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Press Release No. 52 | 12 December 2013
DFG Establishes Four New Research Units

Topics Range from International Public Administration and Politics to Ultra-Precision Manufacturing and Invasion Mechanisms of Infections / Total of 7.1 Million Euros for Three Years

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is establishing four new Research Units. This was decided by the DFG Senate during its December meeting. The purpose of the research collaborations is to offer researchers the possibility to pursue current, pressing issues in their subject areas and to establish innovative work directions. Like all DFG Research Units, the new units will be interdisciplinary and span multiple locations. In the initial 3-year funding period, they will receive approximately 7.1 million euros in total. This brings the number of Research Units funded by the DFG to 200.

The new Research Units
(in alphabetical order by host university)

How can the industrial production of ultra-precision components be further improved? New turning and milling techniques using diamond-tipped tools have resulted in considerable advances in ultra-precision machining, sometimes close to physical limits. But these techniques are associated with practical problems: they demand time-consuming manual adjustments and setting-up, require long processing times and present a high risk in terms of process stability. The aim of the Research Unit Ultra-Precision High Performing Cutting (UP-HPC) is to reduce production times using scientific methods and a range of approaches and concepts. By so doing, the engineering scientists at the universities of Bremen and Hannover hope to improve the efficiency, reliability and safety of ultra-precision manufacturing processes.
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ekkard Brinksmeier, University of Bremen)

Another new Research Unit will study Nanopatterned Organic Matrices in Biological Silica Mineralization. Researchers in Dresden, Göttingen and Marburg, from the fields of organic and biomolecular chemistry, nanotechnology and bioengineering, will seek to explain patterns and processes of silica mineralization at the molecular level using the example of diatoms. To achieve this they must first understand the (bio)chemical and physical principles that enable diatoms, which are among the most common types of phytoplankton, to develop cell walls based on silicon dioxide. To gain new insights into the processes that take place at the nano and micro level, the researchers will use a combination of analytical techniques from biochemistry, biophysics and molecular genetics as well as simulations. They hope that the natural principles of biomineral morphogenesis could have long-term applications in new materials.
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Nils Kröger, Technical University of Dresden)

Amid the ongoing process of globalisation, international organisations are playing an ever more important, often decisive, role in the public and the political sphere. The Research Unit International Public Administration. The Emergence and Development of Administrative Patterns and Their Effects on International Policymaking brings together political and administrative scientists from Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Munich and Constance with the aim of producing, through a comprehensive perspective, fresh insights into organisational structures, decision-making processes, administrative cultures and relations between institutions and with social actors. The researchers intend to gather, link and evaluate data on different organisations as well as carry out in-depth case studies. Through their investigations at the interface between public administration research and international relations, they aim to test, and make usable, theories of public administration for the analysis of international organisations.
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Christoph Knill, University of Munich)

Sphingolipids are important components of cell membranes, which also play a key role as activatable signal molecules from the membrane. The aim of the Research Unit Sphingolipid Dynamics in Infection Control, within the field of infection biology, is to study in detail the role of these molecules in interactions between host cells and pathogens and to investigate and comparatively characterise the activation and differentiation of T cells that they trigger. The Research Unit brings together virologists, immunologists, molecular biologists, microbiologists and organic chemists from the universities of Würzburg and Essen. They will focus on invasion mechanisms in infections with different pathogenic microorganisms and the role of sphingolipids in the T-cell response to bacterial and viral infection. The research team hopes that in the long term their results will contribute to new clinical treatments.
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Sibylle Schneider-Schaulies, University of Würzburg)

Further Information

Media contact:

  • DFG Press and Public Relations,
    Tel. +49228885-2443,

Further information will be provided by the spokespersons of the established units.

For information on the DFG Research Units and Clinical Research Units also see: