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News | 2011

IV. Quarter 2011

DFG to Establish Seven New Research Units

(20.12.11) The DFG has approved the establishment of seven new Research Units. The purpose of these is to allow researchers to address current questions across disciplines and sites, and to establish new research directions. The topics cover a broad spectrum, ranging from innovative concepts in audiology to novel therapies for alcohol dependency and the relevance of hypothetical claims in science. Over the next three years the new Research Units will receive approximately €14.2 million.

German Future Prize for DFG-Funded Researchers

(15.12.11) The research team working with Professor Karl Leo from the Dresden University of Technology was awarded the "German Future Prize" on 14 December 2011 for the pioneering further development of organic semiconductors. DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner, who attended the award ceremony in Berlin, congratulated "Professor Leo, a DFG Leibniz prizewinner, and the Dresden research team on this great success. From the perspective of the DFG, which intensively supported Karl Leo's work, the prize shows the groundbreaking potential of basic research – as well as for innovations and future-oriented technologies that take into account socio-political challenges, such as changes in energy policy."

Leibniz Prize 2012 to Honour Eleven Outstanding Researchers

(08.12.11) Next year’s winners of the most important research award in Germany have been announced: The DFG’s Joint Committee in Bonn today named eleven researchers — two women and nine men — as winners of the 2012 Leibniz Prize. They were pre-selected by the relevant nominations committee from 131 nominations. Five of the award winners work in the life sciences, three in the natural sciences, two in the humanities and social sciences, and one in engineering sciences. The award ceremony will be held on 27 February 2012 in Berlin.

DFG to Fund Eight New Collaborative Research Centres

(23.11.11) The DFG has approved funding for eight new Collaborative Research Centres as of 1 January 2012. This was agreed by the responsible Grants Committee at its autumn meeting in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive a total of €82.7 million (including a 20 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs) in their initial four-year funding period. In addition, the Committee approved the extension of 13 CRCs for an additional four years. As of January 2012 the DFG will fund a total of 234 Collaborative Research Centres.

From Modern Metropolises to Ultra-Cold Matter

(14.11.11) To further enhance the promotion of early-career researchers in Germany, the DFG has approved the establishment of 16 new Research Training Groups. This decision was made by the DFG’s relevant Grants Committee in Bonn. Four of the new units are International Research Training Groups that cooperate closely with universities in Canada, the USA and Austria.

(L-R) Mr. Jens Urban (Counsellor & Spokesman, Head of Press & Public Relations Section Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany), Dr. Torsten Fischer (Director, DFG India Office), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Matthias Kleiner (President, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Dr. B. M Gupta (Consultant and the Author of the Study), Dr. Christian Aulbach Counsellor (Science & Technology, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany)

Indo-German Collaboration: New Dimension

(10.11.11) Research collaboration between India and Germany has intensified. This was highlighted by DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner during a visit to several universities and research institutes in New Delhi. "In many areas of basic research we are seeing more and more joint initiatives with outstanding results, due in no small part to funding provided by the DFG," Kleiner said. According to a new study, in terms of joint publications, Germany is second only to the USA as a partner country with India.

DFG to Fund Three DNP-NMR Devices

(31.10.11) With support from the DFG, three German universities are to obtain innovative DNP-NMR devices for use in the life sciences and materials sciences. As part of an ongoing major instrumentation initiative, just under five million euros are available to provide this new and highly promising technology at the Universities of Darmstadt, Düsseldorf and Frankfurt.

“The Power of Open Access”

(31.10.11) “Success Stories”: the English-language platform www.oastories.org is celebrating International Open Access Week (October 24-30, 2011) with a selection of portraits showcasing projects and initiatives from eleven participating countries. The platform was commissioned by the Knowledge Exchange network, of which the DFG is also a member.

On the Trail of Biomarkers and Signalling Substances with Major Instrumentation

(27.10.11) In the life sciences, imaging methods such as microscopy play a central role. Imaging mass spectrometry is a new and analytic method in this field that promises many benefits. In October 2011 therefore the Joint Committee of the DFG has decided, as part of the "Imaging Mass Spectrometry in the Life Sciences“ initiative, to equip nine universities with appropriate major instrumentation systems.

Now Online – the DFG's Modularised Programmes

(14.10.11) The DFG now offers its Research Grants Programme, the Emmy Noether Programme, the Heisenberg Programme, Research Units and Priority Programmes in a modular structure. Applicants will be able to select the funding modules they need to conduct their research. New forms and guidelines are available to facilitate this process. For the first time, proposals for research grants may be submitted electronically.

DFG Establishes Twelve New Research Units

(14.10.11) The DFG has established nine new Research Units and three Clinical Research Units. Researchers at these multi-sited, interdisciplinary Research Units will explore topical research questions using innovative methods and approaches. The Clinical Research Units combine the areas of clinical, applied and basic research. The nine new Research Units will receive more than €15 million over the next three years, while the three Clinical Research Units will receive over €8.2 million in their initial four-year funding period.

Founding of Science Europe

(14.10.11) On 21 October 2011 European research organisations celebrated the founding of Science Europe in Berlin. The DFG hosted and organized the launch event and the founding assembly in cooperation with the Science Europe Pilot Office. 50 organisations participated in Science Europe’s Founding Assembly and elected the President, two Vice-Presidents as well as seven Board Members.


III. Quarter 2011

Personnel Changes in DFG Press and Public Relations Office

(28.09.11) Marco Finetti is the new head of Press and Public Relations and press spokesperson of the DFG. On 1 October, he succeeds Eva-Maria Streier, who has been appointed director of the DFG’s New York Office. Streier, who holds a doctorate in American Studies, has headed the DFG’s Press and Public Relations Office since 1985. She has been instrumental in advancing science communication, whether in the scientific community, the media or the general public. Her successor, an experienced education and science journalist, joined the DFG in 2007.

von Kaven Award 2011 for Christian Sevenheck

(12.09.11) The DFG is to honour Mannheim-based mathematician Christian Sevenheck with the von Kaven Award for Mathematics for his outstanding work in the field of complex algebraic geometry and singularity theory. Sevenheck will receive the prize, which is worth 10,000 euros, for his contributions to research in this current and dynamic mathematical field. The von Kaven Award will be presented as part of the opening ceremony of the German Mathematical Society (DMV)’s annual conference in Cologne on 19 September, 2011.

Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality

(05.09.11) The members of the DFG have made considerable progress in implementing their voluntary commitment to the Research-Oriented Standards on Gender Equality. This is documented by the interim reports of the member institutions and their evaluations by a working group appointed by the DFG’s General Assembly. These are now published on the DFG’s website.

Brochure “Researching: Communication"

New Brochure “Researching: Communication"

(02.09.11) The Alliance of German Science Organisations has published the latest in its “Researching” brochure series with a DFG-coordinated publication on communication and another on health. The series presents current research in Germany and picks up on topics included in the German federal government’s High-Tech Strategy.

DFG-Researchers Nominated for Zukunftspreis

(30.08.11) Researchers funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) are among the research teams nominated for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis in 2011. In late August, Dresden-based researchers Professor Karl Leo, Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer were named among the finalists for this year’s Federal President’s Award for Technology and Innovation, which is endowed with €250,000 prize money. The research team was nominated by the DFG and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Acknowledgement and Incentive – Bernd Rendel Prizes 2011

(30.08.11) In 2011, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will award the tenth annual Bernd Rendel Prizes to young researchers who, before having achieved their doctorates, have already made significant and original contributions to basic research in the geosciences. The prizes of 2000 euros each will be awarded on 6 September 2011 as part of the Geologische Vereinigung’s annual meeting in Munich.

Emmy Noether Meeting Celebrates Tenth Anniversary

(28.07.11) From 20-22 July 2011, alumni of the DFG’s Emmy Noether Programme met together with current participants at the tenth annual Emmy Noether Meeting to share their experiences and ideas. Since the inaugural event in 2001, the networking meeting has become a regular institution. The topic of this year’s science policy evening was: “Science, the Public, and Politics – Interaction and Challenges.”

New Threshold Value for "Fine Dust" at the Workplace

(19.07.11) The 2011 List MAK and BAT Values compiled by the DFG’s Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area contains new data on a total of 82 substances. As every year, the list was sent to the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and forms the basis for legislation on health and safety at the workplace. This year, for example, the Commission lowered the general threshold limit value for dust for the respirable fraction and classified such dusts as carcinogenic when this threshold is exceeded. In addition, classifications for uranium and its inorganic compounds are now available.

Open Research Area (ORA) for the Social Sciences

(15.07.11) After a successful first call in 2010, the ANR, DFG, ESRC and NWO have teamed up again to announce a common call for proposals in 2011. The Open Research Area (ORA) scheme will provide funding for integrated projects in the social sciences by researchers coming from two or more of the four participating countries.

Annual Press Conference: Working Together for Research – Transparent – International

(13.07.11) Sixty years after its re-establishment following the Second World War, the DFG sees itself now more than ever as the central self-governing organisation for science and the humanities in Germany. This was emphasised by DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner at the annual press conference in Berlin. In the future, the work of the DFG should become even more transparent and more internationally oriented in spite of the increasing complexity of research and research funding. With regard to science policy, Kleiner spoke for a continuation of the "three big pacts" after their current funding periods end.

DFG Annual Report 2010: Setting a Course for Science

(13.07.11) The DFG’s Annual Report 2010 was presented at the DFG’s annual press conference in Berlin. Comprising approximately 300 pages, this clearly written and richly illustrated volume showcases numerous highlights from research funding and draws attention to the strategic activities and new directions in the DFG’s funding portfolio. This year’s report features a revised and expanded statistics section.

DFG Projects at the Click of the Mouse: Newly Designed GEPRIS Offers Expanded Information

(08.07.11) GEPRIS, the DFG’s German Project Information System, has been given a new look and updated to include even more information on DFG funding activities. Users can now call up the results of DFG-funded research projects on the internet. A clearly structured user interface enables fast and efficient searches for information, and the new English navigation simplifies searches for international users.

"Research Explorer" and "Higher Education Compass"

(08.07.11) The two online systems, "Research Explorer" (www.research-explorer.de) and "Higher Education Compass" (Hochschulkompass - www.hochschulkompass.de), are now linked to one another, offering even more comprehensive information on researching and studying in Germany. The connected applications, made available through cooperation between the DFG, HRK and DAAD, include extensive information on research and university institutions and thus offer a unique online directory of the German science landscape – accessible around the world and free of charge.

From Bone Metastases to Water Supply

(08.07.11) The DFG is establishing eight new Research Units, two Clinical Research Units and two Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies. This was decided by the DFG’s Joint Committee at its July meeting in Bonn. The themes spanned by the research groups range from the study of malignant bone diseases, through testing of innovative models for water research, to the establishment of a synthesis technology for use in materials science.


II. Quarter 2011

DFG to Establish 21 New Collaborative Research Centres

(01.06.11) The DFG will establish 21 new Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) as of 1 July 2011. This was decided by the relevant Grants Committee in Bonn. The new CRCs will be funded with a total of €197 million for an initial four years. The Grants Committee made its selection from 29 proposals, an unusually high number of applications to establish such centres, applying strict quality criteria. In addition, 16 CRCs were extended for a further four years. As of July 2011, the DFG will fund a total of 250 CRCs.

Twofold success at

Starting Early

(31.05.11) Six young researchers from the fields of mathematics/computer science, physics and chemistry had two reasons to celebrate during this year's award ceremony for Germany’s competition "Jugend forscht" in Kiel. Not only did they place first in their respective research areas, but they were also awarded the DFG’s newly created Europa-Preis.

Libraries as Research Locations

(24.05.11) In order to provide even better opportunities for researchers, the DFG plans to expand libraries and increase their visibility as “research locations”. Initially, the DFG’s “Outstanding Research Libraries” funding line will support 21 projects, providing them with approximately €4 million in funding over the next few years.

DFG Establishes 18 New Research Training Groups

(16.05.11) With the aim of further strengthening early-career research in Germany, the DFG is to establish 18 new Research Training Groups. This decision was taken by the appropriate Grants Committee in Bonn. The new institutions will initially be funded for a period of four and half years, during which time they will receive total funding of around 60 million euros. In addition to the 18 new RTGs, the Grants Committee approved the renewal of four RTGs for a further 4.5-year period.

Prof. Gerd Gigerenzer

Communicator Award 2011 Goes to Gerd Gigerenzer

(28.04.11) This year's Communicator Award of the DFG and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany goes to the psychologist and risk researcher Professor Gerd Gigerenzer from Berlin. He is being honoured for his skills in communicating key issues such as the art of decision making and dealing with risks and uncertainties to the public.

DFG Establishes 13 New Priority Programmes

(26.04.11) A total of 13 new Priority Programmes were established by the DFG Senate at its recent spring session in Bonn. These programmes will commence work at the beginning of 2012 and leverage scientific expertise (both in Germany and further afield) in particularly current and emerging research fields. Topics covered by the Priority Programmes range from historical port structures to interactions in bacterial cultures, the stability of glass, and regenerative fuels.
The skull of a Diplodocus which weighed around 13 tons.

Sauropods in New York

(18.04.11) Weighing in at 90 tons, Argentinosaurus is considered the largest creature ever to have inhabited the earth. He and his somewhat smaller relatives are part of “The World’s Largest Dinosaurs”, an exhibition which has just opened at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and which will run until the beginning of 2012. The exhibition’s scientific background was provided by a Bonn-based research team whose work is funded by the DFG.

DFG Establishes Four New Research Units

(15.04.11) The DFG establishes four new Research Units. This decision has just been made by the Senate of the DFG. In Research Units, outstanding researchers work together on a current research topic, often at different locations and across disciplines. The Research Units approved in April 2011 deal with novel synthesis methods; "quantum diamonds"; new, minimally invasive surgical procedures and the mechanisms in firms and markets.

Biomaterial Banks for Research

(04.04.11) Biomaterial banks are an indispensable resource for biomedical research. They are of great importance to the quality and competitiveness of German research. Therefore, it is important that clear strategies and recommendations exist for Germany. At present however, no general comprehensive statutory regulations, in the form of a research biobank act, should be introduced. This is the conclusion of a joint statement by the DFG Senate Commissions on Clinical Research and on Genetic Research.

Research Team Recognised for Exemplary Cooperation in Chemistry

(04.04.11) Two outstanding chemists have been selected to receive the Eugen and Ilse Seibold Prize 2011. Professor Gerhard Erker, from the University of Münster, and Professor Kazuyuki Tatsumi, who works at Nagoya University, have been recognised for their contributions as promoters of understanding between Japan and Germany and as long-term advocates for science. The Erker/Tatsumi team is the first research team to be awarded the prize, which is funded by former DFG President Eugen Seibold and his wife in the amount of €10,000.


I. Quarter 2011

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2011: Incentive for Early Career Researchers

(15.03.11) The new prizewinners of the most important award for early career researchers in Germany have been chosen. The selection committee appointed by the DFG and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research have selected two young female and four young male researchers for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize 2011. For this year's prize, 145 nominations were received – more than ever before. Four of the six prize recipients are under or have just turned 30.

First Decisions in the Second Phase of the Excellence Initiative

(09.03.11) In the second phase of the Excellence Initiative, the first decisions have been made. The Joint Commission of the DFG and German Council of Science and Humanities has selected 59 projects from 32 universities for the final round of the competition. They were selected from 227 proposals that were submitted by 64 universities. Amongst the successful proposals, 25 are for graduate schools, 27 for clusters of excellence and 7 for institutional strategies. They must all submit detailed funding applications by 1 September in order to compete with the 85 institutions that are currently funded as part of the Excellence Initiative. The final decision will be made in June 2012.

Nine New Research Units

(04.02.11) Following a decision taken by its Senate, the DFG is to establish nine new Research Units. These new groups are intended to provide researchers with the opportunity to address current and urgent issues in their fields and to develop new research strategies. The nine Research Units cover all the DFG’s major research areas, from life sciences to natural and engineering sciences right through to humanities and social sciences, and are interdisciplinary and multi-locational in nature. Five of the teams will cooperate with researchers abroad on various projects.

Plagiarism Condemned

(03.02.11) The DFG has again drawn consequences from an incident of scientific misconduct involving funding applicants. The DFG Joint Committee has issued two professors with a "written reprimand". The two researchers had failed to identify passages of third-party material included in their joint funding proposal.

Two New Members in the "Research Ombudsman"

(03.02.11) The "Research Ombudsman" will in future contribute to the adherence of good scientific practice with a new staff composition. The DFG Senate elected zoologist Professor Brigitte Jockusch from Brunswick and chemist Professor Katharina Al-Shamery from Oldenburg to the three-person statutory body to which all researchers in Germany may turn. The new spokesperson of the ombudsman will be legal scholar Professor Wolfgang Löwer from Bonn.

DFG Honours Alternatives to Animal Testing

(28.01.11) The 2011 Ursula M. Händel Animal Welfare Prize has been awarded to research teams from the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf and the University of Konstanz. Both have developed innovative methods to significantly decrease the number of animal experiments. The prize was presented on January 24 in Berlin.


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