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Information for Researchers No. 21 | 22 April 2013
Priority Programme „Material Synthesis near Room Temperature” (SPP 1708)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the establishment of a new Priority Programme entitled “Material Synthesis near Room Temperature” (SPP 1708). The programme is scheduled to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

Chemical synthesis of materials is facing enormous challenges: Energy turnaround for sustainability requires completely new materials with outstanding properties on the one hand, while there is the imperative for resource-efficient use of raw materials and energy through more efficient production of well-known and already used materials on the other hand. Sustainable chemical processes must be conceived and developed, which are working at lower temperature, to allow for higher purity and yield and produce less waste.

A promising option is the use of ionic liquids (ILs) – organic salts that are liquid below 100 °C or, for some examples, even at room temperature – as unique reaction media. The features of these solvents can be widely adapted by variation of their chemical composition. Promising first results demonstrate that various inorganic materials (metals, alloys, semiconductors, hard materials, functional materials, etc.) can be produced in ILs near ambient conditions. Hence, this approach enables an enormous reduction of energy usage and technical effort compared to the so far applied high temperature processes. At the same time, chemical material syntheses become better controllable, also increasing the energy and resource efficiency. Syntheses in ILs also provide great opportunities to discover completely new low-temperature compounds with potentially outstanding and useful chemical and physical properties.

The SPP will bundle and coordinate efforts and competencies to promote the scientific and technological development of the IL-based synthesis of inorganic materials. Explorative synthetic chemistry, physicochemical studies on dissolution and precipitation processes in ILs, as well as the theoretical modelling of these processes will be subject of the research programme. Alternative approaches for low-temperature syntheses, such as the use of other solvents or application to predominantly organic materials, are not in the focus of the SPP. Proposals must clearly demonstrate the irreplaceable benefits of the use of ILs for the synthesis (such as purity, yield, energy efficiency, savings of raw materials) or for the product characteristics. Efforts regarding materials synthesis that can be performed without substantial disadvantages via alternative approaches will not be considered. Proposals on the development of new ILs or their characterisation are not encouraged and will only be accepted in direct connection with an essential material synthesis task of the SPP. The formation of consortia of two to three principal investigators (PIs) of complementary expertise concentrating on a specific subject is encouraged. Significant previous work on the subject is expected. In order to allow maximum diversity within the SPP, a principal investigator should only contribute to one proposal.

Proposals for the first three-year funding period can be submitted by 2 September 2013 (deadline) through the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system “elan”. In this system please select the SPP “Material Synthesis near Room Temperature” when submitting your proposal. All proposals must be written in English according to the DFG Proposal Preparation Instructions (DFG Form 54.01). A title page with your name, your address, and the title of your project should be included. Please study carefully the new publication rules set by the DFG.

The responsibilities assigned to each scientific co-worker should be evident from the work programme within the proposal, specifically the tasks to be completed by PhD students or postdocs. In the case of joint proposals, the assignment of requested funds to the individual PIs should also be evident.

Please, send a copy of the summary of the proposal by electronic mail to the coordinator’s secretary, Mrs. Ilona Salzmann, ilona.salzmann@tu-dresden.de.

The review will be held during a proposal colloquium scheduled between late November and the beginning of December 2013.

Further information

The DFG’s electronic portal "elan" with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

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

  • Professor Dr. Michael Ruck,
    Fachrichtung Chemie und Lebensmittelchemie,
    Technische Universität Dresden,
    01062 Dresden,
    phone: +49 351 463-33244,
    fax: +49 351 463-37287,

For administrative enquiries please contact: