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News | 2014

IV. Quarter 2014

DFG Holiday Closing Times

(17.12.14) The DFG offices in Bonn and Berlin will be closed for the holidays beginning Wednesday, 24 December and reopen on Monday, 5 January. We would like to thank you for your continued interest in our work.

We wish you season's greetings and a happy New Year!

DFG Awards Prizes in International Research Marketing Competition

(15.12.14) The DFG has presented awards for international research marketing ideas for the first time in a competitive framework. Three universities will each receive €75,000 to transform their research marketing ideas into reality: University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, University of Heidelberg and University of Tübingen. The prizes are funded from special funds of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The competition is part of the International Research Marketing project.

Five New Research Units, Four New Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies

(11.12.14) The DFG will set up five new Research Units and four new Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies. This was decided by the DFG Senate in Bonn. The new units will be funded with a total of €23.5 million; the Research Units will be funded initially for three years and the Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies for four years. As a result, the DFG will be funding a total of 186 Research Units and 11 Humanities Centres for Advanced Studies.

"Research of the Very Highest Quality": DFG Announces 2015 Leibniz Prizewinners

(10.12.14) The new recipients of Germany's most prestigious research funding prize have been announced. The Joint Committee of the DFG has decided to award the 2015 Leibniz Prize to eight researchers. The recipients of the prize were selected by the Nominations Committee from 136 nominees. Of the eight new prizewinners, three are from the natural sciences, three from the humanities and social sciences, and two from the life sciences. Each will receive prize money of €2.5 million.

EU Investment Plan Must Not Come at Expense of Research in Europe

(08.12.14) The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany has criticised the announced funding base of the EU investment programme. In its statement, the Alliance has spoken against using funds from the budget of Horizon 2020. Doing so would affect, among others, the budgets of the European Research Council and the Marie Curie Actions for the support of early-career researchers. The Alliance therefore calls on the European Commission to leave the budget of Horizon 2020 untouched when financing the planned investment.

DFG to Fund Eight New Collaborative Research Centres

(21.11.14) On 1 January 2015 the DFG 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 for an initial four-year period plus a 20% programme allowance for indirect project costs. In addition to the eight new Collaborative Research Centres, the Grants Committee approved the continuation of 15 existing CRCs.

Pavel Gurevich Wins the 2014 von Kaven Award

(12.11.14) The DFG's 2014 von Kaven Award will be presented to mathematician Pavel Gurevich, Ph.D., from the Free University of Berlin. He conducts research on nonlinear partial differential equations, focussing in particular on hysteresis phenomena and pattern-forming processes. The award of €10,000 will be conferred for the ninth time and presented on 19 November 2014 at the public Gauß lecture given under the auspices of the German Mathematical Society in Karlsruhe.

DFG Establishes 14 New Research Training Groups

(10.11.2014) The DFG is establishing 14 new Research Training Groups (RTGs). This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee during its autumn session in Bonn. The RTGs will receive funding of approximately €60 million for an initial period of four and a half years. In addition to the 14 new RTGs, the Grants Committee approved the extension of seven RTGs for another four and a half years. The newly approved RTGs will commence work in 2015. The DFG is currently funding 207 such programmes.

DFG Welcomes Decisions by the Joint Science Conference

(30.10.14) The DFG welcomes the decisions made by science ministers at federal and state level in the Joint Science Conference on 30 October 2014. DFG President Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider described the decisions on programme allowances for indirect project costs, the Excellence Initiative and the Pact for Research and Innovation as "of major importance for the future development of the research system in Germany".

Excellence Initiative Institutions Call for Swift Decision on Future Development

(10.10.14) The largest meeting to date of spokespersons of graduate schools, clusters of excellence and institutional strategies funded within the Excellence Initiative has ended with an urgent appeal to politicians to continue and further develop the programme. At the invitation of the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities, representatives of more than 100 institutions funded under the Excellence Initiative spent two days in Bad Honnef in talks with each other, with the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities, and with politicians on the successes and prospects of the programme to improve top-class research at universities.

DFG Congratulates Stefan W. Hell on Nobel Prize in Chemistry

(08.10.14) The DFG congratulates Professor Stefan W. Hell, of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen and the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg, on winning the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He and his US colleagues Eric Betzig and William E. Moerner have been awarded the prize "for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy". Professor Hell is the seventh winner of the DFG's Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize to receive a Nobel Prize.

DFG Establishes Nine New Research Units

(02.10.14) The DFG is establishing nine new Research Units. This was decided by the DFG Senate during its autumn meeting in Bonn. The research collaborations will offer researchers the opportunity to pursue current and pressing issues in their research areas and to establish innovative work directions. In the initial 3-year funding period, they will receive approximately €16 million in total. This brings the number of Research Units funded by the DFG to 189.


III. Quarter 2014

DFG to Present Geosciences Prizes at GeoFrankfurt 2014

(15.09.14) On 23 September 2014 the DFG will present two geosciences prizes, the Albert Maucher Prize and the Bernd Rendel Prize, at GeoFrankfurt 2014 in Frankfurt am Main. Dr. Kathryn E. Fitzsimmons will receive the Albert Maucher Prize for her work on luminescence dating, while the Bernd Rendel Prize will be presented to meteorologist Mandy Freund and paleoclimatologist Haytham El Atfy.

Examples of Best Practice in Promoting Gender Equality

(22.08.14) With its relaunch of the German-language website "Instrumentenkasten" (toolbox), the DFG once again underlines its commitment to equal opportunities and gender equality in research and academia. The portal at www.instrumentenkasten.dfg.de (available only in German) offers a wide-ranging collection of quality-assured examples intended to promote equal opportunities in research and academia.

DFG Senate Commission Submits the 50th List of MAK and BAT Values

(04.08.14) For the 50th time, the Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area of the DFG has submitted a list of maximum workplace concentrations (MAK values) and biological tolerance values (BAT values), laying the scientific foundation for the legislation that governs health and safety in the workplace. The DFG President, Professor Peter Strohschneider, presented the list to Hans-Peter Viethen, Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, on 23 July.

DFG Funds the World's First Magnetic Particle Imaging Device

(10.07.14) The world's first magnetic particle imaging (MPI) unit will be stationed at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. The device, which was formally handed over on 10 July 2014, facilitates medical imaging on small animals in order to discover applications that might be relevant and of benefit to humans. The DFG is funding the MPI equipment, developed by Philips Healthcare, with €4 million under its major instrumentation initiative.

Amendment of the DFG Statutes

(03.07.14) The DFG has presented its amended statutes at its annual press conference. The amendment was passed the day before at the DFG's General Assembly. The main aim of the amendment is to adapt the statutes to reflect the tasks of the DFG and its organs and also funding activities, which have developed and changed in myriad ways since the organisation was re-established in 1951. "The new statutes are more in step with the current reality and current practice. They are also more systematic, more transparent and more modern in their formulation," said Secretary General Dorothee Dzwonnek.

DFG Annual Press Conference in Berlin

(03.07.14) The DFG has called on decision-makers at federal and state level to take prompt concerted action to implement their recent agreements on research policy. "The framework has finally been defined and now it has to be filled in. This applies to both the amendment of the Basic Law to allow greater federal involvement in higher education and the use of the additional ten-figure sum released by the federal government for the federal states," said President Professor Peter Strohschneider at the annual press conference in Berlin. The research community urgently needs clarity and reliable planning perspectives, particularly with respect to the continuation of the Excellence Initiative and the programme allowance, he added.

Three New Members for the DFG Executive Committee

(02.07.14) On Wednesday 2 July 2014, biochemist and molecular biologist Professor Dr. Katja Becker (based in Giessen), mathematician Professor Dr. Marlis Hochbruck (Karlsruhe) and jurist Professor Dr. Wolfgang Schön (Munich) were elected to the Executive Committee of the DFG by the General Assembly in Frankfurt am Main. Becker replaces chemist Professor Dr. Ferdi Schüth (based in Mülheim), while Hochbruck takes over from information scientist Professor Dr. Dorothea Wagner (Karlsruhe) and Schön replaces jurist Professor Dr. Christine Windbichler (Berlin).

Reprimand and Ban on Submitting Proposals for Four Years

(02.07.14) The DFG is again imposing sanctions following an instance of scientific misconduct. At its session at the DFG's Annual Meeting 2014 in Frankfurt am Main, the Joint Committee decided to issue a written reprimand to medical scientist Dr. Dennis Rottländer and ban him from submitting proposals for a period of four years. Both actions were implemented in accordance with the DFG Rules of Procedure for Dealing with Scientific Misconduct and at the recommendation of the Committee of Inquiry on Allegations of Scientific Misconduct.

DFG to Fund Five New Research Units

(02.07.14) The DFG is establishing five new Research Units. This was decided by the Senate of the DFG during the 2014 Annual Meeting at Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main. In the initial 3-year funding period, they will receive approximately €8 million in total. As with all DFG Research Units, the collaboration between the new units will be interdisciplinary and span multiple locations. They will investigate topics as diverse as durable road structures, social comparison processes and bone healing processes.


II. Quarter 2014

"Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility"

(26.06.14) The DFG and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina presented their joint recommendations on "Scientific Freedom and Scientific Responsibility" on 26 June 2014 in Berlin. The publication is the response of the research organisations to the view that science and the humanities must develop ethical principles and mechanisms with which to deal with the freedom to research and the risks of research. In this they are fulfilling their statutory mandate to advise scientists, policymakers and the public.

Global Research Council in Beijing: Working Towards Common Standards

(03.06.14) Discussions at the third annual meeting of the Global Research Council (GRC) in Beijing, which ended on 28 May 2014, focussed on issues of global interest in research and research funding. At the three-day meeting, top-level representatives of more than 60 research and research funding organisations discussed measures with which to find a common basis for the funding of early career researchers and open access. Germany was represented at the meeting by the DFG and its President, Professor Dr. Peter Strohschneider.

DFG Europa-Preis Awarded to Six Winners of the National "Jugend forscht" Competition

(02.06.14) Six young researchers, in two separate teams, had two reasons to celebrate at this year's awards ceremony for Germany’s "Jugend forscht" competition in Künzelsau: they were not only placed first in their respective fields, but were also awarded the DFG's Europa-Preis.

DFG Establishes 13 New Collaborative Research Centres

(23.05.14) The DFG will establish 13 new Collaborative Research Centres. This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee in Bonn. The new centres will receive a total of €93.1 million in funding for an initial period of three years and nine months. There will also be a 20 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs. Four of the 13 new networks are CRC/Transregios, spread across multiple research sites. The Grants Committee also approved extending the funding periods of 19 existing centres.

DFG Establishes 13 New Research Training Groups

(19.05.14) The DFG is establishing 13 new Research Training Groups (RTG) to further support early career researchers in Germany. This decision was made by the relevant Grants Committee in Bonn. The RTGs will receive funding of approximately €48 million for an initial period of four and a half years. In addition to the 13 new RTGs, the Grants Committee approved the extension of 12 RTGs for another four and a half years. The new groups will commence work in the second half of the year.

German-Polish Physicist Duo Win 2014 Copernicus Award

(13.05.14) Physicists Professor Harald Weinfurter from the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and Professor Marek Żukowski from the University of Gdansk have been chosen to receive the 2014 Copernicus Award from the DFG and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP) for their services to German-Polish research cooperation. According to the jury the physicists will be awarded the €100,000 prize for their achievements both as outstanding individual researchers and as collaborating researchers whose "joint research projects have yielded clear and important results."

Researchers Funded for Collaborative Projects that Cross Boundaries

(12.05.14) The Open Research Area Scheme (ORA) has awarded €15 million to fifteen research projects. The grant will allow academics in Europe and the United States to collaborate on a range of exciting projects that will push the boundaries of our understanding of individual and social behaviour and influence policy. National funding organisations from across the continent and the US fund the ORA plus programme in order to strengthen international cooperation in the social sciences. The scheme was set up in order to minimise bureaucratic obstacles and restrictions usually associated with international funding.

DFG President Peter Strohschneider Travels to the USA and Mexico

(12.05.14) DFG President Professor Peter Strohschneider travelled to the United States and Mexico at the end of April. The agenda included wide-ranging talks on current developments in science policy in Germany, the USA and Mexico, the conclusion of agreements on expanding joint research funding and a change of leadership in the DFG's New York Office. The five-day trip to Mexico City, New York and Washington underlined the significance that the DFG attaches to international cooperation.

Alliance Calls on Policymakers to Swiftly Set the Course for the Future German Research System

(15.04.14) The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany has called upon policymakers at the federal and state government levels to swiftly address the future organisation of the research system in Germany.

Onur Güntürkün Wins 2014 Communicator Award

(09.04.14) Biopsychologist Onur Güntürkün is the winner of this year's Communicator Award, conferred by the DFG and the Donors' Association. Professor Güntürkün, from the University of Bochum, will receive the €50,000 award for his exemplary approaches to communicating his research on the biological foundations for animal and human behaviour to the general public and the media. The award will be presented on 1 July at the DFG's Annual Meeting in Frankfurt am Main.

DFG to Establish Five New Research Units

(03.04.14) By decision of the Senate, the DFG will establish five new Research Units. Their purpose is to offer researchers the opportunity to devote themselves to topical questions in their disciplines and to establish innovative research directions. Collaborating across locations and disciplines, they will receive a total of nearly eleven million euros in the first three years of funding. The DFG now supports 198 Research Units.


I. Quarter 2014

16 New Priority Programmes

(31.03.14) Following a decision by its Senate, the DFG is establishing 16 new Priority Programmes. Over the next few years, researchers in these programmes will investigate fundamental scientific questions in particularly topical or emerging areas of research. The programmes will begin in 2015. A total of €89 million will be available for the first three-year funding period.

DFG Modifies Rules for Publication Lists

(28.03.14) Much praise in principle, but also criticism for the specific design: The rules for publication lists implemented by the DFG in 2010 drew considerable response. After intense discussions in the research community and the DFG’s committees, the Senate has now further developed the rules pragmatically. Proposals and reports may now cite up to ten publications in project lists and academic CVs. “There are still clear limits,” said President Peter Strohschneider. “The principle of ‘quality over quantity’ remains unchanged.”

Proposal Ban and Reprimands: DFG Imposes Sanctions for Scientific Misconduct

(28.03.14) With a one-year exclusion from proposal eligibility and two written reprimands, the DFG once again draws consequences from the scientific misconduct of grant applicants and recipients. At its recent meeting in Bonn, the Joint Committee passed these measures concerning two researchers in accordance with the Rules of Procedure for Dealing with Scientific Misconduct. In doing so, it followed the recommendation of the DFG Committee of Inquiry on Allegations of Scientific Misconduct.

New Knowledge from Old Collections

(18.03.14) The DFG is funding 12 new projects at museums, universities and non-university institutes to electronically index extensive research collections, digitise the objects they contain and make them available online. The projects focus on different object classes, including herbaria, a historical skeleton collection, old book covers and a collection of historical musical instruments. They are of interest to a variety of research communities. The 12 projects will receive a total of €4.3 million in funding.

Outstanding Research on Improving Animal Welfare in Science

(13.03.14) The DFG will award the Ursula M. Händel Animal Welfare Prize, which recognises scientists who have improved the welfare of animals used in research, for the fifth time this year. Professor Thomas Korff from the Institute for Physiology and Pathophysiology at the University of Heidelberg has been selected to receive the prize of €100,000 for his research on diseases of the vascular system.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2014

(12.03.14) The DFG awarded this year's Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz prize to eleven researchers at a ceremony at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities in Berlin on 12 March 2014. A dossier with word portraits and photographs of the prizewinners is available.

2014 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes: Recognition and Incentive for Ten Early Career Researchers

(20.02.14) This year's recipients of the most important prize for early career researchers have been announced. The selection committee, appointed by the DFG and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, has chosen ten researchers, three women and seven men, to receive the 2014 Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prize. They were selected from 147 nominations, 53 of which were shortlisted. The ten recipients will each be presented with the €20,000 prize on 12 May in Berlin.


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