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Press Release No. 9 | 13 March 2012
Launch of DFG Exhibition “Von der Idee zur Erkenntnis” at the German Bundestag

Ten Projects Illustrate the Creativity and Potential of Individual Research

How does research trigger new discoveries? How do ideas become research projects and eventually turn into knowledge, which shapes our daily lives and our world and which drives research? As part of the travelling exhibition “Von der Idee zur Erkenntnis” (“From an Idea to Discovery”), the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is showcasing ten research projects funded through its individual grants programme. These illustrate the variety of current research topics and the creative solutions pursued by individual researchers. The exhibition was opened today, Tuesday, 6 March, by the President of the Bundestag, Professor Norbert Lammert, at the Paul-Löbe-Haus of the German Bundestag. It will remain on display there until the end of March, when it will begin a tour of the German states.

With this exhibition, the DFG aims to underscore the capabilities and achievements of individual research. With approximately 20,000 projects funded annually, accounting for ca. 35% of the funding budget, individual grants make up the single largest item in the DFG’s programme portfolio. These projects are, therefore, highly significant, not only for the further development of research, but also for the universities involved. In the public perception, however, smaller research projects carried out by individual researchers often receive less attention than larger collaborative projects such as the Priority Programmes and Collaborative Research Centres. “With this exhibition, the DFG wants to help increase awareness of the creativity and potential of individual grants,” emphasised DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner in his welcome address at the opening ceremony.

The projects showcased cover very different scientific areas, and serve as examples of the many outstanding research projects which are supported by individual grants from the DFG. Their topics range from new medical diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, to world-leading research on nanomechanics, to studies on the future of representative democracy.

The interactive exhibition helps visitors experience how an observation, an initial idea or a question becomes a research project. They also see the paths researchers take on their way to making their discoveries and the potential effects researchers’ work could have on science and society. The exhibition also introduces the people behind the projects, showcasing the researchers and their teams and enabling them to describe their work and future plans.

Representing them, the Frankfurt-based social scientist Professor Sigrid Roßteutscher emphasised the courage that both the DFG and the project teams involved demonstrated by participating in the exhibition: “The DFG has shown courage in that it has not used this exhibition as a way to commemorate its achievements. The organisation could have mentioned the number of projects funded or the number of Nobel laureates who previously received DFG funding. Instead, its success is reflected in the individual projects it currently funds. We, too, however, have been courageous. Working closely with an advertising and exhibition agency was a completely new challenge for all of us, and we are delighted to see how well the complex relationships in our research have been represented in this multifaceted exhibition.” Together with three colleagues, Roßteutscher heads a major electoral study, which is also featured in the exhibition.

After being displayed in the German Bundestag, the exhibition will go on tour of the German states, beginning at the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony in April.

Further Information

The exhibition will run from 7 March to 30 March 2012 in the Paul-Löbe-Haus (West Entrance) at Konrad-Adenauer-Straße 1, in Berlin-Mitte.

Due to the German Bundestag’s entry restrictions, the exhibition may be viewed by appointment only. Opening times are 11am and 2pm Monday to Thursday, and 11am on Friday.

Register by phone:

Detailed information on the exhibition can be found at:

Contact person at the DFG Head Office: