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News | 2012

IV. Quarter 2012

Leibniz Prizes 2013: DFG Honours Eleven Outstanding Researchers

(14.12.12) The new recipients of Germany's most prestigious research funding prize have been announced: the DFG Joint Committee has awarded eleven researchers with the 2013 Leibniz Prize. The prizewinners were selected by the Nominations Committee from 135 nominees. Four of the eleven prizewinners are from the life sciences, three from the humanities and social sciences, another three from the natural sciences, and one from engineering sciences. The awards ceremony for the 2013 Leibniz Prizes will be held on 19 March in Berlin.

Three New Research Units, One New Clinical Research Unit

(12.12.12) The DFG will set up three new Research Units and one new Clinical Research Unit. This was decided by the DFG Senate during its 2012 December meeting in Bonn. The purpose of the research collaborations is to offer researchers the possibility to pursue current and pressing issues in their subject areas and to establish innovative work directions.

Scientific Misconduct: Decisions in Three DFG Cases

(12.12.12) The DFG is again imposing sanctions following instances of scientific misconduct. Meeting in Bonn, the DFG Joint Committee has decided to take action against two researchers in accordance with the DFG’s procedure for handling cases of scientific misconduct. Another allegation of scientific misconduct was considered not proven. In all three cases the allegations concerned data manipulation.

"Twinlife": Worldwide Unique Study on Social Inequality

(12.12.12) How does social inequality develop? And what is the interaction of genes and environmental factors? To clarify these questions, the DFG is setting up a new long-term project. In the "Twinlife" study at the Universities of Bielefeld and Saarbrücken, 4000 twins will be interviewed at different stages of their lives in order to better understand how social inequality develops from individual differences. The twelve-year project will initially be funded with over four million euros over the next three years.

DFG to Fund Eleven New Collaborative Research Centres

(30.11.12) The DFG will establish eleven new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) as of 1 January 2013, thereby reinforcing the focus of the participating universities. They will be funded initially for four years with a total of €101.5 million (including programme allowances for indirect project costs). One of the new CRCs is a Transregio, which has multiple locations. In addition to the eleven new CRCs, the committee also approved the extension of 25 CRCs for an additional funding period.

DFG Establishes 23 New Research Training Groups

(22.11.12) The DFG is establishing 23 new Research Training Groups to further support early career researchers in Germany. Nine of the new groups will be International Research Training Groups, which will work closely with universities in Canada, the USA, China, the Netherlands and Australia. A number of Research Training Groups will offer novel approaches to doctoral training in medicine, combining high-level research with practical clinical training.

DFG Reinforces Self-Regulation in Science and the Humanities

(09.11.12) The DFG is further expanding its activities to establish and safeguard good scientific practice. Several new advanced training courses and information services are especially aimed at reinforcing the principle of self-regulation in science and the humanities. While most are intended primarily for ombudspersons at universities and research institutions, some are also directed at teachers/faculty members and students in general.

Opening of DWIH New Delhi: German Science and Industry Join Together in India

(31.10.12) The German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH) opened its doors in India's capital, New Delhi, on 27 October 2012. It brings together 14 partners from science and industry, coordinated by the DFG. The institution’s objective is to further promote Germany as a location for research and innovation and encourage Indo-German collaboration.


III. Quarter 2012

Bernd Rendel Prizes 2012: From Climate Fluctuations to Research into Meteorites

(21.09.12) The DFG's 2012 Bernd Rendel Prize honours young researchers who have made important and original contributions to basic geosciences research before obtaining their doctorates. The topics covered by this year's four prizewinners range from climate fluctuations to research into meteorites. The prizes will be awarded on 26 September 2012 during the annual meeting of the German Geological Society in Hamburg.

Prof. Dr. Eva Viehmann

2012 von Kaven Award to Eva Viehmann

(03.09.12) The DFG will present Munich mathematician Eva Viehmann with this year’s von Kaven Award in recognition of her research in the field of arithmetic algebraic geometry. The award ceremony will take place at the opening of the annual conference of the German Association of Mathematicians (DMV) in Saarbrücken on 17 September.

HALO: One-of-a-Kind Research Aircraft Ready for Takeoff

(20.08.12) The stratospheric research platform “High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft” (HALO), co-funded by the DFG, is ready for takeoff. This unique airborne laboratory will be used to advance Earth system science and climate research. The aircraft was presented to the science community in Oberpfaffenhofen on Monday, 20 August 2012.

First Indian-European Research Networking Projects in the Social Sciences Launched

(06.08.12) The Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) in association with the DFG, the French Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), the UKEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) have launched the first set of projects for networking and social science research cooperation between researchers in India and the four European countries.

MAK Value Lowered for Chlorinated Biphenyls

(03.08.12) Chlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of substances for which the 2012 List of MAK and BAT Values submitted by the Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) specifies new, and in this case, significantly lower values than previously recommended. These data are based on detailed scientific research and transparent decision-making processes. The List of MAK and BAT Values is also available under open access for the first time, as are all publications of the Commission since the beginning of this year.

European research projects probe European issues

(31.07.12) As the impacts of the economic crisis continue to reverberate across European societies, it is more important than ever before that European social scientists work together to investigate urgent economic and social issues and expand our understanding of complex social processes and individual behaviour. In this context, four European national research funding agencies are delighted to announce the outcomes of the second round of the Open Research Area Scheme (ORA), which will provide €9 million to fund ten collaborative research projects over the next three years.

Call for Submissions for the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize

(27.07.12) DFG again announces the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize for Young Researchers. Persons eligible to nominate candidates submit outstanding young researchers by 30 September 2012 for a total of ten awards, each worth €20,000. In 2013, the number of winners of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize is increased from six to ten and the prize money from €16,000 to €20,000. This contributes to the development of the prize to the most prestigious award for young researchers of its kind.

The Value of a Doctoral Degree – Emmy Noether Recipients Discuss Issues Relating to Working Conditions in Science

(26.07.12) The 11th annual Emmy Noether Meeting once again brought together current and former participants in the DFG’s Emmy Noether Programme. More than 160 researchers travelled to the city to discuss specific issues in their daily work, as well as topics relating to scientific policy. The “science policy evening” was held on 13 July and addressed the topic “Plagiarism – Falsification – Arrogation. Is a Doctoral Degree Worth its Price?” The agenda focused on questions of ethics, as well as of scientific quality and its assurance.

Enhancing Digital Transformation

(12.07.12) The DFG supports efforts to enhance the strategic development of information infrastructure in Germany. A new strategy paper on this topic was adopted by the DFG Senate at its session on 3 July 2012. The paper "Taking Digital Transformation to the Next Level: The Contribution of the DFG to an Innovative Information Infrastructure for Research“ outlines current challenges of creating innovative information infrastructures for research, explores new developments, and identifies areas to be enhanced with targeted funding initiatives.

DFG: Universities Must Continue to Be the Heart of the Science Research System in the Future

(10.07.12) In discussions involving the future structure and funding of the German science research system, the DFG believes that universities must play a central role in all considerations. This was emphasised by DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner at the annual press conference of Germany's central research funding organisation on Thursday, 5 July 2012, in Berlin. Other topics discussed were the Excellence Initiative, the Annual Meeting of the DFG from 2 to 4 July in Dortmund and the address given there by German Federal President Dr. h. c. Joachim Gauck, and the DFG's funding activities over the past year.

DFG Executive Committee with Two New Members

(09.07.12) The DFG has two new vice presidents: Leena Kaarina Bruckner-Tuderman, professor of dermatology at Freiburg, and Frank Allgöwer, professor of systems theory and automatic control at Stuttgart, were elected to the Executive Committee of Germany’s largest research funding organisation by the General Assembly in Dortmund. Developmental geneticist Elisabeth Knust was re-elected for another term.

Prof. Dr. Peter Strohschneider

Peter Strohschneider Elected Next DFG President

(06.07.12) Peter Strohschneider will be the next President of the DFG. The professor for German medieval studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich was elected to the top office at the General Assembly in Dortmund on Wednesday, 4 July 2012. Strohschneider will take up office on 1 January 2013 and succeed Professor Matthias Kleiner, who was elected to the position in 2007 and will leave office at the end of the year.


