News Release

Outstanding success in the Excellence Strategy: TU Dresden enters the next round with three new Clusters of Excellence initiatives

Grant and Award Announcement

Technische Universität Dresden

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As a result, TUD ranks second overall in the number of calls for proposals in the current competition nationwide. This is according to today’s joint announcement (February 2, 2024) by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Science and Humanities Council (WR). An international panel of experts appointed by the DFG and the WR through the Joint Science Conference (GWK) has assessed a total of 143 draft proposals over the last few days and selected 41 as valuable funding opportunities.

In addition, TUD's three existing Clusters of Excellence have expressed their intent to the DFG that they wish to continue their outstanding research work. TUD, therefore, enters the next round of Cluster of Excellence evaluations with three already existing and three new Clusters of Excellence. 

Prof. Ursula Staudinger, Rector of TU Dresden:  
“The fact that three of TUD’s Cluster of Excellence initiatives were invited to submit full proposals by the DFG and the German Science and Humanities Council and that TUD thus ranks second in this phase of the Excellence Strategy emphatically underlines our exceptional performance as a top research university and the extraordinary innovation of the researchers at TUD and the DRESDEN-concept alliance. I am particularly pleased that the proposed projects focus on areas of research that will help solve the pressing problems of our future, such as climate change. This is a decisive step on our way to permanently positioning TUD as a University of Excellence and thus to further developing it as a top university for the 21st century. My warmest congratulations to all the colleagues involved." 

Prof. Angela Rösen-Wolff, Vice-Rector Research at TU Dresden:  
“TU Dresden is one of the top universities in Germany, as this fantastic success shows. With their focus on important future issues and innovative research fields such as research into the functions of the brain for machine learning, resource-efficient construction, and sustainable high-performance electronics, the three TUD Clusters of Excellence initiatives invited to submit full proposals align with TUD's aspirations to develop solutions for the pressing issues of the 21st century."   

Sebastian Gemkow, Minister of Science of the Free State of Saxony: 
“I would like to congratulate TU Dresden on this tremendous success; to have three pioneering research projects rated so highly is a testament to the university's exceptional performance. The State Government will do everything in its power to support the applicants and the universities as they progress in the Excellence Strategy competition.” 

By August 22, 2024, TU Dresden will submit a full proposal for the following Cluster of Excellence initiatives for the 2026 to 2032 funding phase:  

  • BiC Behavior in Context: Brain and Machine Computations of Behavior in Complex and Uncertain Environments. 
  • CARE Climate-Neutral and Resource-Efficient Construction (with RWTH Aachen) 
  • REC2: Responsible Electronics in the Climate Change Era” 

A brief portrait of the three new Cluster of Excellence Initiatives 

BiC - Behavior in Context: Brain and Machine Computations of Behavior in Complex and Uncertain Environments.
Speaker: Prof. Stefan Kiebel
The human brain controls behavior in complex situations, such as when communicating with others or when driving. Despite years of research, AI systems just can’t keep up in terms of efficiency. The BiC Cluster of Excellence wants to investigate whether recently discovered brain mechanisms represent key principles and can be transferred to machine learning and the development of therapies. 

CARE - Climate-Neutral and Resource-Efficient Construction
Speaker: Prof. Viktor Mechtcherine (TUD) and Prof. Martin Claßen (RWTH Aachen)
Conventional concrete and cement make up 80% of the materials used in construction and are responsible for more than 8% of global CO2 emissions during production. The CARE Cluster of Excellence at TU Dresden and RWTH Aachen University aims to use climate-friendly building materials, construction principles and production technologies to achieve the goal of sustainable construction in every aspect. 

REC2 - Responsible Electronics in the Climate Change Era
Speaker: Prof. Yana Vaynzof
Electronics bring many benefits to our lives, but at a cost of enormous resource and energy consumption and generation of e-waste. The REC² cluster is creating the scientific basis for the electronics of the future: new material platforms, device concepts and integrated systems with which responsible electronics can be realized in an ecologically, economically and societally sustainable way.

Letters of intent submitted: Established Clusters of Excellence submit innovative approaches for additional funding   

In addition to the new Cluster Initiatives that have been invited to submit full proposals, the three Clusters of Excellence CeTI: Centre for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop, ct.qmat: Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter, and PoL: Physics of Life are already being funded at TU Dresden. All three Clusters intend to continue their excellent research in the fields of communication networks, quantum materials, and the physics of life. To this end, they submitted their letters of intent to the DFG and the WR by the stipulated deadline of January 29, 2024 – together with a description of how they will continue to innovatively develop their research areas on the basis of their experience and results. 

CeTI: Center for Tactile Internet with Human-in-the-Loop 
Speaker: Prof. Frank Fitzek
CeTI will continue its successful interdisciplinary research in the field of communication networks and promote the transfer of human senses to robotics and the metaverse. The second phase will integrate new approaches from quantum technology and biology with a view to improving energy efficiency and trustworthiness in virtual worlds. A key objective is to make this technology as accessible as possible so that as many people as possible can benefit from it.
More information:  

ct.qmat: Complexity and Topology in Quantum Matter 
Speaker: Prof. Matthias Vojta (TUD) and Prof. Ralph Claessen (Uni Würzburg)
The competition for quantum technologies is well underway. Materials that exhibit exotic phenomena play a crucial role in this respect. The ct.qmat Cluster of Excellence is researching quantum materials that will be able to conduct electricity without loss and store huge amounts of information. They reveal their exotic phenomena under extreme conditions. One of the major goals of the second funding period is to make these special properties usable under everyday conditions and thus suitable for use in revolutionary technical applications.
More information:    

PoL: Physics of Life 
Speaker: Prof. Otger Campàs 
The “Physics of Life” Cluster of Excellence will pursue its research at the interface between biology and physics with the aim of uncovering the physical principles underlying the dynamic organization of life. This understanding will transform the link between physics and biology, reshape the life sciences, and help humanity find solutions to some of the world's most pressing biotechnological and health problems.
More information:   

TU Dresden
TUD Dresden University of Technology, as a University of Excellence, is one of the leading and most dynamic research institutions in Germany. With around 8,300 members of staff and around 29,000 students in 17 Faculties, it is one of Europe’s largest technically-oriented universities. Founded in 1828, today it is a globally oriented, regionally anchored top university, developing innovative solutions for the world's most pressing issues. In research and academic programs, the university unites the natural and engineering sciences with the humanities, social sciences and medicine. This wide range of disciplines is an outstanding feature that facilitates interdisciplinarity and transfer of science to society.

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