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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 62 | 22. November 2010
DFG Priority Programme 1569 “Generation of Multifunctional Inorganic Materials by Molecular Bionics”

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the establishment of a new Priority Programme entitled ”Generation of Multifunctional Inorganic Materials by Molecular Bionics”. The programme is designed to run for six years.

Living nature provides impressive evolution-optimised processes, which lead to complex-structured biogenic minerals. Their formation occurs in aqueous environments at ambient conditions. During these genetically determined biomineralisation processes biopolymeric templates that control the mineralisation and the structure formation of the inorganic components play a main role. However, biological evolution does not supply biomineralisation routes that directly lead to the generation of technically needed inorganic functional materials.

The programme’s main scientific objective is to apply the principles of biomineralisation to the generation of complex-structured multifunctional inorganic materials.

To this end the programme addresses research work on

  • the in vitro and in vivo generation of such materials directed by biomolecule-based templates with a main focus on 2D and 3D structures,
  • the characterisation of the formation mechanisms as well as of the structure of the materials,
  • the investigation of the physical and chemical properties of the materials, and
  • computational modelling of the formation, structure and properties of the materials.

Projects should consider such biomineralising organisms that have preferentially been previously characterised to a level at which biological determinants for material synthesis, such as individual genes and proteins, have been already identified or/and which can be manipulated by genetic and biochemical techniques. Biomolecules for the in vitro generation of the materials shall be expressed by these organisms or further genetically manipulable systems, like bacteria, eukaryotes or viruses. Advanced in vivo studies also aim at the biomineralisation of inorganic functional materials within living organisms.

A detailed characterisation of the investigated systems and the synthesised materials is needed that aims at the achievement of a basic understanding and the control of the relevant material formation processes, the characterisation of the structure and in particular of the bioorganic/inorganic interfaces.

A key role within the programme is attributed to the optical, magnetic, electrical as well as mechanical properties of the prepared materials. In the projects the design of materials with preferentially multiple functional and/or structural properties shall be obtained by the combination of different inorganic materials as well as by the hybridisation of inorganic with organic components. The concept shall be demonstrated by means of materials with 2D and 3D structures.

A further main objective is the development and the application of advanced and novel atomistic modelling techniques in close cooperation with experimental investigations on the characterisation as well as on the properties of the materials obtained by molecular bionics.

The following items shall not be considered within the scope of the programme:

  • classical in vitro and in vivo studies, which deal with the formation of pure natural biominerals,
  • projects that are limited to pure non-biogenic synthesis of materials,
  • biomedical approaches and implant materials.

Proposals need to cover the molecular bionic generation and structural characterisation of the prepared materials as well as their functional properties. Joint proposals (Gemeinschaftsanträge) and bundled proposals (Paketanträge) combining experimental studies with the application of advanced atomistic modelling are in particular welcome.

Proposals for an initial two-year funding period should be submitted in English on paper and on CD-ROM (including the proposal and all appendices as PDF files) no later than 6 May 2011. Submissions, marked as “SPP 1569/1”, should be addressed to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Attn. Dr. Burkhard Jahnen, 53170 Bonn. A colloquium and the review panel meeting are planned for September 2011. The first funding period will start in late 2011.

Further Information

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme, please contact the Priority Programme's coordinator:

  • Professor Dr. Joachim Bill
    Universität Stuttgart
    Institut für Materialwissenschaft
    3. Lehrstuhl
    Heisenbergstraße 3
    70569 Stuttgart
    Phone +49 711 689-3202

For administrative enquiries please contact:

  • Dr. Burkhard Jahnen
    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
    53170 Bonn
    Phone +49 228 885-2487