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Press Release No. 19 | 30. April 2012
DFG Establishes Ten New Priority Programmes

Topics from Ultrafast Data Transfer to Climate Engineering to Novel Materials / All Programmes Interdisciplinary

What is the role of phosphorus resources for trees and forests – and what do they mean for the nutrition and balance of a forest ecosystem? How can ultrafast wireless transmission paths help deliver today’s growing data streams even in mobile internet access? How do the modern arts experience, perceive and process temporality – and what does this view imply for the interpretation of artistic creations in general? These are just some of the foundational questions to be examined in the coming years by ten new Priority Programmes of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).

A total of ten new Priority Programmes were established by the DFG Senate at its recent spring session in Bonn. These programmes 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.

The new Priority Programmes cover the entire spectrum of disciplines, from the humanities to the life and natural sciences to engineering. Topics range from the development and testing of a novel class of materials – such as topological insulators, which are electrically insulating in their interior but conductive on the surface – to innovative paths in forming technology to enable health- and environment-friendly production without lubricants. Another programme deals with the dynamic simulation of complex solids processes, a key technology that could also be used for applications in chemistry, pharmacy and medicine.

The newly established programmes are highly interdisciplinary. For example, researchers from the natural sciences, humanities and social sciences will work closely together on issues such as global climate change and climate engineering, investigating the evidence for environmental and ethical risks and opportunities, as well as looking at the social, political and legal challenges involved. New approaches will also be taken by a programme designed to analyse, with high-resolution measuring methods, the function and dynamics of neural networks using a “troika strategy”: each joint research problem will be tackled by experimenters, methods developers and analysis experts in the field of computational neuroscience. All Priority Programmes share a strong focus on early career support, which is a key requirement for their establishment.

The ten Priority Programmes were selected from a total of 40 concepts submitted. Over the coming months, the DFG will announce a separate call for proposals for each programme. Proposals will be evaluated in a rigorous review process to determine their scientific quality and their contribution to the general topic in question. A total of almost 60 million euros will be available for all ten new programmes in the first funding period.

DFG Priority Programmes generally run for six years. Including the ten newly approved ones, the DFG now supports 90 Priority Programmes.

The new Priority Programmes (by scientific discipline) and their coordinators:

Humanities and social sciences

Aesthetic Proper Times: Time and Representation in Polychronic Modernity
Coordinators: Professor Dr. Michael Gamper, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz University of Hannover, and Professor Dr. Reinhard Wegner, Friedrich Schiller University of Jena

Life sciences

INTESTINAL MICROBIOTA – A Microbial Ecosystem at the Edge between Immune Homeostasis and Inflammation
Coordinators: Professor Dr. Dirk Haller, Technical University of Munich, and Professor Dr. Ingo Autenrieth, Eberhard-Karl University of Tübingen

Resolving and Manipulating Neuronal Networks in the Mammalian Brain – from Correlative to Causal Analysis
Coordinator: Professor Dr. Ileana Livia Hanganu-Opatz, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf

Ecosystem Nutrition: Forest Strategies for Limited Phosphorus Resources
Coordinator: Professor Dr. Friederike Lang, University of Freiburg

Natural sciences

Topological Insulators: Materials – Fundamental Properties – Devices
Coordinator: Dr. Oliver Rader, Helmholtz Centre Berlin for Materials and Energy

Field-Controlled Particle–Matrix Interaction: Synthesis, Multiscale Modelling and Application of Magnetic Hybrid Materials
Coordinator: Professor Dr. Stefan Odenbach, Dresden University of Technology

Climate Engineering: Risks, Challenges, Opportunities?
Coordinator: Professor Dr. Andreas Oschlies, IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel

Engineering sciences

Dynamic Simulation of Complex Solids Processes
Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Stefan Heinrich, Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg

Wireless Ultra-High-Speed Communication for Mobile Internet Access
Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Rolf Kraemer, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus

Sustainable Production through Dry Machining in Forming Technology
Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Frank Vollertsen, BIAS – Bremer Institute of Applied Radiation Technology GmbH

Further Information

Detailed information on DFG Priority Programmes, including a list of currently funded programmes, is available at:

More information on the newly approved Priority Programmes is available from their respective coordinators.

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