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Press Release No. 14 | 19 May 2023
DFG to Fund Eleven New Collaborative Research Centres

Topics range from constrained quantum matter and small data to decisions in cell death processes

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is establishing eleven new Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) to further support top-level research at universities. This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee in Bonn. The new networks will be funded for an initial period of three years and nine months starting on 1 October 2023. Four of the new networks are CRC/Transregios (TRR), spread across multiple applicant universities.

In addition to the establishment of the eleven new groups, the Grants Committee also approved the extension of another 20 existing CRCs for an additional funding period, including seven CRC/Transregios. Collaborative Research Centres allow researchers to tackle innovative, challenging and long-term research projects as a group, thereby supporting the further development of core areas and structures at the applicant universities. From October 2023, the DFG will be funding a total of 268 CRCs.

In addition to the funding decisions, the Grants Committee also addressed the financial framework conditions that apply under the Collaborative Research Centres programme. In view of the rapidly increasing volume of proposals, the DFG feels it has a responsibility to keep an eye on the balance between funding rates and funding amounts without jeopardising the viability of the Collaborative Research Centres programme and individual research networks. For this reason, the first funding period will be shortened by three months for all new Collaborative Research Centres which are newly approved. This is expected to apply up until May 2024. The funds freed up by these measures will help stabilise the funding rate under the Collaborative Research Centres programme.

The new Collaborative Research Centres in detail

(in alphabetical order by their host university, including the names of spokespersons and the other applicant universities):

The CRC/Transregio Constrained Quantum Matter conducts research in the fields of complex quantum materials and novel quantum states. In recent years, enormous progress has been made in these fields through new technological and methodological developments. Building on this, the network aims to influence the properties of quantum matter as well as reveal new phenomena and effects. In the long term, the work of the network will offer points of departure for quantum technology applications, for example in quantum information technology. (University of Augsburg, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. István Kézsmárki; also applying: Technical University of Munich (TUM))

Nanostructured functional materials are essential for energy storage units and energy sources such as batteries, fuel cells or solar cells. Their performance capacity depends largely on the simultaneous transport of ions, molecules, electrons and heat. These processes involve interactions that have so far been poorly understood. The Collaborative Research Centre Structured Functional Materials for Multiple Transport in Nanoscale Confinements aims to help understand these correlations in principle and make them controllable. (University of Bayreuth, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Jürgen Senker)

Among childhood cancers, neuroblastoma is the third most common type of malignant tumour. Due to therapy resistance and early metastasis, relapses are frequent and the mortality rate is therefore high. According to the latest molecular findings, this is due to the unusually complex process of tumour development – and there are many non-genetic causes. Against this background, the goal of the Collaborative Research Centre Decoding and Targeting Mechanisms of Neuroblastoma Evolution is to analyse the tumour’s own mechanisms, decode signalling pathways and clarify how the interactions of tumour cells with their micro- and macro-environment contribute to evolution. In this way, the aim is to improve individual treatment strategies in the long term. (Charité – FU Berlin and HU Berlin, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Angelika Eggert)

Travel and transport will not be entirely conceivable without aircraft in the future, even if air travel is increasingly viewed critically against the backdrop of climate change. Accordingly, new research findings are important to enable less climate-damaging and thus more sustainable air transport. This is what the CRC/Transregio Synergies of Highly Integrated Transport Aircraft – SynTrac seeks to achieve by investigating the physical processes and phenomena at the interfaces between aircraft and propulsion systems. In this way, the network aims to contribute to saving as much energy as possible in transport aircraft in the future. (TU Braunschweig, Spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Sabine C. Langer; also applying: University of Stuttgart)

Given the many developments in the field of artificial intelligence, Big Data has become a buzzword. But there are a large number of applications, especially in medicine, where analysis has to be carried out with a relatively small number of data. This is the starting point of the Collaborative Research Centre Small Data. In order to achieve better analysis of small data sets, it focuses on the development of a new interdisciplinary methodological framework. This combines contributions from computer science, mathematics and statistics as well as from system modelling so as to develop new methods of data analysis based on exemplary applications in the field of biomedicine. (University of Freiburg, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Harald Binder)

A shift from fossil-based to renewable raw materials is essential in order to tackle climate change and establish resilient supply chains. But these raw materials fluctuate seasonally and regionally in terms of their availability and quality. In the Collaborative Research Centre SMART Reactors for Future Process Engineering, processes and reactors are therefore being developed that are capable of responding flexibly to fluctuating properties of raw materials and act in a self-adapting manner in order to achieve more resilient process engineering processes. (TU Hamburg, Spokesperson: Professor Dr.-Ing. Michael Schlüter)

Cyber-physical systems combine electronic and mechanical elements with software. They are used in technical systems of all kinds – ranging from cars, trains and aeroplanes to smart home systems. The development of these systems is highly complex because there are many dependencies between the individual components. The Collaborative Research Centre Consistency in the View-Based Development of Cyber-Physical Systems focuses on the consistency of integration of different disciplinary perspectives in the development of cyber-physical systems. In doing so, it addresses the central challenge of increasing complexity in the design and development of technical systems. (KIT Karlsruhe, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Ralf Heinrich Reussner)

Due to their short lifetimes and high energy output, massive stars are particularly significant in terms of the evolution of galaxies. The Collaborative Research Centre Habitats of Massive Stars Across Cosmic Time focuses on the gaseous environments in which these stars are born and with which they later interact. It seeks to analyse the physical processes at work here – covering the entire spectrum from the Milky Way to the extreme conditions in the early universe. (University of Cologne, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Stefanie Walch-Gassner)

In terms of the development and survival of animals and humans, cell death processes are just as important as the growth and reproduction of cells. The CRC/Transregio Regulation of Cell Death Decisions focuses on the mechanistic processes involved in the decision as to whether a cell lives or dies. Even though various forms of regulated cell death have been discovered, these are still largely misunderstood. The aim is to describe, understand, predict and influence the decision-making processes between life and these different forms of cell death. (University of Konstanz, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Thomas Brunner; also applying: University of Freiburg, Technical University of Munich (TUM))

Electrons and many atomic nuclei possess not only an electric charge but also a magnetic moment – the spin. Controlled production of a short-lived, particularly high spin order of electrons or magnetic nuclei in molecular systems is called hyper-polarisation. The CRC/Transregio aims to create such a HYP*MOL – Hyperpolarization in Molecular Systems. The results are relevant to the research fields of magnetic resonance, spintronics and spin chemistry, with implications for practical applications in medicine, electronics or catalysis. (Leipzig University, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Jörg Matysik; also applying: Chemnitz University of Technology)

In order to effectively produce materials with specific functions or properties, it is necessary to understand and control the defects that occur in the materials, such as changes in their structure or composition. So far, this has mainly happened in established semiconductor technology, i.e. in solids. The Collaborative Research Centre Defects and Defect Engineering in Soft Matter now seeks to break new ground in the field of flexible polymers and biomolecules. For this purpose, defects are regarded as building blocks that can produce new properties in materials in this field, for example for biosensor technology or biomedicine. (Mainz University, Spokesperson: Professor Dr. Sebastian Seiffert)

The CRCs extended for a further funding period

(in alphabetical order by their host university, including the names of the 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: