With her research activities at the Chair of Functional Materials and Materials Systems, Nina Schalk has developed into an internationally recognized scientist in the field of design and characterization of multifunctional thin films. Her habilitation thesis entitled “Design of Functional Materials: A Journey from Hard Coatings to Multifunctional Thin Films” covers a journey from hard protective coatings for cutting applications towards the development of multifunctional thin films with tailored properties for various applications. Special emphasis is paid to the characterization of the coatings using advanced high resolution methods, allowing the establishment of synthesis – structure – property relationships, which provides the basis for tailoring of properties. The application of advanced characterization techniques enables also the in-depth comparison of coatings deposited by physical and chemical vapor deposition. With her habilitation, the achievements of Nina Schalk within her field are honored and she is granted the authorization to teach (venia docendi).