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Press Release No. 58 | 25 November 2019
DFG to Fund Ten New Collaborative Research Centres

Topics range from digital manufacturing technologies and human-machine interactions to the central nervous system / €101 million in funding for an initial four-year period

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is establishing ten new Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) to further support top-level research in German universities. This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive a total of approximately €101 million in funding for an initial four-year period starting on 1 January 2020. This includes a 22 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs. Three of the new networks set up are Transregio CRCs, spread across multiple applicant universities.

In addition to the establishment of the ten new groups, the Grants Committee also approved the extension of 15 existing CRCs for an additional funding period, including five Transregio CRCs. Collaborative Research Centres allow researchers to tackle innovative, challenging, complex and long-term research projects as a group, and hence support the further development of core areas and structures at the applicant universities. CRCs are funded for a maximum of twelve years. From January 2020, the DFG will be funding a total of 275 CRCs.

The ten new Collaborative Research Centres in detail
(in alphabetical order by their host universities, including the names of spokespersons and the other applicant universities):

The CRC "Structural and Chemical Atomic Complexity: From Defect Phase Diagrams to Material Properties" aims to establish a link between two currently separate aspects of material research which have previously been used to manufacture tailor-made materials. Firstly, the thermodynamic description of crystalline phases and, secondly, the examination and manipulation of crystal defects, which can determine the strength, malleability and corrosion of materials. By combining different methods, the CRC intends to explore the structural and chemical complexity of materials. This could lay the foundation for the development of new material design concepts. (RWTH Aachen University, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Sandra Korte-Kerzel)

Competent spokespersons are able to adapt their use of language to the situation at hand – this is referred to as knowledge of register in linguistics. However, knowledge of register must be considered together with grammatical knowledge in order to adequately depict the use of language. This is the research task that the CRC "Register: Language-Users’ Knowledge of Situational-Functional Variation" will undertake for different languages and language levels. (HU Berlin, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Anke Lüdeling)

"Additive Manufacturing in Construction (AMC) - The Challenge of Large Scale" is the title under which the CRC/Transregio is studying new digital manufacturing technologies for the construction of buildings. In additive manufacturing, components are produced layer by layer in a process that is entirely digitally controlled, without relying on traditional, predominantly manual construction techniques. With the help of basic research on materials, process engineering, controlling, modelling, design and construction, the CRC/Transregio aims to advance automated additive manufacturing in construction and, in doing so, facilitate a more resource-efficient use of materials. (TU Braunschweig; Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald Kloft; Additional applicant university: TU Munich)

More and more digital devices are being worn directly on the body, such as smart prosthetics, exoskeletons and VR glasses. These "embodied technologies" form what are known as hybrid societies with self-driving vehicles, robots and drones on the one hand and humans on the other hand. The CRC "Hybrid Societies: Humans Interacting with Embodied Technologies" intends to help improve the interaction between humans and machines and, to this end, analyse and coordinate human skills and technological potential. (TU Chemnitz, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Georg Jahn)

The aim of the CRC/Transregio "Hysteresis design of magnetic materials for efficient energy conversion: HoMMage" is to develop new permanent magnetic and magnetocaloric materials, which are more efficient and save more resources than previous materials and can be used close to their physical limit. Such new magnetic materials could be used in energy technologies, such as wind power, electric mobility and magnetic cooling, in the future. (TU Darmstadt, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Oliver Gutfleisch; Additional applicant university: University of Duisburg-Essen)

The CRC "Design of particulate products" is dedicated to basic research on the production of nanoparticles with special properties. The participating researchers intend to make breakthroughs in the production of optically active nanoparticles. To do this, they will use synthesis and separation processes and mathematical modelling of such. (Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Peukert)

Oxygen is generally present in production processes in the metalworking industry, even though it causes the metal surfaces to oxidise. By contrast, production in a completely oxygen-free atmosphere would have considerable technical, financial and resource-related advantages. The CRC "Oxygen-free production - processes and local mechanisms in oxygen-free atmosphere for the development of sustainable production techniques and manufacturing processes" will therefore research oxygen-free production processes. (University of Hannover, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans Jürgen Maier)

The CRC "Cell Death in Immunity, Inflammation and Disease" aims to study the regulation mechanisms as well as the functional and physiological consequences of different types of cell death. The focus will be on immunity, inflammation and host-pathogen interaction. The cells of humans and animals as well as those of plants will be studied to enable the two fields to enrich one another. (University of Cologne, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Manolis Pasparakis)

The researchers from the fields of biochemistry and structural biology, chemical biology, molecular pharmacology and bioinformatics intend to join forces to study membrane proteins that play a key role in virtually all physiological processes in eukaryotes. These G protein-coupled receptors are among the key target molecules for pharmaceutical drug development. The CRC "Structural Dynamics of GPCR Activation and Signaling" aims to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the molecular processes under way during signal transmission. (University of Leipzig, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Annette G. Beck-Sickinger)

The central nervous system is particularly vulnerable to injury, which can also be reversed. However, how the recovery of tissue is regulated is still largely unknown. This is where the CRC/Transregio "Checkpoints of Central Nervous System Recovery" comes in: the group intends to define the control points that regulate the structural and functional recovery of the injured nerve tissue. New treatments will then be derived from the findings. (Technical University of Munich, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Mikael Jakob Simons; Additional applicant university: University of Göttingen, LMU Munich)

The 15 CRCs extended for a further funding period
(in alphabetical order by their host universities, including the names of spokespersons and additional applicant universities, with reference to project descriptions in the DFG online database GEPRIS):

Further Information

Media contact:

Further information will also be provided by the spokespersons of the Collaborative Research Centres.

Contact at DFG Head Office:

More details about the funding programme and the funded Collaborative Research Centres are available at: