Information for Researchers, No. 12 | February 5, 2024

Priority Programme “Machine Learning in Chemical Engineering. Knowledge Meets Data: Interpretability, Extrapolation, Reliability, Trust” (SPP 2331)

In 2020, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Machine Learning in Chemical Engineering. Knowledge Meets Data: Interpretability, Extrapolation, Reliability, Trust” (SPP 2331). The programme brings together the chemical engineering (CE) and machine learning (ML) communities. By teaming chemical engineers with mathematicians and/or computer scientists, progress in all disciplines has been achieved over the first funding period of three years. The programme is designed to run for six years.

The present call invites proposals for the second three-year funding period starting in early 2025. Both continuation projects as well as new project proposals are highly encouraged. Each proposal must operate at the interface of CE and ML and have at least two applicants with corresponding expertise. The projects shall consider at least one of six scientific challenges: #1 optimal decision making, #2 introducing / enforcing physical laws in ML models, #3 heterogeneity of data, #4 information and knowledge representation, #5 safety and trust in ML applications and #6 creativity. The projects will be organised in a matrix between the areas of CE and the ML tasks. Data, models and methods will be shared among all participants of the programme on an internal platform. The organisation matrix and further information can be found on the homepage of the Priority Programme (see below).

The projects are expected to open up new methods for CE, formulate new types of problems for ML and jointly generate advances for methods in both ML and CE. Since ML has been used within CE for several years and substantial progress was made within the SPP 2331, projects shall go well beyond this state of the art. Under the umbrella of the six scientific challenges, the collaborative projects shall have promise for progress in process synthesis (especially regarding feedstock transformation), process flexibility, material selection, generation of alternatives and uncovering hidden information. Projects should address at least one CE area and one ML area, and clearly state how it will achieve progress in at least one of the challenges #1 to #6. Projects investigating and comparing different methods from ML for the same field of the collaboration matrix are particularly encouraged. Similarly, projects are encouraged where outcomes are transferable between the CE areas. Projects focusing on the phenomena and unit operation level should illustrate their implications on the process level.  

The focus of the SPP 2331 projects shall be on the field of fluid processes with or without chemical reactions. Examples or products from other fields could be included in case the fluid process remains the focus. Reflecting the scientific challenges and needs of fluid processes, relatively broad CE methods are allowed, ranging from molecular modelling, thermodynamic calculations, reactor development and the prediction of fluid properties up to methods dedicated to operation, synthesis and design of whole processes (including control and optimisation, uncertainty quantification and optimal experimental design). Projects may be purely computational and/or have ML methods directly applied on experimental CE. Topics reaching beyond this scope may be included, provided they contain sufficient work on the methods above.

To exchange research ideas and plan potential collaborations for the second phase of the SPP 2331, we will organise an optional networking meeting. Applicants that have not participated in the first phase are particularly welcome to join. The meeting will include a poster session, for which we ask each project to prepare one poster about the research of the participating labs. We also encourage adding information about the planned project to the poster. Projects can be represented by PIs and/or scientific staff (e.g. doctoral researchers). Please find further information below:

  • Date: 24 April 2024
  • Time: 9 am to 1 pm 
  • Location: Aachen, Germany

Please register for the networking event until 1 April 2024 by sending an email to the below mentioned email address that contains the following information:

  • Number of participating persons of your project in the networking event
  • Preliminary information on your planned project:
    • Applicants / PIs 
    • Title 
    • Short description (max. 50 words)

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about the networking event.

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 4 June 2024. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. 

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 21 May 2024 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process. 

If you wish to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 2331” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal. 

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (DFG form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (DFG form 54.01). These forms can either be down-loaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. 

The review colloquium for the Priority Programme will be held on 19/20 September 2024 in Aachen.

The DFG strongly welcomes proposals from researchers of all genders and sexual identities, from different ethnic, cultural, religious, ideological or social backgrounds, from different career stages, types of universities and research institutions, and with disabilities or chronic illness. With regard to the subject-specific focus of this call, the DFG encourages female researchers in particular to submit proposals.

Further Information

Email address to register for the networking event:

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries, please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

  • Professor Alexander Mitsos
    Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen
    Fakultät für Maschinenwesen
    Aachener Verfahrenstechnik – Systemverfahrenstechnik (SVT)
    Forckenbeckstraße 51
    52074 Aachen
    phone +49 241 8094704

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact: 

Administrative contact: