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Press Release No. 61 | 5 December 2019
DFG to Fund Seven New Research Units and One New Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Topics range from plant chemodiversity and plurality of pre-modern Christianity to the aerodynamics of aircraft / Total of approximately €27 million for first funding period

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is setting up seven Research Units and one Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The decision was made by the DFG’s Joint Committee at the recommendation of the Senate in Bonn. The new collaborations will receive a total of approximately €27 million including a 22 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs.

The maximum funding duration for Research Units for which the draft proposals were submitted after 1 October 2018 amounts to two periods of four years each. This applies to two of the newly established Research Units. Proposals based on drafts received before 1 October 2018 will be funded for two three-year periods. Centres for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences can be funded for two four-year periods as before.

In addition to the eight new groups, the Committee also approved extending eight Research Units, one Clinical Research Unit and two Centres for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences for a second funding period. Research Units enable researchers to pursue current and pressing issues in their research areas and to take innovative directions in their work. Clinical Research Units are also characterised by the close connection between research and clinical work. Centres for Advanced Studies are specifically tailored to the working methods used in the humanities and social sciences. With today’s decisions, the DFG is now funding 158 Research Units, 11 Clinical Research Units and 16 Centres for Advanced Studies.

The eight new research collaborations
(in alphabetical order by spokesperson's university)

Virulence refers to the severity of the damage that a pathogen inflicts upon its host. The Research Unit "Integrating Insect Immunity, Microbiota and Pathogens" intends to explore how the immune system of the host and its microbiota affects the very virulence of pathogens. To do this, the researchers will bring together the previously separately examined research fields of host-pathogen interactions, innate immunity and the evolution of bacterial resistance. This is to be studied in various insects that are crucial to the ecosystem and could also serve as a model in evolution biology and for human health. (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Jens Rolff, FU Berlin)

Many plant species have an astonishingly high degree of chemodiversity, both in different plants of the same species and within the individual plant. This chemodiversity can impact the food networks of a plant and ultimately biodiversity as a whole. The Research Unit "Ecology and Evolution of Intraspecific Chemodiversity in Plants" aims to gain a better understanding of chemodiversity, for example the extent to which it varies within individual plants, between individuals of a population and between populations. (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Caroline Müller, University of Bielefeld)

The Research Unit "Ultrasonic Monitoring of Fibre Metal Laminates Using Integrated Sensors" intends to research wave propagation in laminates with the aid of guided ultrasonic waves. In addition to examining the physical phenomena of wave propagation under complex environmental conditions, researchers will also consider their interaction with hidden damage, the recording of these interactions with microtechnical sensors at the site of the action and signal processing for full damage diagnosis. (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Sinapius, TU Braunschweig)

Previous research often projected the conditions of the 19th century with centralised large churches and the dominance of European Christianity back onto the past: Christianity was therefore usually seen as a unified and European entity. The Advanced Studies Centre now wants to take a closer look at the topic of "Polycentricity and Plurality of Pre-Modern Christianity". The researchers hope to gain new insights into Christianity and achieve a major shift in our view of the pre-modern era. (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Birgit Emich, Goethe University Frankfurt)

The Research Unit "Multifunctional, Coarse Grain Refractory Composite Materials for Key-Components in High temperature Applications" will focus on materials with high thermal and mechanical resistance. Taking coarse fireproof ceramics and coarse grain refractory metals as a basis, the researchers intend to create a new generation of composite materials that will facilitate new high-temperature applications. (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christos G. Aneziris, Technical University of Freiberg)

The discovery of autoantibodies that bind to antigens in the central nervous system and cause a number of neuropsychiatric diseases has resulted in a new research field being established. The Research Unit "Synaptic Pathology in Autoimmune Encephalitis - SYNABS" will dedicate itself to this field by bringing together clinical researchers and basic researchers in the fields of neurophysiology, neurobiology and neuroimmunology to jointly study antibody-mediated diseases of the central nervous system. The Research Unit is jointly funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF).
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Christian Geis, University of Jena)

Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases are relapsing disorders accompanied by inflammation and ulcers throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Medical research assumes that bowel inflammation is predominantly caused by an excessive immune response to environmental stimuli. However, the exact molecular causes have not been studied. The Research Unit "The Microbiome as a ‘Therapeutic Target in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases" will set out to change this and, in particular, investigate microbial changes in the intestinal microbiota of patients. (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Andre Franke, Kiel University)

The Research Unit "Unsteady Flow and Interaction Phenomena at High Speed Stall Conditions" aims to answer questions of flow physics pertaining to the aerodynamics of transport aircraft. Its predominant focus will be on what is known as high-speed stalls. This is where the formation of a shock wave, typical for the transonic speed range, causes a stall behind the shock wave. The Research Unit intends to take flow field measurements and study the physical mechanisms on an experimental basis. Some experiments are to be conducted in the European Transonic Wind Tunnel (ETW) with funding from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Helmholtz Association. (Spokesperson: Dr.-Ing. Thorsten Lutz, University of Stuttgart)

The eleven collaborations extended for a second funding period
(in alphabetical order by their spokesperson’s university, with links to project descriptions in GEPRIS, the DFG’s online database):

FOR "Space-Time Dynamics of Extreme Floods (SPATE)" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Andreas H. Schumann, Ruhr-University Bochum)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/278017089

FOR "Multi-Scale Analysis of Complex Three-Phase Systems" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Turek, TU Clausthal)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/276655287

FOR "Process-Oriented Tolerance Management with Virtual Validation Methods" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Sandro Wartzack, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/260682773

KFO "Virus-Induced Lung Injury: Pathobiology and Novel Therapeutic Strategies" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Werner Seeger, Leader: Prof. Dr. Susanne Herold, University of Giessen)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/284237345

FOR "Proteogenomics of Marine Polysaccharide Utilization (POMPU)" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Schweder, University of Greifswald)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/277249973

Kolleg-FOR "Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, beyond Modernities" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Monika Wohlrab-Sahr, University of Leipzig)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/270328456

FOR "Pemphigus - from Pathogenesis to Therapeutics (Pegasus)" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Michael Hertl, University of Marburg)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/289113135

FOR "Facilitation of Diagnostic Competences in Simulation-Based Learning Environments in Higher Education" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Frank Fischer, LMU Munich)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/274698440

FOR "Acoustic Sensor Networks" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reinhold Häb-Umbach, University of Paderborn)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/282835863

FOR "Exploring Articular Cartilage and Subchondral Bone Degeneration and Regeneration in Osteoarthritis (ExCarBon)" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Susanne Grässel, University of Regensburg)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/277277765

Kolleg-FOR "Words, Bones, Genes, Tools – Tracking Linguistic, Cultural and Biological Trajectories of the Human Past" (Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Jäger, University of Tübingen)
Externer Linkhttps://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/256951808

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