects collaboration in software engineering and software quality with respect to code review. He is affiliated with BTH and enrolled at BTH's graduate programme.

Parisa Elahidoost
PhD student

Parisa's research focus is the development of a tool-supported approach for the automatic extraction and compliance checking of regulatory requirements from legal texts. She is a research associate at fortiss GmbH and currently enrolled at the BTH's graduate program.

Jannik Fischbach
Postdoctoral Researcher
Jannik works as a postdoctoral researcher at the research division Requirements Engineering at fortiss GmbH and as a consultant at Netlight GmbH. His research focuses on applying LP methods to support developers in implementing software intensive systems.
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Julian Frattini
PhD Student
Julian's research is centered around data-driven requirements engineering with a particular focus on analysing large amounts of requirements engineering artefacts. Natural language processing techniques as well as machine learning approaches aim towards deriving complex correlations, which can be used to establish measurements of quality in requirements artefacts. Julian is affiliated with BTH and enrolled at BTH's graduate programme.
Tony Gorschek
Full Professor at the Software Engineering Research Lab of the Blekinge Institute of Technology, Sweden, and Senior Scientist at the research division Requirements Engineering at fortiss GmbH, the research institute of the Free State of Bavaria for software-intensive systems and services.
Marco Hoffmann
PhD Student
Marco is exploring human factors in software engineering teams. Of particular interest is the link between personal value diversity within a team and the occurrence and perception of human factors. He is CTO at Acureus and currently enrolled at the TUM Graduate School.
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Mustafa Isik
PhD Student
Mustafa has been managing software engineering teams for the last fifteen years. He has worked for BMW Research, Avid Technology, Google, Bayerischer Rundfunk / ARD and various start-ups. His research interests are focused on turnover in software engineering organisations. Employee retention, mitigation of turnover effects, and similar issues as they affect software engineering organisations are also part of his research. Currently, he is Chief Technologist at Amazon Web Services and enrolled at the TUM Graduate School.
Oleksandr Kosenkov
PhD Student
Oleksandr is investigating the area of regulatory Requirements Engineering with a particular focus on establishing an artefact model to guide the elaboration of requirements from legal contexts. A domain of interest is the one of public service media platforms. He is a research associate at fortiss GmbH and currently enrolled at the BTH's graduate program.
Mark Kreitz
PhD Student
Mark investigates how security by design can and should be supported by tools in software engineering, focusing on static analysis tools. He is affiliated with the Bundeswehr University Munich (UniBw M) and enrolled at the TUM Graduate School.
Anton Luckhardt
Researcher and Developer
Anton investigates human factors and problems in software development with particular focus on cultural dimensions. He is further leading the tool development at the lab with a particular focus on establish an automated platform for assessing and visualising industrial RE practices and problems.
Fabiola Moyon
PhD Student
Fabiola's research focuses on security in software engineering. Her main interest is to extend agile methods with practices to ensure compliance with security standards. She envisions to develop a pragmatic approach to implement security standard requirements using DevOps pipelines as enablers and a conceptual framework to attest compliance. One particular proof of concept is the analysis of the IC 62443-4-1 Standard for Secure Development in Industrial Systems and its integration into the Scaled Agile Framework SAFe and Scrum. Fabiola is affiliated with Siemens AG and enrolled at the TUM Graduate School.
Raquel Ouriques
PhD Student
Raquel's research focuses on understanding and supporting knowledge management in agile software development. Raquel is affiliated with BTH and enrolled at BTH's graduate programme.
Norman Schaffer
PhD Student / Deputy Lead Competence Field at fortiss
Norman explores the evolution and inherent dynamics of business models to understand and support innovation in organizations. He currently works on his PhD at Technical University of Munich and has developed a software prototype to simulate business models. He is a research associate at fortiss GmbH in the Requirements Engineering division.
Peter Sjöberg
PhD Student
Peter investigates the role of Requirements Engineering for the transformation of collaborative Systems of Systems. He is affiliated with Volvo CE and enrolled at the graduate programme of BTH.