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Press Release No. 6 | 9 March 2020
DFG Awards Eight Prizes in International Research Marketing Ideas Competition

Strong focus on networking and early career researchers / Awards ceremony to take place on 19 May 2020 in Berlin

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the winning proposals in the International Research Marketing ideas competition. Awards will go to eight institutions. The University of Freiburg will receive prize money of €100,000 and seven institutions will each be awarded €25,000 for pilot or smaller scale projects: the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM), Berlin; the Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg; the Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF), Frankfurt am Main; the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (MPIE), Düsseldorf; the University of Siegen; the Deggendorf Institute of Technology and the University of Münster.

A jury of experts in international research cooperation, communication and marketing as well as research management was especially impressed by how well the projects were tailored to the individual institutions, their fit with their institution’s international strategy and their exemplary nature. The awards ceremony will be held during the BMBF Forum Research in Germany on 19 May 2020 in Berlin.

The project developed by the University of Freiburg entitled Freiburg Rising Stars Academy is aimed at promoting networking between its researchers and highly qualified international doctoral researchers and postdocs. This is expected to improve the visibility of the university’s eight research fields in the international research environment. The project is divided into three modules: the Rising Stars Conference, initially a virtual and later a physical discussion space for interdisciplinary research questions, the Rising Star Residence programme, a research visit for winners of a competition, and the Connection Rising Stars platform for the organisation of alumni activities.

The proposal by the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM), Berlin, plans to create a knowledge-based communication platform and a blog centred around the topic of electronic packaging. In addition to facilitating access to scientific topics oriented towards applied research, the platform will also promote digital collaboration between top researchers all around the world.

The Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg aims to attract students from all over the world in the field of digital health to engage in doctoral research. Six selected applicants will be able to live for free for one year, with their semester fees also covered during that time. Language courses, a buddy programme and regular communication with university heads have also been planned. The doctoral researchers will vlog about their life in Germany and their research on Instagram and they will be given special communication training for this in parallel to the project.

The Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education (DIPF), Frankfurt am Main, is looking for international early career researchers to take part in a three-month research visit. Applicants are expected to start networking with the DIPF beforehand. The DIPF intends to make its infrastructure, laboratory space and intensive advisory and mentoring services available during the visit. The aim is to compile a joint publication.

The research marketing project developed by the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (MPIE), Düsseldorf, is also geared towards talented early career researchers. They will be recruited during guest events held at seven top European universities. At an additional lunchtime seminar on a pre-arranged research topic, travel awards with prize money of over €1,000 will be conferred at each location to enable outstanding doctoral researchers to present their research at MPIE.

The University of Siegen plans to set up a temporary pop-up branch office on the campus of its partner university, the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma, USA. The temporary branch will hold workshops, sessions and science slams. It will have an interdisciplinary focus and cover the priority areas of the university. This is expected to provide fresh impetus for the partnership with Tulsa and strengthen the university’s branding and international visibility.

The Deggendorf Institute of Technology intends to invite early career researchers in the field of artificial intelligence to take part in an interdisciplinary discussion forum, an “AI clash”. Topics such as the socio-economic impact of introducing machine learning in the fields of autonomous driving/electromobility, automation and health technologies are to be discussed on this forum. Workshops on design thinking have also been planned.

The project designed by the University of Münster focuses on peace research. Negotiations aimed at ending the Thirty Years' War were held in Münster in the 17th century. Against this background, the city hopes to establish itself as a peacetime location at the international level and recruit excellent early career researchers working in the field of peace and conflict research by offering attractive funding programmes. The university also intends to collaborate with municipal marketing and organise a Day of Peace in the city.

The eight winning projects are expected to help enhance the visibility and appeal of German research locations at the international level and attract highly qualified researchers, either to participate in collaborative projects with German researchers or to visit Germany for research purposes. All prizes are being funded by special funds from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The ideas competition is part of the Research in Germany initiative, the central platform for marketing Germany as a location for research and innovation. The initiative is funded by the BMBF and implemented by the German Academic Exchange Service, the DFG, the Fraunhofer Society and the International Office of the BMBF. The fifth and, currently, final round of the International Research Marketing ideas competition will be announced in May 2020.

Further Information

For more information about the DFG International Research Marketing Ideas Competition, please visit:

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