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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 53 | 16. Juli 2015
Priority Programme “Calm, Smooth and Smart – Novel Approaches for Influencing Vibrations by Means of Deliberately Introduced Dissipation” (SPP 1897)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a new Priority Programme entitled “Calm, Smooth and Smart – Novel Approaches for Influencing Vibrations by Means of Deliberately Introduced Dissipation” (SPP 1897). The programme is scheduled to run for six years; the present call invites proposals for the first three-year funding period.

Over the last few years, the concept of lightweight design has become more and more important in engineering. Herein, it is the aim to reduce the mass of any kind of technical structure to a minimum in order to save resources, costs, and energy during both manufacturing and operation. Following the rules of this design principle also often means to make technical components and the whole system more sensitive to unwanted vibrations. These vibrations can cause severe environmental and health issues, and are, hence, to be minimised. This yet inevitable dependence shall now be eliminated by developing novel approaches for influencing vibrations that result from the research of the established Priority Programme and lead to a “calm, smooth and smart” behaviour of technical units.

“Calm” represents the demand to avoid or at least to severely reduce unwanted noise generated by technical installations. “Smooth” ensures a still comfortable and jerk-free operation of them. Finally, “smart” means that the introduced damping devices not only help to achieve the desired vibrational behaviour of the overall technical systems, but also that they take over additional functional tasks.

The key to achieving a “calm, smooth and smart” characteristic of technical equipment is the time- and position-dependent application of dissipation in order to transform vibrational energy into heat or other forms of energy. But since there is, as yet, only limited knowledge on most of its physical phenomena and mechanisms, dissipation can hardly be introduced in a deliberate fashion in daily engineering. For this reason, it is the main objective of this Priority Programme to form the basis for a deliberate utilisation of dissipative processes which is not exclusively based upon trial and error and allows for a future development of vehicles, machines, and facilities that are energy efficient and light, but at the same time show a “calm, smooth and smart” behaviour as required.

It is the aim to pool the expertise of mechanics, mathematics, control engineering, tribology, fluid mechanics, and material science in Germany, and to create new and strengthen already available networks in order to achieve the set goals. In the framework of this cooperation, the existing experiences should be exchanged in between the different working groups to generate synergies, to save time and costs, and to raise the working efficiency. Moreover, it is intended to lead this new-born research union to international excellence in the field of innovative damping techniques.

In the first funding period, the Priority Programme will drive research towards the following directions concerning dissipation mechanisms and damping strategies:

  • systematic investigation of dissipative mechanisms and subsequent development of mathematical models used to describe them
  • definition, analysis and validation of novel damping techniques as well as their effect on vibrations
  • development of numerical methods that allow to model dissipation and damping devices in an engineering-compliant environment
  • integration of submodels describing new kinds of damping based vibration absorbers and of proper model order reduction techniques into the overall models of vehicles, machines and facilities
  • experimental investigation of the influence of damping mechanisms and devices on the characteristics of an overall system dynamics

Project proposals should ideally address most of these points, i.e. allow the description of the influence of new damping mechanisms or refined modelling/description of damping on the overall dynamics of a mechanical or mechatronic system having influence towards the system properties “calm, smooth and smart”. In any case, all submitted applications must clearly comment on the positioning of the project proposal within the framework of the overall research programme, and also on its contribution as well as the added value in several of the above mentioned areas. Furthermore, it is expected that the proposals provide clear visionary aims. Projects that are restricted e.g. solely to either tribology, material modelling, control, mathematical/numerical methods or damping description not beyond the state of the art and not strongly related to dissipation will not be supported within this programme. Also proposals just using known damping force laws in a conventional framework, or applications of already existing damping devices including their adaptation with methods from control theory or pure active damping are excluded.

To achieve the ambitious aims of this programme, the attendance of SPP-internal meetings, periodical workshops and conferences on different topics being related to the encountered fields of research is necessary and, hence, regarded as mandatory for all participants.

Applications for the first three-year funding period are now invited. All proposals must be written in English and submitted by 1 November 2015 through the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system “elan”. In this system please select ”SPP 1897” when submitting your proposal. If you are using the “elan” system for the first time, please note that you need to register yourself and your institutional address before being able to submit a proposal. Please, make sure that all applicants of your project start their registration at least two weeks in advance of the submission deadline. Please include a title page with your name, your address, and the title of your project in your application. When writing the proposal, please consult the current guidelines for Priority Programmes (DFG form 50.05en) and follow the instructions for the preparation of project proposals including the naming protocol for proposal documents (DFG form 54.01en). Proposals by one applicant must not exceed 20 pages. Joint proposals may comprise five additional pages for each additional applicant.

You are further asked to send a PDF file of your application to Prof. Peter Eberhard, the coordinator of the Priority Programme. The review of the submitted applications will take place in Bonn in the first quarter of 2016 and may include a proposal colloquium.

Further Information

For further information please refer to the Priority Programme’s homepage:

The DFG’s electronic portal “elan” can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in the DFG forms 50.05en (Section B), 54.01en and 1.91en, which can be found on the DFG website at:

Questions related to the scientific objectives and the strategic intentions of the Priority Programme, also concerning the scientific requirements for funding, should be addressed to the coordinator of the Priority Programme:

Administrative questions, especially regarding the formal eligibility for participation and the submission of proposals, should be addressed to the DFG representative: