Public Release: 

DFG to fund 8 new Collaborative Research Centers

Topics range from near-wall multiphase flows to discourses of weakness and resource regimes and regenerative potential after acute trauma / 62 million Euros in funding

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

This news release is available in German.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will establish eight new Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs). This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee during its autumn session in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive a total of 62 million euros in funding. There will also be a 20% programme allowance for indirect project costs. Two of the eight new networks are CRC/Transregios, spread across multiple research sites.

All of the new CRCs will be funded for an initial four-year period starting on 1 January 2015, a return to the usual practice of starting funding at the beginning of the year and the usual funding duration. Both practices were temporarily suspended in May 2013, with the funding period being reduced to three years and nine months and starting on 1 April. This measure was intended to free up additional resources for the DFG's individual grants programme, for which there is very high demand. A moratorium on supplementary proposals was introduced with the same purpose in mind. This has also been revoked, so supplementary proposals may be submitted once again as of January 2015. "These initiatives, which were designed to boost our individual grants programme, had the desired effect, so we are pleased to say there is no more need for them," said DFG President Professor Peter Strohschneider at today's session of the Grants Committee.

In addition to the eight new Collaborative Research Centres, the Grants Committee also approved the extension of 15 existing CRCs for an additional funding period.

As a result, the DFG will be funding a total of 240 Collaborative Research Centres as of January 2015.

The new Collaborative Research Centres
(in alphabetical order by host university)

The CRC/Transregio "Near-Wall Turbulent Chemically Reacting Multiphase Flows" is concerned with important aspects of combustion processes. The presence of walls has an important influence on the behaviour of chemically reacting flows. Near-wall processes impact on technological applications in energy engineering such as engines, gas turbines and power plants. However, little research has been done into the underlying mechanisms of near-wall processes and how they interact. The researchers therefore intend to analyse the basic principles involved in complex near-wall three-phase flows. Their aim is to develop a software package that brings together many of the chemical and physical processes that take place near walls. This could help engineers to design more efficient combustion processes and reduce the impact on the environment.
(Host University: Technical University of Darmstadt, Spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Johannes Janicka, also participating: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology)

The targeted control of spin excitations in semiconductor materials could result in decisive progress in the development of new components for information technology. The charge carriers in these materials rotate like a spinning top, a property known as "spin". But how can this be put to use in electronic components? The CRC/Transregio "Coherent Manipulation of Interacting Spin Excitations in Tailored Semiconductors" intends to answer this question by examining the electrical, optical and above all magnetic properties of electrons in semiconductors. The researchers will use state-of-the-art spectroscopy techniques and theoretical methods and develop new material and component concepts. Ultimately the group hopes to lay the foundations for spin electronics, spin optics and spin-based quantum information processing.
(Host University: Technical University of Dortmund, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Manfred Bayer, also participating: St. Petersburg State University, University of Bochum, University of Paderborn, Russian Academy of Sciences Ioffe Physical-Technical Institute St. Petersburg)

The Collaborative Research Centre "Correlated Magnetism: From Frustration to Topology" will work at the interface between theoretical and experimental solid state physics and chemistry. Its focus is on the discovery and investigation of new states of matter in magnetic materials with geometrical frustration. The participating researchers intend to use a combination of synthesis, experiment and theory to understand the thermodynamic and transport properties and dynamics of the elementary excitations of these materials and shed light on their relationship with topological properties. Topological concepts have acquired much greater importance in physics in recent years, which gives the new CRC additional significance.
(Host University: Technical University of Dresden, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Matthias Vojta, also participating: Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden, Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids Dresden, Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems Dresden)

Nearly one in two deaths in Germany is linked to cardiovascular disease in the heart or vascular system. The most common form this takes is acute myocardial infarction (AMI), usually referred to as a heart attack. The new Collaborative Research Centre "Master Switches in Cardiac Ischemia" intends to analyse in greater detail the phase following an AMI through experimental pre-clinical investigations on small and large animal models and clinical investigations. The aim is to identify cardiac and systemic effector mechanisms or "master switches" which determine the course of recovery in the phase following an infarction. This could provide starting points for new therapies.
(Host University: Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Jens W. Fischer, also participating: University of Duisburg-Essen, Leibniz Institute for Diabetes Research Düsseldorf, Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine Düsseldorf)

How can discourses on weakness in self and others influence the way societies handle resources? The Collaborative Research Centre "Discourses of Weakness and Resource Regimes" intends to answer this question primarily from a historical perspective and carry out example-based studies on various historical formations. For example, it will deal with discourses on the "decline of Europe" in the 20th century and ancient empires in periods of transition. The group will focus in particular on immaterial resources such as knowledge and blood relationships.

In its multi-epoch, interdisciplinary, transcultural comparative research design, the research team intends to develop a set of instruments that is suitable for the analysis of transformations of historical formations but can also be used in the analysis of contemporary issues, for example debates on the globalisation of "weak" states or supranational entities.
(Host University: Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Spokesperson Professor Dr. Hartmut Leppin, also participating: Max Planck Institute for European Legal History Frankfurt)

The decoding of the human genome and the introduction of DNA sequencing methods have led to enormous progress in the identification of genetic risk factors for human diseases. The kidney is often affected by genetic disease, but the functional analysis of disease genes in this organ is lagging behind the rapid pace of gene discovery. The Collaborative Research Centre "Kidney Disease - From Genes to Mechanisms (KIDGEM)" will concentrate on genetic kidney diseases and systematically analyse them with an interdisciplinary approach. The main research aim is to translate the function of participating gene products into an understanding of the molecular physiology of the kidney. It is hoped that this will lay the foundations for better diagnosis, treatment and prevention of genetic kidney disease.
(Host University: University of Freiburg, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Gerd Walz, also participating: Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics Freiburg)

"Functional Ensembles: Cellular Components, Patterned Activity and Plasticity of Co-Active Neurons in Local Networks" - this is the title of a new Collaborative Research Centre that will investigate the enormous degree of neuronal networking in the central nervous system. In theory this networking should produce a virtually unlimited number of possible signal paths for information transfer. But despite the multiplicity of signal paths, the nervous system supports the linking of neuronal networks to form "functional ensembles" - ensembles of co-active neurons with short-term stability. These ensembles are assumed to be involved in all important tasks in the central nervous system. The researchers in the CRC intend to analyse various functional systems in mammal brains to understand the fundamental characteristics of functional ensembles.
(Host University: University of Heidelberg, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Andreas Draguhn, German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) Heidelberg, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research Heidelberg, Central Institute of Mental Health (ZI) Mannheim)

Many aspects of the body's local and systemic response to injury and the interactions involved are still not understood by medical scientists. In this context, they refer to mechanical tissue damage or "trauma". The purpose of the body's response triggered by injury is to limit the external and internal danger and promote regeneration and healing. However, trauma can also cause complications, from the systemic inflammatory response to organ failure. The Collaborative Research Centre "Danger Response, Disturbance Factors and Regenerative Potential after Acute Trauma" will focus on the most common injury patterns and disturbance factors and intends to shed light on the cellular and molecular processes in the body following serious trauma. This could produce new therapeutic strategies for patients with severe injuries.
(Host University: University of Ulm, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Florian Gebhard)

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Further Information

Media contact:
DFG Press and Public Relations, Tel. +49 228 885-2443, presse@dfg.de

Further information will be provided by the spokespersons of the Collaborative Research Centres.

DFG Head Office contact:
Dr. Klaus Wehrberger, Head of Research Centres Division
Tel. +49 228 885-2355, Klaus.Wehrberger@dfg.de

More details about the funding programme and funded Collaborative Research Centres are available at: http://www.dfg.de/sfb/en/

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