II. Quarter 2012

Annual Meeting in Dortmund: DFG to Elect Successor to Kleiner and Welcome the German President

(28.06.12) The DFG’s 2012 Annual Meeting will be held from 2 to 4 July in Dortmund. The focus of the General Assembly will be on the election of the successor to DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner, who completes his term at the end of the year. The DFG Senate has nominated three candidates for the election. German President Dr. h.c. Joachim Gauck will be guest of honour and deliver an address at a ceremony on 4 July in the main auditorium of the Technical University of Dortmund.

Decisions on the Second Phase of the Excellence Initiative

(22.06.12) Funding decisions for the second phase of the Excellence Initiative have been made. Following evaluation and discussion of a total of 143 proposals from 46 universities, the Excellence Initiative Grants Committee decided on Friday, 15 June 2012, in Bonn to support 45 graduate schools, 43 clusters of excellence, and 11 institutional strategies. In total, 39 universities will receive 2.4 billion euros.

Final Decisions in the Excellence Initiative

(14.06.12) On Friday, 15 June 2012, the Joint Commission of the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities decided which projects will be funded in the second phase of the Excellence Initiative. 45 graduate schools, 43 clusters of excellence and 11 institutional strategies to promote top-level research at 39 universities will be funded with more than €2.4 billion.

DFG Presents "Funding Atlas 2012": Competition for Third-Party Funding an Everyday Reality

(04.06.12) Over the last decade, grants have come to play an increasingly important role in the funding of research projects within the German science system. Competition for third-party funding is quickly becoming a dominant factor within the science and research system, and already involves a large proportion of universities and non-university research institutions as well as individual researchers. These are some of the key findings of the Funding Atlas 2012 presented by the DFG in Berlin.

DFG Establishes 20 New Collaborative Research Centres

(29.05.12) The DFG 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.

DFG Europa-Preis Awarded to "Jugend forscht" Winners

(25.05.12) Four young researchers had two reasons to celebrate at this year's award ceremony for Germany’s "Jugend forscht" ("Youth researches") competition in Erfurt. The young researchers placed first in their respective fields, and were also awarded the DFG's Europa-Preis.

Internationality Still Important in Research Training Groups Programme

(16.05.12) To further strengthen early career support for researchers in Germany, the DFG has approved the establishment of a new Research Training Group. This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee at its meeting on 11 May 2012 in Bonn. The new Research Training Group offers doctoral researchers the opportunity to earn their degrees in a structured research and qualification programme at a high scientific level.

DFG Establishes Ten New Priority Programmes

(09.05.12) A total of ten new Priority Programmes were established by the DFG Senate at its 2012 spring session in Bonn. They are set to launch at the beginning of 2013 and leverage the combined scientific expertise of researchers from Germany and beyond who work in particularly current or emerging fields. Research topics cover a wide interdisciplinary spectrum, from ultrafast data transfer to climate engineering to novel materials.

DFG Research Centre on Biodiversity: Decision for Leipzig/Jena/Halle-Wittenberg

(02.05.12) The decision on the establishment of the new DFG Research Centre on Integrative Biodiversity Research has been made. The Joint Committee selected the joint proposal by the three universities of Leipzig, Jena and Halle-Wittenberg. The objective of the seventh DFG Research Centre is the exploration, and thus the protection, of the natural foundations of life. The centre will initially be funded for four years and receive about €33 million during this period. It will be based in Leipzig.

From Urban Climate Research to the Treatment of Incontinence

(07.05.12) The establishment of six new Research Units and one Clinical Research Unit has been decided by the Joint Committee of the DFG. These networks will offer researchers the opportunity to address current and pressing issues in their fields and to pioneer innovative approaches. As all DFG Research Units, the new institutions will work across locations and disciplines. Clinical Research Units combine clinical, applied and basic research.

DFG Presents Exhibition on “The National Socialists’ General Plan East” in Poland

(25.04.12) A special exhibition is set to tour Poland in the coming months. Under the title “Wissenschaft – Planung – Vertreibung”/“Nauka – Planowanie – Wypędzenia” (Research – Planning – Expulsion), the DFG and its Polish partners will remember the “General Plan East” devised by the National Socialists, which was designed to advance the “Germanisation of Eastern territories” after 1942 and which would have robbed millions of Polish citizens of their livelihoods. The exhibition will be displayed in Warsaw from 17 April to 30 May, after which it will tour Lublin, Wrocław, Poznań and Gdańsk until the beginning of October.

