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News | 2010

IV. Quarter 2010

“MenschMikrobe” Exhibition Continues its Tour

(17.12.10) The travelling exhibition organised by the DFG and the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), “Humans and Microbes – Robert Koch's Legacy and Modern Infection Research“, has already proved to be a visitor magnet during its very first year. At its three ports of call (Berlin, Bonn and Würzburg) during 2010, the exhibition attracted more than 36,000 visitors. It is scheduled to visit Münster, Hamburg and Munich during 2011.

Marketing for Top-Level Research Made in Germany

(14.12.10) Four major German research and funding organisations have developed a joint marketing strategy to increase the international visibility of their country’s top-level research. In a pilot project - funded by the German Ministry of Education and Research - the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service, the DFG and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will advertise Germany, both nationally and internationally, as a research location and raise its profile in the global science market.

DFG Imposes Sanctions for Scientific Misconduct

(03.12.10) The DFG is once again imposing sanctions for scientific misconduct on DFG-funded researchers. The Joint Committee decided to take measures against four researchers in accordance with the DFG’s procedure for handling cases of scientific misconduct. In all four cases, a “written reprimand” was issued. In two of the four cases, the researchers have also been prohibited from submitting proposals to the DFG for periods of three and five years.

Four New DFG Research Units

(03.12.10) The DFG is establishing four new Research Units. They will enable researchers to explore prevailing topical questions and generate new approaches in their respective fields. Like all DFG-funded Research Units, these new location-independent centers will operate interdisciplinarily. Their research will focus on acute kidney injury, little understood learning processes, titanium and titanium alloys, and microorganisms separating organic compounds. In the coming three years, the new centers will receive approximately €9.3 million. There are 217 DFG-funded Research Units in total.

Leibniz Prize 2011: Ten Researchers Awarded €2.5 Million Each

(02.12.10) The winners of Germany's most prestigious research award have been officially announced. At its meeting in Bonn today, the DFG Joint Committee named ten researchers, four women and six men, as the winners of the 2011 Leibniz Prize. The award winners were selected by the Nominations Committee from among 152 nominees, and will each receive €2.5 million in prize money. Of the ten new Leibniz Prizes awarded this year, four were awarded in the life sciences, three in the natural sciences, two in engineering sciences, and one in the humanities and social sciences. The Prizes will be awarded in Berlin on 16 March 2011.

DFG Research Centre “Molecular Physiology of the Brain” Extended by Four Years

(02.12.10) After two successful funding periods, the DFG Research Centre “Molecular Physiology of the Brain” (CMPB) at the University of Göttingen has been extended and will now receive funding for a further four years. This decision was taken by the Joint Committee of the DFG in Bonn. The funding will enable the CMPB, which was established in 2002, to continue its work until 30 September 2014. During this third funding period, it will receive a good € 23 million in funding. The CMPB is investigating fundamental processes and interactions in the nerve cells of the brain and is, in the reviewers’ opinions, “internationally visible at the highest level”.

DFG Establishes Ten New Research Training Groups

(29.11.10) In order to further strengthen early career research, the DFG is establishing ten new Research Training Groups (RTGs). This decision has just been taken by the relevant Grants Committee in Bonn. The new Research Training Groups will also provide doctoral researchers the opportunity to achieve their doctorates within a structured research and qualification programme at a high level of subject-specific expertise. The new RTGs will receive funding of almost € 30 million for the first four-and-a-half-year funding period. In addition, 25 Research Training Groups received renewal approval. The DFG currently funds 215 Research Training Groups, 54 of which are International RTGs.

DFG to Establish Eleven New Collaborative Research Centres

(17.11.10) The DFG will establish eleven new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) as of 1 January 2011. This decision was made recently by the responsible Grants Committee at its autumn meeting in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive a total of € 94.4 million (including a 20 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs) for an initial funding period of four years. Additionally, 15 CRCs were extended for another four-year funding period. As of January 2011, the DFG will thus be funding a total of 238 CRCs.

DFG Awards 100th Heisenberg Professorship

(11.11.10) The DFG’s Heisenberg Professorship offers the prospect of unlimited professorship to outstanding early career researchers. It also offers their universities new ways to sharpen their scientific profiles. Named after the physicist, Werner von Heisenberg (1901-1976) who became a professor at the young age of 26 and was honoured with the Nobel Prize at the age of 32, it was introduced at the end of 2005 as a further development of the successful Heisenberg Programme. Now, just five years later, the DFG has awarded its 100th Heisenberg Professorship.

Stable, Reliable and Sustainable

(25.10.10) It was a great occasion, one the guests had travelled from near and far to attend. The Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (CDZ) in Beijing was commemorating its 10-year anniversary. In his welcome address to around 200 invited guests, the President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), Professor Matthias Kleiner, used the German metaphor of the “rose wedding anniversary” to describe the event, likening it to a celebration of ten years of marriage involving guests who are special to the married couple.

Digital Libraries of the Future One Step Closer

(15.10.10) Researchers at German universities and research institutes will enjoy unrestricted access to a significantly larger range of digital information resources in future. The acquisition of national licenses will provide researchers with free access to a further twenty-one major databases, journal archives and e-book collections. In a recent decision by the Joint Committee, the DFG has allotted over €5.4 million for the acquisition of nationwide digital content rights.

The Sino-German Center for Research Promotion Celebrates its Anniversary

(15.10.10) On 19 October 2010, the DFG and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) will celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the founding of the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (CDZ) in Beijing. To mark the anniversary, a 40-page brochure has been published. It commemorates the work of the Center and provides generally-accessible descriptions of some of the collaborative research projects carried out to date. The brochure so far only exists in German, it will come out in English early November.

Four New DFG Research Units

(14.10.10) The DFG is establishing four new Research Units to facilitate cross-regional, interdisciplinary cooperation among researchers. This decision was taken by the DFG Senate at its autumn meeting in Bonn. Among other goals, the newly-established Research Units aim to develop new methods for surgical interventions on the skull, as well as to extract natural products for cancer research from myxobacteria.

New German-Japanese Collaboration in the Neurosciences

(11.10.10) The DFG and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) are expanding their collaboration to encompass a particularly promising area of research. With assistance from the two funding organisations and the German Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF), researchers from Germany and Japan will carry out joint projects in the field of computational neuroscience. The agreement was signed during the international “Science and Technology in Society” forum in Kyoto, Japan.

DFG Opens Call for Proposals for New Research Centre on Biodiversity Research

(08.10.10) The DFG aims to increase the knowledge of our natural resources. At its autumn meeting in Bonn, the DFG's Joint Committee resolved to issue an announcement for a DFG Research Centre on "Integrative Biodiversity Research". This is to be established by October 2012. The new centre will be the seventh DFG Research Centre and, like the others, is to serve as a strategic funding instrument on important topics for establishing internationally visible and competitive research institutions at German universities.

2010 Albert Maucher Prize Awarded to Potsdam Palaeoclimatologist

(07.10.10) Professor Ulrike Herzschuh will be awarded the Albert Maucher Prize in Geoscience on 10 October 2010. Herzschuh, who is a junior professor at both the Alfred Wegener Institute Potsdam (AWI) and the University of Potsdam, was selected for her excellent research in various DFG-funded projects. The prize, worth €10,000, was donated by Munich geologist Albert Maucher, who himself received DFG funding at the beginning of his scientific research career.

DFG Awards Four Young Scientists the 2010 Bernd Rendel Prize

(07.10.10) Four young female geoscientists have been selected to receive the DFG’s 2010 Bernd Rendel Prize. The researchers have made significant and original contributions to geological basic research at early stages in their careers. The Bernd Rendel Prize features prize money of €2,000 and is designed to enable the recipients to take part in international conferences and conventions.

“Jugend forscht” Contestants Win Prizes in Lisbon

(07.10.10) At the 22nd European Union Contest for Young Scientists (EUCYS) in Lisbon this week, two second-place prizes and two special prizes were awarded to four young German researchers.


III. Quarter 2010

New Approaches for Collaboration Between Science and Industry

(28.09.10) The DFG has signed a cooperation agreement with software manufacturer SAP AG. Within the scope of this agreement, universities can conduct DFG-funded research projects together with SAP. This collaboration is intended to support emerging talent in science and industry and facilitate research activities on both sides through the mutual use of resources. The agreements just signed will also serve as a model for collaborations between businesses from other branches of industry and universities.

Excellence Initiative: 227 Draft Proposals for New Projects

(03.09.10) Universities across Germany have submitted their draft proposals for new projects and institutions in the second phase of the competition for funding of top-level research. By the 1 September deadline, the DFG has received 227 draft proposals — 98 for graduate schools, 107 for clusters of excellence, and 22 for institutional strategies to promote top-level research. These first-time proposals were submitted by 65 German universities. All major disciplines — life sciences, natural sciences, engineering sciences, as well as the humanities and social sciences — are represented about equally. The draft proposals will now be reviewed until January 2011. In March 2011 it will be decided which of them will compete in the final round against institutions already being funded.

20 Years of Research Training Groups

(01.09.10) A successful model turns twenty: In September 1990 the first DFG Research Training Groups for the promotion of early career researchers took up their work. Since then, about 20,000 researchers have successfully completed their doctorates in RTGs, which for many of them became stepping stones to careers within science and the humanities or outside them. The evolution of Research Training Groups is also highlighted in a newly published anniversary brochure in which exemplary projects are presented and various participants share their experience.

Current List of MAK and BAT Values Presented

(28.07.10) The DFG Senate Commission for the Investigation of Health Hazards of Chemical Compounds in the Work Area has submitted the 2010 list of MAK and BAT values containing data on 61 substances. These values for the classification of health hazards constituted by work area substances have been adapted this year. Furthermore, the categories that describe whether substances are carcinogenic have been formulated more clearly. The MAK and BAT values list was presented to the Federal Ministry for Labour and Social Affairs as every year.

Six New Research Units Established

(19.07.10) The DFG is setting up six additional Research Units to facilitate transregional and interdisciplinary cooperation among researchers. This decision was taken by the DFG’s Senate at its summer session in Berlin. The new networks are intended to provide researchers with the opportunity to address current and urgent issues within their fields and to develop new methods for tackling them. During the first funding period, the new Research Units will receive a total of 15.3 million euros in funding over a three-year period (for DFG-Research Colleges, a four-year period). This brings the total number of DFG-funded Research Units to 215.

DFG Aims to Strengthen Knowledge Transfer

(16.07.10) The DFG aims to strengthen knowledge transfer and thus to achieve closer dialogue between basic and applied research. This was announced by DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner on Thursday, 8 July 2010 at the annual press conference of the DFG in Berlin. “Basic research will continue to form the focus of our activities. We do, however, want to do more to ensure that the discoveries and knowledge resulting from projects funded by us become even more effective”, Kleiner emphasised. He explained that this can lead to increased economic and social innovation, as well as new research questions and approaches.

Polishing Profiles, Adding Impetus

(13.07.10) In order to be fit for the future, the research landscape needs a distinctive and clearly defined profile and continuing impetus. The approximately 300 pages of the new annual report published by Germany’s central research funding organisation demonstrates clearly the DFG’s strong commitment to this principle. This report was presented by the DFG on Thursday, 8 July 2010, at its annual press conference in Berlin. Featuring the DFG’s new corporate design for the first time, the 2009 Annual Report devotes equal space to showcasing the funding organisation’s strategic activities and innovations and presenting exemplary research projects.

Peter Funke Is New DFG Vice President

(07.07.10) The DFG has a new Vice President: On 7 July 2010, Münster professor of ancient history Peter Funke was selected by the DFG’s General Assembly in Berlin to join the Executive Committee of Germany’s central research funding organisation. In doing so, Funke will take over the role of vice president from the Frankfurt expert on early modern history, Professor Luise Schorn-Schütte, who is stepping down from office at the end of her 6-year term. Vice Presidents Professor Konrad Samwer, Professor Bernd Scholz-Reiter, Professor Ferdi Schüth and Professor Dorothea Wagner were re-elected for a second three-year term in office.


II. Quarter 2010

Kickoff meeting as part of the DFG’s “Africa Initiative“

(18.06.10) From 20-22 June, around 100 researchers will meet in Berlin for the first conference held as part of the "Africa Initiative" launched by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation). The initiative brings together African and German researchers to discuss the topic of “Neglected Diseases”. These researchers will be working together in cooperation projects aimed at resolving urgent issues in infection biology. In funding these projects, the DFG aims to advance the fight against diseases of poverty, and involving researchers from the countries affected is a key component.

DFG Establishes Twelve New Research Training Groups

(01.06.10) To further enhance the promotion of young researchers in Germany, the DFG has established twelve new Research Training Groups. This decision was made by the DFG’s relevant Grants Committee in Bonn. The new Research Training Groups will enable doctoral researchers to complete their training at a highly specialised level within a structured research and qualification programme. The DFG will provide approximately €45 million during the initial 4.5-year funding period. The Grants Committee also approved the continuation of 19 existing Research Training Groups.

DFG Approves Twelve New Collaborative Research Centres

(19.05.2010) The DFG has approved the establishment of twelve new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) beginning 1 July 2010. This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee at its spring meeting in Bonn. The new CRCs will initially be funded for four years with a total of €112 million (including a 20% programme allowance for indirect project costs). Five of the new groups are CRC/Transregios (TR) that will be distributed across several research locations including a cross-frontier cooperation with the Netherlands. The Grants Committee also agreed to extend eleven CRCs for a second four-year funding period.

DFG Establishes 13 New Priority Programmes

(05.05.2010) How rational are human thoughts and actions and what can philosophy and psychology contribute towards understanding them? Why can parasites exist in the host cells of an organism that are actually there to destroy them? What does the inside of an “interstellar medium” look like? How can building structures made from modern high-performance concrete be designed and constructed more easily? How are “self-healing materials” developed and deployed? How can computers “learn autonomously”? These are some of the questions that will be examined over the coming years in the 13 new DFG Priority Programmes. They will commence in early 2011 and are intended to network current scientific know-how in and beyond Germany in particularly topical or emerging research areas.

Nine New DFG Research Units Established

(03.05.2010) The DFG is setting up nine new Research Units to facilitate transregional and interdisciplinary cooperation between researchers. The new networks have been established in all areas of science and the humanities and are intended to provide researchers with the opportunity to address current and urgent issues within their fields and to develop new approaches to these. Universities from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria and France are involved in three of the groups. During the first three-year funding period, the new Research Units will receive €23.9 million.

DFG Funds Research Centre "Matheon" for Another Four Years

(30.04.2010) The DFG Research Centre "Matheon: Mathematics for key technologies" in Berlin will receive funding for another four years with a total of approximately €27 million. The research centre, established in 2002, was again convincing in its second project-renewal review with its scientific accomplishments and attractive environment for mathematicians. Furthermore, with its extensive school and public relations work, Matheon helps to shape mathematics as a modern and exciting scientific discipline.

Copernicus Award 2010 for German-Polish Cooperation in Physics

(16.04.2010) For their achievements in promoting German-Polish cooperation in science, Professor Dr. Alfred Forchel from Würzburg and Professor Dr. Jan Misiewicz from Wrocław, both physicists, will receive the Copernicus Award of the DFG and the Foundation for Polish Science (FNP). Through their many years of joint collaboration, the two researchers have strengthened research cooperation between the two countries in a sustainable way. The Copernicus Award is worth €100,000 and will be presented on 10 May 2010 in Berlin by the presidents of the DFG and FNP.

Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes 2010

(06.04.2010) Six young researchers, two women and four men, have been awarded this year’s Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Prizes. The relevant selection committee has now chosen the 2010 recipients of Germany’s most prestigious award for young scientists. The prizes, each of which includes a 16,000-euro grant, will be presented in Bonn on 20th May.

Communicator Award 2010 goes to Hanns Hatt

(06.04.2010) The cell physiologist and smell researcher Hanns Hatt receives the Communicator Prize for 2010. The award recognises the professor at Bochum’s Ruhr University for his many years of outstanding communication of his research into the human and animal senses of smell. The Communicator Award is given jointly by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany (Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft) and includes prize money of 50,000 euros. It is considered Germany’s most prestigious award for the communication of scientific findings to the public.


I. Quarter 2010

The Excellence Initiative by the German Federal and State Governments

(12.03.2010) The Excellence Initiative aims to promote top-level research and raise the quality level of science and academia in Germany at large. In doing so, it further strengthens Germany as a research location for the long term, improves its international competitiveness and adds visibility to peak achievements in research and academia. 

Following agreement of the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments in 2005, the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities have been entrusted with jointly carrying out the programme.

DFG Establishes Ten New Research Units

(11.02.2010) With its ten new Research Units, the DFG is intensifying interdisciplinary and multiple-location collaboration among researchers pursuing specific scientific questions and new avenues of research. The DFG Senate approved the establishment of the units. The grants also include three Japanese-German Research Units for the first time. Grants were made in the fields of natural and life sciences and engineering. The Research Units will receive funding of approximately €22 million for an initial three-year funding period.

Multilateral Research Funding

(01.02.2010) Beginning immediately, researchers from the G8 nations can jointly initiate research projects and obtain the necessary funding within the scope of a new funding initiative. Under the leadership of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the G8 Heads of Research Councils (G8 HORCs) have started the first multilateral call for proposals. This call addresses exascale computing, the fastest supercomputers of the next generation. Researchers from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the USA are eligible to apply.

Strengthening the Universities

(21.01.2010) At the DFG’s New Year’s reception in Berlin and in a series of talks on science policy, DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner emphasised that strengthening the universities was a major task facing the DFG during the current year. He also highlighted the fact that top-level research and teaching are inseparable.

DFG Relaunches www.dfg.de

(19.01.2010) The DFG has unveiled its new updated website. At www.dfg.de, journalists and members of the general public interested in science and research will find new content and a number of new functions. The newly established DFG Magazine provides information on DFG-funded research and research policy. In addition, the revised website now offers direct access to funding information, which will especially benefit applicants and research institutions. Speaking in regard to the presentation of the new website at the DFG's New Year's reception in Berlin, DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner said: "The website offers a more streamlined structure that is aligned with our target and reference groups and features the new corporate design of the DFG."


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