Public Release:  DFG establishes 20 new Collaborative Research Centres

From new therapies for multiple sclerosis via the heroic tradition to functional microgels; innovative research approaches in all fields

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

This release is available in German.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is to establish 20 Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) by 1 July 2012. This decision was taken by the Grants Committee at its spring session in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive funding totalling 176 million euros (including a 20 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs) for the initial 4-year funding period.

The newly established Collaborative Research Centres span the entire scientific spectrum. The humanities and social sciences teams, for example, will research the concept of heroism in a cross-cultural, long-term perspective from antiquity to the modern era, as well as the transfer of knowledge from the Old World to the Early Modern Period. One CRC from the field of psychology is devoted to decrypting the cognitive and neuronal mechanisms which underlie our voluntary control capabilities and their impairment.

One of the life sciences projects involves examining the molecular mechanisms involved in cellular quality control. From their research in this area, the researchers hope to gain a comprehensive understanding of how cells react to damage and maintain their equilibrium. Another team aims to create the basis for developing new therapies to treat multiple sclerosis, the most common chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. Despite intensive research in this area over the last few decades, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain a mystery. It is, therefore, the aim of this initiative to understand the development, progression and effects of MS.

One of the CRCs in the natural sciences aims to discover new processes in the use of functional microgels in order to facilitate the design of new interactive material characteristics. Among the new CRCs in the engineering sciences is an initiative which will focus on increasing the efficiency of gas turbines through the use of innovative combustion concepts. The researchers involved in this project anticipate achieving considerably smaller energy losses, as the majority of the primarily used energy has, until now, been lost in generating greenhouse gases and other harmful substances.

Five of the new CRCs are CRC/Transregio, meaning that they are distributed across multiple locations. In a CRC/Transregio funded jointly by the Chinese partner organisation NSFC, for example, German researchers are collaborating with colleagues in Beijing.

In addition, the Grants Committee approved the continuation of a German-Chinese CRC/Transregio for a further four-year funding period.

Collaborative Research Centres enable researchers to tackle innovative, ambitious, elaborate and long-term research projects by focusing and coordinating universities' existing strengths. The CRC programme is thus intended to contribute fundamentally to raising the profile of the universities involved. The promotion of early-career researchers and gender equality also play important roles.

From July 2012, the DFG will fund a total of 232 Collaborative Research Centres.

The new CRCs are as follows (in alphabetical order by coordinating university):

"Funktionelle Mikrogele und Mikrogelsysteme" [Functional Microgels and Microgel Systems]
Coordinating university: the Aachen University of Technology. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Walter Richtering. Also involved: the Jülich Research Centre

"Organismische Reaktionen auf Stress: Prägung und Erinnerung" [Organismic Reactions to Stress: Character and Memory]
Coordinating university: the Free University of Berlin. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Monika Hilker. Also involved: the University of Potsdam; the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Potsdam.

"Episteme in Bewegung - Wissenstransfer von der Alten Welt bis in die Frühe Neuzeit" [Episteme in Motion - Knowledge Transfer from the Old World to the Early Modern Period]
Coordinating university: the Free University of Berlin. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Gyburg Uhlmann. Also involved: the Humboldt University of Berlin; the Max Planck Institute of the History of Science, Berlin.

"Diskretisierung in Geometrie und dynamischen Systemen" [Discretisation in Geometry and Dynamic Systems]
Coordinating university: the Berlin Institute of Technology. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Alexander Bobenko. Other applying universities: the Technical University of Munich. Also involved: the Free University of Berlin; the Graz University of Technology and the Vienna University of Technology, Austria.

"TurbIn - Signifikante Wirkungsgradsteigerung durch gezielte, interagierende Verbrennungs- und Strömungsinstationaritäten in Gasturbinen" [TurbIn - Achieving Significant Increases in Efficiency Through Targeted, Interacting Combustion and Current Transients in Gas Turbines]
Coordinating university: the Berlin Institute of Technology. Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Rudibert King. Also involved: the Free University of Berlin; the Aachen University of Technology; the German Aerospace Center, Berlin.

"Symmetrien und Strukturbildung in der Quantenchromodynamik" [Symmetries and Structure Formation in Quantum Chromodynamics]
Coordinating university: the University of Bonn. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Ulf-G. Meißner. Other applying universities: the Technical University of Munich; Peking University, Beijing. Also involved: the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP); the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing; the Jülich Research Centre.

"Volition und kognitive Kontrolle: Mechanismen, Modulatoren, Dysfunktionen" [Volition and Cognitive Control: Mechanisms, Modulators, Dysfunctions]
Coordinating university: the Dresden University of Technology. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Thomas Goschke. Also involved: the Charité - University Medical Centre Berlin.

"Helden - Heroisierungen - Heroismen. Transformationen und Konjunkturen von der Antike bis zur Moderne" [The Hero- Heroisation - Heroism. Transformations and Trends from Antiquity to the Modern Era]
Coordinating university: the University of Freiburg. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Ralf von den Hoff. Also involved: the Karlsruhe State College of Music.

"MEDical EPigenetics (MEDEP): Von den Grundlagen epigenetischer Mechanismen zur klinischen Anwendung" [MEDical EPigenetics (MEDEP): From the Fundamental Principles of Epigenetic Mechanisms to Their Clinical Applications]
Coordinating university: the University of Freiburg. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Roland Schüle. Also involved: the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg.

"Modulatorische Einheiten bei Herzinsuffizienz" [Modulatory Units for Congestive Heart Failure]
Coordinating university: the University of Göttingen. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Gerd P. Hasenfuß. Also involved: the Max Planck Institute of Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen; the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Göttingen.

"Maßgeschneiderte Multiskalige Materialsysteme - M³" [Made-to-Measure Multiscale Material Systems - M³]
Coordinating university: the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Gerold A. Schneider. Also involved: the University of Hamburg; the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung, Geesthacht.

"Wissens- und modellbasierte Chirurgie" [Knowledge- and Model-Based Surgery]
Coordinating university: the University of Heidelberg. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Markus W. Büchler. Other applying universities: the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Also involved: the German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg.

"Zelluläre Qualitätskontrolle und Schadensbegrenzung" [Cellular Quality Control and Damage Limitation]
Coordinating university: the University of Heidelberg. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Bernd Bukau. Also involved: the German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, The European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg.

"Initiierungs-, Effektor- und Regulationsmechanismen bei Multipler Sklerose - von einem neuen Verständnis der Pathogenese zur Therapie" [Initiation, Effector and Regulation Mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis - from a New Understanding of Pathogenesis to Therapy]
Coordinating university: the University of Mainz. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Frauke Zipp. Other applying universities: the University in Frankfurt am Main; the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; the Technical University of Munich; the University of Münster. Also involved: the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster; the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Planegg; the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, Bad Nauheim.

"Mikrobielle Diversität in der umweltabhängigen Signalantwort" [Microbial Diversity in Environment-Dependent Signal Responses]
Coordinating university: the University of Marburg. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Mohamed A. Marahiel. Also involved: the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg.

"Nanoagenzien für raumzeitliche Kontrolle molekularer und zellulärer Reaktionen" [Nanoagents for the Spatiotemporal Control of Molecular and Cellular Reactions]
Coordinating university: the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Joachim Rädler. Also involved: the Technical University of Munich; the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Planegg.

"Biologie der xenogenen Zell- und Organtransplantation - vom Labor in die Klinik" [Biology of Xenogenic Cell and Organ Transplantation - from Bench to Bedside]
Coordinating university: the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Bruno Reichart. Other applying universities: the Medical College of Hanover; the Dresden University of Technology. Also involved: the Technical University of Munich; the German Primate Centre, Göttingen; the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, Neustadt; the Paul-Ehrlich-Institute, Langen; the Robert Koch Institute, Berlin.

"Kontrolle von Proteinfunktion durch konformationelles Schalten" [Controlling Protein Functions through Conformational Switching]
Coordinating university: the Technical University of Munich. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Johannes Buchner. Also involved: the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; the Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Neuherberg; The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried.

"Breaking Barriers - Immunzellen und pathogene Erreger an Zell-/Matrix-Barrieren" [Breaking Barriers - Immune Cells and Pathogenic Agents in Cell/Matrix Barriers]
Coordinating university: the University of Münster. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Georg Peters. Also involved: the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Münster.

"Experimentelle Modelle und Klinische Translation bei Leukämien" [Experimental Models and Clinical Translation in Leukaemias]
Coordinating university: the University of Ulm. Coordinator: Professor Dr. Hartmut Döhner.

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Further Information

Further information is provided by the coordinators of the Collaborative Research Centres.

Contact person at the DFG Head Office:
Dr. Klaus Wehrberger, Head of the Research Centres division,
Tel. +49 228 885-2355, klaus.wehrberger@dfg.de

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