Copernicus Award 2012 for German-Polish Collaboration in Business Informatics

(16.04.12) Experts in business information systems Professor Erwin Pesch from Siegen and Professor Jacek Błażewicz from Poznan have been awarded the Copernicus Award by the DFG and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) for their achievements in German-Polish collaboration in science. The Copernicus Prize includes prize money of 100,000 euros and will be presented on 17 September 2012 in Warsaw by the Presidents of the DFG and FNP, Professor Matthias Kleiner and Professor Maciej Żylicz.


I. Quarter 2012

Jürgen Tautz Wins 2012 Communicator Award

(23.03.12) The 2012 Communicator Award, conferred by the DFG and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany, will be awarded to Jürgen Tautz. The Würzburg-based apiologist and behavioural biologist has been selected in recognition of his outstanding, sustained, and innovative efforts to raise the public profile of his work and the scientific study of bees. The Communicator Award is the most important prize for science communication in Germany and will be presented to Jürgen Tautz on 3 July at the DFG's Annual Meeting in Dortmund.

DFG Announces Recipients of 2012 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize

(20.03.12) The new recipients of the most important prize for early-career researchers in Germany have been announced. The selection committee has chosen three young men and three young women to receive this year’s Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes. The award recognises outstanding scientific work to date and serves as an incentive for researchers to continue their scientific careers.

Launch of DFG Exhibition “Von der Idee zur Erkenntnis” at the German Bundestag

(13.03.12) How does research trigger new discoveries? How do ideas become research projects and eventually turn into knowledge? As part of the travelling exhibition “Von der Idee zur Erkenntnis” (“From an Idea to Discovery”), the DFG is showcasing ten research projects which are funded through its individual grants programme. The exhibition will be on display at the Paul-Löbe-Haus in Berlin until 30 March, when it will begin a tour of the German states.

Core Facilities: Promoting Outstanding Research Infrastructure

(16.02.12) The first eleven projects to be awarded funding through the DFG’s “Core Facilities” initiative have been announced. The initiative will provide support to pilot projects dedicated to professionalising the use and management of infrastructure at instrumentation centres across Germany.

Final Results of the 2011 DFG Review Board Election Announced

(17.02.12) Following acknowledgement by the DFG’s Senate, the results of the Review Board Election are now final. A total of 606 researchers have been elected to 48 review boards. The newly elected review boards will hold constitutive meetings beginning in March 2012 and thereby replace the current review boards.

DFG to Establish Four New Research Units

(16.02.12) The DFG has approved the establishment of four new Research Units. This decision was taken by the DFG’s Senate at its February meeting in Bonn. As with all DFG Research Units, the new groups will collaborate across locations and disciplines. Their main topics are computer-aided knowledge representation, the structure and dynamics of ecological networks, new statistical procedures and nano innovations for optoelectronics.

New Representation in São Paulo

(21.02.12) With an expanded presence and in a new environment, the DFG aims to further strengthen research cooperation between Germany and Latin America. In São Paulo – the most important research and business location in Latin America – the German House of Science and Innovation (DWIH) has just opened. The opening ceremony by German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and the president of the Brazilian Research Council CNPq, Professor Glaucius Oliva, is also the start signal for a new DFG Office in Latin America, which is based in the DWIH.

DFG Imposes Sanctions for Scientific Misconduct

(09.02.12) The DFG has imposed sanctions against researchers for scientific misconduct, excluding one researcher from the right to submit proposals for a period of two years and issuing another with a written reprimand. In both cases the researchers were found to have included third-party material in their proposals which they failed to properly identify. The Joint Committee ruled that these acts of plagiarism amounted to scientific misconduct. One researcher was also found to have breached the trust of his superior, further aggravating the circumstances of his case.

DFG Provides No-Cost Access to MAK Collection

(01.02.12) The DFG Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area has evaluated the state of research and provided scientific advice in the field of occupational health and safety since 1955. The publication of the MAK Collection under open access marks an important step in providing free access to electronic information resources. The database, which contains detailed data and scientific documentation on over one thousand chemical compounds, can now be accessed online free of charge.

“One Month in India”

(31.01.12) In February and March 2012, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and Fraunhofer join forces and organise events to present German innovation and research in India. The purpose of their joint effort "One Month in India" is to strengthen and expand R&D collaboration between Germany and India and to foster the mobility among scientists from both countries.


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