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Press Release No. 23 | 1. June 2011
DFG to Establish 21 New Collaborative Research Centres

Topics Range from Additive Manufacturing to Biological Membranes and from Manuscript Cultures to Quantum Physics

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will establish 21 new Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) as of 1 July 2011. This was decided by the relevant Grants Committee at its spring meeting in Bonn. The new CRCs will be funded with a total of 197 million euros (including a 20 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs) over an initial funding period of four years. The Grants Committee made its selection from 29 proposals, an unusually high number of applications to establish such centres, applying its strict quality criteria. The attractiveness of the programme is also indicated by the 62 preliminary proposals that were received and subject to review by the Senate Committee, 21 of which were invited to submit a full proposal.

The scope of topics of the newly approved centres ranges from more efficient and ever smaller electronic components, new computer algorithms, biological systems such as membranes, ribosomes and ribonucleic acid through to improvements in manufacturing methods. Further projects concern various aspects of written language as well as social structures and how they are arranged. Two of the new projects are CRC/Transregios (TRRs) that are distributed across several research locations.

The committee also approved the extension of 16 CRCs for a further funding period of four years. From July 2011 the DFG will fund a total of 250 Collaborative Research Centres.

The new CRCs (in alphabetical order by host university):

In conventional semiconductor electronics, structural defects influence the quality of components. In contrast to this, such defects in oxides and certain chalcogenides could be the decisive nanoscale functional units. Three of the switching processes based upon this phenomenon are being investigated by CRC 917 “Resistively Switching Chalcogenides for Future Electronics - Structure, Kinetics, and Device Scalability "Nanoswitches". The findings gained from this research could lead to a paradigm shift in semiconductor electronics and to new defect-based components. (Host university: Aachen University of Technology, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Matthias Wuttig - also participating: Jülich Research Centre, Access, affiliated institute of Aachen University of Technology)

The spatially and temporally controlled assembly of protein scaffolds in membranes is central to various cell processes. CRC 958 “Scaffolding of Membranes: Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Functions“ aims to discover how protein complexes scaffold membranes and control cellular functions such as cell fusion, synaptic signal transmission or differentiation. To achieve this, generally valid principles of the organisation and dynamics of membrane-associated protein scaffolds are to be prepared and long-term tools developed in order to manipulate their function. (Host university: Free University of Berlin, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Volker Haucke - also participating: Humboldt University of Berlin, Charité - University Medical Centre Berlin, German Institute of Nutrition Research in Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch )

In information-based societies, opto-electronic components are becoming ever more powerful and smaller and the materials in use at the moment are reaching their limits. CRC 951 “Hybrid Inorganic/Organic Systems (HIOS) for Opto-Electronics” is therefore looking at hybrid materials that together combine the strengths of such individual components as anorganic semiconductors, metallic nanostructures and conjugated organic materials. The research is intended to investigate the fundamental chemical, electronic and photonic interactions that result from the diverse nature of the individual components. (Host university: Humboldt University of Berlin, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Fritz Henneberger - also participating: Berlin Institute of Technology, University of Potsdam, Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy, Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy, Berlin, Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, Berlin, Paul Drude Institute for Solid State Electronics, Berlin)

“From Heterogeneities to Disparities” is the title of CRC 882 that investigates human variables such as sex, age, cultural preferences or lifestyles and social mechanisms that lead to social disparities. In particular, the researchers are interested in how, at which phases in life and where the individual differences between members of society lead to disparities in opportunities or activities. (Host university: University of Bielefeld, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Martin Diewald - also participating: German Institute of Economic Research, Berlin)

In order to counter the increasing energy requirements of global internet use and its resulting ecological effects, CRC 912 “HAEC - Highly Adaptive Energy-Efficient Computing” is searching for new technologies for computer systems with high energy efficiency at the same level of performance. In doing so, the researchers want to investigate for example how software components can be adapted to hardware and vice versa. To achieve highly adaptive energy-efficient information processing, they are counting on an integrated approach for all technological levels involved. (Host university: Dresden University of Technology, spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Gerhard P. Fettweis)

