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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 54 | 31. August 2018
Priority Programme “Calm, Smooth and Smart – Novel Approaches for Influencing Vibrations by Means of Deliberately Introduced Dissipation” (SPP 1897)

In 2015, the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) established the Priority Programme “Calm, Smooth and Smart – Novel Approaches for Influencing Vibrations by Means of Deliberately Introduced Dissipation” (SPP 1897). The programme is designed to run for six years. The present call invites proposals for the second 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 second funding period a clear focus of the projects should be on specific novel damping devices and/or novel applications to technical problems on the basis of the insights gained during the first phase. The Priority Programme will continue to 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 corresponding model order reduction techniques into 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 address most of these points, i.e. allow the description of the influence of new damping mechanisms/devices 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. mainly to either tribology, material modelling, control, mathematical/numerical methods or dissipation description not beyond the state of the art and not strongly related to damping 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. Only very limited funding is available for setting up hardware experiments and so proposals which demand expensive additional equipment cannot be funded in this final phase.

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.

Proposals must be written in English and submitted to the DFG by 20 November 2018. Please note that proposals can only be submitted via elan, the DFG’s electronic proposal processing system. If you would like to submit a proposal for a new project within the existing Priority Programme, please go to Proposal Submission – New Project – Priority Programmes and select “SPP 1897” from the current list of calls. Previous applicants can submit a proposal for the renewal of an existing project under Proposal Submission – Proposal Overview/Renewal Proposal.

In preparing your proposal, please review the programme guidelines (form 50.05, section B) and follow the proposal preparation instructions (form 54.01). These forms can either be downloaded from our website or accessed through the elan portal. In addition to submitting your proposal through elan, please send an electronic copy as well as an additional PDF-file of the summary of the main application to the programme coordinator.

Applicants must be registered in elan prior to submitting a proposal to the DFG. If you have not yet registered, please note that you must do so by 6 November 2018 to submit a proposal under this call; registration requests received after this time cannot be considered. You will normally receive confirmation of your registration by the next working day. Note that you will be asked to select the appropriate Priority Programme call during both the registration and the proposal process.

The review of the submitted applications will take place in Bonn in the first quarter of 2019.

Further Information

More information on the Priority Programme is available under:

The elan system can be accessed at:

DFG forms 50.05, 54.01 and 1.91 can be downloaded at:

For scientific enquiries please contact the Priority Programme coordinator:

Questions on the DFG proposal process can be directed to:

Programme contact:

Administrative contact:


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