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Information for Researchers No. 06 | 4 February 2013
Priority Programme “Generation of Multifunctional Inorganic Materials by Molecular Bionics” (SPP 1569)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) supports a second two-year funding period of the Priority Programme (Schwerpunktprogramm, SPP) entitled ”Generation of Multifunctional Inorganic Materials by Molecular Bionics”. The programme is designed to run for six years.

Living nature provides impressive evolution-optimised processes, which lead to complex-structured biogenic minerals. Their formation occurs in aqueous environments at ambient conditions. During these genetically determined biomineralisation processes biopolymeric templates that control the mineralisation and the structure formation of the inorganic components play a main role. However, biological evolution does not supply biomineralisation routes that directly lead to the generation of technically needed inorganic functional materials.

The programme’s main scientific objective is to apply the principles of biomineralisation to the generation of complex-structured multifunctional inorganic materials.

To this end the programme addresses research work on

  • the in vitro and in vivo generation of such materials directed by biomolecule-based templates with a main focus on 2D and 3D structures,

  • the characterisation of the formation mechanisms as well as of the structure of the materials,

  • the investigation of the physical and chemical properties of the materials, and

  • computational modelling of the formation, structure and properties of the materials.

Projects should consider such biomineralising organisms that have preferentially been previously characterised to a level at which biological determinants for material synthesis, such as individual genes and proteins, have been already identified or/and which can be manipulated by genetic and biochemical techniques. Biomolecules for the in vitro generation of the materials shall be expressed by these organisms or further genetically manipulable systems, like bacteria, eukaryotes or viruses. Advanced in vivo studies also aim at the biomineralisation of inorganic functional materials within living organisms.

A detailed characterisation of the investigated systems and the synthesised materials is needed that aims at the achievement of a basic understanding and the control of the relevant material formation processes, the characterisation of the structure and in particular of the bioorganic/inorganic interfaces.

A key role within the programme is attributed to the optical, magnetic, electrical as well as mechanical properties of the prepared materials. In the projects the design of materials with preferentially multiple functional and/or structural properties shall be obtained by the combination of different inorganic materials as well as by the hybridisation of inorganic with organic components. The concept shall be demonstrated by means of materials with 2D and 3D structures.

A further main objective is the development and the application of advanced and novel atomistic modelling techniques in close cooperation with experimental investigations on the characterisation as well as on the properties of the materials obtained by molecular bionics.

It is expected that the proposals provide clear visionary aims.

The following items shall not be considered within the scope of the programme:

  • Classical in vitro and in vivo studies, which deal with the formation of pure natural biominerals.

  • Projects that are limited to pure non-biogenic synthesis of materials.

  • Biomedical approaches and implant materials.

Proposals need to cover the molecular bionic generation and structural characterisation of the prepared materials as well as their functional properties. Proposals combining experimental studies with the application of advanced atomistic modelling are welcome.

Also, proposals with a strong background in biology and proposals with a focus on mesoscopic properties are in particular welcome.

Resulting from experiences in the past evaluation round, the applicants are discouraged to submit bundled proposals (Paketanträge). Instead, joint proposals (Gemeinschaftsanträge) should be submitted. Proposals for the second two-year funding period can be submitted by 1 July 2013 through the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system “elan”. In this system please select “SPP 1569” when submitting your proposal. All proposals must be written in English.

The evaluation colloquium is scheduled to take place on 17 October 2013 in Stuttgart.

Further information

Proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Joachim Bill,
    Universität Stuttgart,
    Institut für Materialwissenschaft,
    3. Lehrstuhl, Heisenbergstraße 3,
    70569 Stuttgart,
    Phone +49 711 685-61945,
    Link auf E-Mailbill@imw.uni-stuttgart.de

For administrative enquiries please contact: