The 25 prizewinners of the third round of the European Young Investigator (EURYI) Award competition have been announced. The young researchers will each receive a maximum of 1.25 million euros to establish independent junior research groups to pursue their projects at research institutions of their choice in Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Four of the prizewinners applied for the award through the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) to carry out research at German institutes over the next five years. Three German scientists will conduct research at institutions in France, the Netherlands and Switzerland, respectively. The EURYI Awards will be conferred on 13 October 2006 in Prague. The fourth call for proposals will be announced on 1 September of this year.
German award winners in Germany:
Dr. Klaus Hallatschek (35), Natural Sciences, Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics, Garching
Klaus Hallatschek studies turbulence. At first sight turbulence appears to involve the break-up of ordered fluid motion, but in fact many turbulence processes spontaneously reorganise themselves. They thereby behave macroscopically like the Bose-Einstein condensate, which, in quantum mechanical systems, responds to extremely low temperatures by suddenly becoming organised. Scientists suspect that such processes are behind the coloured belts of Jupiter, certain ocean currents and plasma in fusion reactors. By understanding the dynamic properties of these flows, Hallatschek hopes to develop the ability to predict their long term behaviour, which might be used for applications in weather forecasting and relating to ocean currents.
Dr. Dieter Chichung Lie (34), Biomedicine, National Research Centre for Environment and Health (GSF), Institute of Developmental Genetics, Neuherberg
Dieter Chichung Lie, a biomedical scientist, will conduct research on neural stem cells and their capability of differentiating into all of the major cell types of the central nervous system. These cells are essential, among other things, in the generation of new hippocampal neurons in adults. Lie will investigate which signalling pathways regulate these stem cells. He hopes not only to provide a better explanation of the molecular mechanisms, but also to indicate possible strategies for the maintenance of hippocampal functioning in older people.
Dr. Frank Keppler (38), Natural Sciences, Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg
Frank Keppler, a physicist from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, will study how the biosphere affects the atmosphere. He will examine the gases methane, chloromethane and bromomethane and their contribution to the greenhouse effect and global warming. His group will investigate the formation of climate-relevant volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their lifecycle. The feedback between global climate change and the production of these gases will also play a vital role in his work.
Dr. Ullrich Pfeiffer (34), Engineering and Computer Sciences, Institute for High Frequency and Quantum Electronics, University of Siegen
Ullrich Pfeifer will return from the United States to Germany to pursue research at the Institute for High Frequency and Quantum Electronics at the University of Siegen. He plans to lay the foundations for the use of terahertz radiation in various applications, such as imaging systems. At the same time, it is intended, above all, to break through the existing technological restrictions on the components that may be used in this area. The focus of the investigations will initially be on metamaterials, artificially engineered materials with new characteristics, which open up new possibilities for miniature antennas and detector arrays. Furthermore, existing semiconductor process technology will be used for the development of detectors and integrated circuits, which could potentially be used in new imaging technologies.
German award winners in Europe:
Dr. Pascal Fries (33), a biomedical scientist, will use his EUYRI Award in the Netherlands. There he will examine the human brain and the interaction of brain cells, concentrating on the visual cortex, visual attentiveness and the underlying neuronal mechanisms.
Dr. Arno Rauschenbeutel (34) will conduct research in France on combining molecular and atomic quantum optics with the particular light conditions found in optical fibres. The goal of his research is the construction and operation of quantum mechanical optical devices from glass fibres, which function by means of the interaction between matter and light.
Dr. Manuel Torrilhon (30), a mathematician, will use his award money in Switzerland to solve partial differential equations using a combination of numerical analysis, mathematical modelling, and computational methods. Applications might include the simulation of plasma flows for industry or magnetohydrodynamical simulations.
Dr. Beate Scholz, DFG Programme Director, Research Careers
Tel. +49 228 885-2798, Beate.Scholz@dfg.de
Dr. Anjana Buckow, DFG Programme Officer, Research Careers
Tel.+49 228 885-2845, Anjana.Buckow@dfg.de
Useful sites on the EURYI Award
DFG website: www.dfg.de/euryi_award
European Science Foundation: www.esf.org/euryi
List of 2006 prizewinners: www.esf.org/esf_genericpage.php?language=0§ion=10&domain=0&genericpage=2606