TRR 96 “The Thermo-Energetic Design of Machine Tools - A Systemic Solution to the Conflicting Goals of Energy Use, Precision and Productivity based on the example of Machining Production” will investigate losses in drive and hydraulics particularly in standby mode and avoid lubricants and cooling agent circuits in machining production in order to increase energy efficiency. The goals of this TRR are switch-off measures without losses in precision. (Host university: Dresden University of Technology, spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Knut Großmann - further applicant universities: Aachen University of Technology, Chemnitz University of Technology, also participating: Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, Chemnitz, Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology, Aachen)

“How Do “We” Understand the World” - This question and others will be investigated by CRC 991 “The Structure of Representations in Language, Cognition and Science”. Here, researchers will start from the hypothesis that the structure of representations at neuronal level conforms to the linguistic and institutionalised terminology of science. The human system of concepts is thus not logically abstract, but inextricably linked with perception and motor functions. The CRC wants to deduce a general theory for this system. (Host university: Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Sebastian Löbner)

“Additive manufacturing” defines technologies that join materials layer upon layer. These are processes that can produce complex geometrical shapes from powdery metal or plastic on a layer by layer basis directly from computer models. CRC 814 with the aforementioned title investigates the basic scientific questions that remain unanswered about this promising technology. Apart from a better understanding of the behaviour of powder in manufacturing, the findings are also to be applied to series production machines. (Host university: Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Dietmar Drummer)

For many years, science believed that ribonucleic acids (RNAs) were only the passive carriers of genetic information. Today, it is known that they also play an important role in the gene regulation of prokaryotes and eukaryotes, as well as fulfilling other key functions in large complexes of proteins and RNA. For this, the macromolecules assume complex three-dimensional structures. CRC 902 “Molecular Principles of RNA-based Regulation” examines how the structure and dynamics of RNA are linked with its biological functions. (Host university: Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Harald Schwalbe - also participating: Darmstadt University of Technology, Max Planck Institute of Brain Research, Frankfurt am Main)

CRC 920 “Multi-Functional Filters for Metal Melt Filtration - A Contribution towards Zero Defect Materials” will research new types of filter systems with which a new generation of high-performance materials can be manufactured due to a clear improvement in the purity of the metal. Using functionalised, intelligent filter surfaces, researchers want to adapt the mechanical properties of metal to the respective components and their requirements, thus creating a basis for innovation in safety and lightweight construction for vehicles or in the electronics industry. (Host university: Freiberg University of Mining and Technology, spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Christos Aneziris)

The goal of TRR 102 “Polymers under Multiple Constraints: Controlled Organisation and Restricted Dynamics” is to investigate and better understand the influence of internal and external constraints upon the structural formation and dynamics of polymer systems. This will involve the researchers looking at systems that are marked by a strong correlation between the local structure and the global chain conformation. Prominent examples for such processes are crystallisation in the field of synthetic polymers and the misfolding of proteins in the biopolymers field. (Host university: Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Thomas Thurn-Albrecht - further applicants: University of Leipzig, also participating: Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials, Halle Office)

The tasks of CRC 936 “Multi-Site Communication in the Brain - Functional Coupling of Neuronal Activity in the CNS“ are based upon the knowledge that cognitive processes such as perception, attentiveness, memory, emotion or motivation require cooperation between many areas of the brain. These networks are extremely complex and misfunctions contribute towards neurological and psychiatric disorders. Researchers in Hamburg will be investigating how neuronal processing is coordinated on various spatial and temporal scales and hope to use a deeper understanding of these processes to generate new methods of treatment for example for strokes. (Host university: University of Hamburg, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Andreas K. Engel - also participating: University of Osnabrück, University of Lübeck)

The manuscript is the medium of written language that has served for millennia to substantially define all cultures affected by it and only saw a serious competitor in relatively recent times with the invention of printing. CRC 950 “Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe” will research the diversity of manuscript cultures from historic and comparative perspectives. Its long-term goals include establishing a general manuscript science as cross-disciplinary research, as well as the development of sustainable tools and methods (Host university: University of Hamburg, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Michael Friedrich - also participating: Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Berlin, Orient-Institut Istanbul, Turkey)

So-called multiparticle systems have been a fascinating aspect of physics for centuries. In quantum theory, the description of ‘quantum multiparticle systems’ is a fundamental and complex question. CRC 925 “Light Induced Dynamics and Control of Correlated Quantum Systems” has set itself the goal of achieving a deep experimental and theoretical understanding of the dynamics of correlated quantum systems on all relevant length and time scales. Here, light plays the central role in order to first stimulate and study the temporal development of the systems and also to take a further step and even control it. (Host university: University of Hamburg, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Klaus Sengstock - also participating: German Electron Synchrotron [DESY], Hamburg)

CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures. Materiality and Presence of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies” is dedicated to the cataloguing, documentation and analysis of the material presence of the written word in past societies in which neither mass production nor distribution mechanisms for text existed. The resulting descriptions of “material text cultures” are to be compared systematically with those of typographic societies. Apart from that, the researchers are to investigate the connection between the written word and meaning, as well as methods for the analysis of artefacts bearing characters. (Host university: Ruprecht-Karl University of Heidelberg, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Markus Hilgert - also participating: College of Jewish Studies, Heidelberg)

The surface of a component covers the component and - similar to human skin - has a decisive influence on its function and service life. The CRC 926 “Microscale Morphology of Component Surfaces (MICOS)” aims to provide the scientific basis for the generation, characterisation and application of functionally specific component surfaces using modern modelling and simulation processes. For this purpose, researchers will correlate microscale knowledge from mechanical engineering, process technology and surface physics. (Host university: Technical University of Kaiserslautern, spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Hans Hasse - also participating: Institute of Surface and Layer Analysis [IFOS]) at the University of Kaiserslautern)

The migration of immune cells is essential for the cellular immunity of the human organism to pathogens, as well as the disposal of excess or dying endogenous cells. CRC 914 “Trafficking of Immune Cells in Inflammation, Development and Disease” will examine leucocytes as well as their targeted migratory routes depending upon tasks and environment, as well as specific signal processes, using highly modern imaging methods. In the long-term, these projects are intended to contribute to new therapy concepts against inflammatory diseases. (Host university: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich [LMU], spokesperson: Professor Dr. Barbara Walzog - also participating: Technical University of Munich, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Planegg)

The research background for CRC 924 “Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Yield and Yield Stability in Plants” is the safeguarding of food reserves for the growing world population. In order to improve plant cultivation and production, the researchers seek to better understand the molecular processes of plants that are involved in yield and yield stability. (Host university: Technical University of Munich, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Claus Schwechheimer - also participating: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, University of Regensburg, Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health, Oberschleißheim)

CRC 901 “On-The-Fly Computing - Individualised IT Services in Dynamic Markets” investigates three areas of the further development of markets and the support of interaction between the participants in such dynamic IT environments. This involves the algorithmic and economic principles for the organisation of large dynamic IT markets, processes for modelling, composition and the quality analysis of services and service configurations and also reliable execution environments for On-The-Fly Computing. (Host university: University of Paderborn, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Friedhelm Meyer auf der Heide)

CRC 960 focuses on “Ribosome Formation: Principles of RNP Biogenesis and Control of Their Function.” RNP is an abbreviation for ribonucleoprotein complexes - i.e. contructs of proteins and ribonucleic acids in living cells. The correct formation and functionality of RNP are decisively dependent upon the interaction between many cellular processes and biomolecules. In Regensburg, scientists will investigate these processes and the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the formation of ribosomes and RNP and regulate their function. (Host university: University of Regensburg, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Herbert Tschochner - also participating: Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich)

CRC 923 “Threatened Orders” investigates the structure of social groups or societies in which the fundamental conditions of interaction are subject to question. The researchers will be aiming to identify a history of crisis diagnosis as well as examine the modes of rapid social change. In addition to that, they want to establish further spatial and temporal categories as well as the aspect of globalisation. (Host university: Eberhard-Karl University of Tübingen, spokesperson: Professor Dr. Ewald Frie)

Further Information

For further information, please contact the spokespersons of the Collaborative Research Centres.

Contact at the DFG Head Office:

Additional Information

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