Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Funding for Collaborative Research Centers in Berlin

The DFG is funding a total of two new and two extended CRCs within the institutions making up the Berlin University Alliance. The topics range from the analysis of large sets of scientific data, neuromodulation and mathematics to knowledge transfer in the pre-modern age.

News from May 29, 2020

Workflows for the analysis of large scientific data sets are being explored in a new Collaborative Research Center (CRC) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. A new CRC at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin is focusing on neuromodulation. Charité, the joint medical faculty of Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, is also co-applicant in another CRC dedicated to research on thyroid hormones.

The “Episteme in Motion” CRC at Freie Universität Berlin is entering its third and final funding phase; at Technische Universität Berlin, the mathematical CRC named “Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics” is being extended. Freie Universität Berlin is a co-applicant for another extended CRC/Transregio for investigating signal transduction processes as well as for a CRC/TRR on solid state systems. Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is a co-applicant for a CRC/TRR investigating the biology of chloroplasts.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is setting up a total of ten new Collaborative Research Centers. These new CRCs will initially be funded for four years, starting on July 1, 2020, with a total budget of around 114 million euros. Six of the new networks are CRCs/Transregios (TRR), which are spread across several applicant universities. Alongside the ten new CRCs, the Grants Committee voted to extend 23 CRCs for one additional funding period for each, including six CRCs/Transregios. From July 2020, the DFG will be funding a total of 274 Collaborative Research Centers.

New Collaborative Research Centers

The new CRC at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, “FONDA – Fundamentals of Workflows for the Analysis of Large Scientific Data,” aims to fill the gap that exists for data analysis workflows. The investigation of many contemporary questions in the natural sciences involves the analysis of large volumes of data using automatic analysis tools, with the interaction between them being determined in what is known as data analysis workflows. The development work required for this is still very extensive. The CRC researchers want to explore techniques, processes, and tools that will improve the productivity of researchers in the creation and application of data analysis workflows. Particular emphasis is being placed on important features for reaching this goal, such as portability, adaptivity, and reliability. Spokesperson for the CRC is Prof. Dr. Ulf Leser, Deputy Director of the Department of Computer Science at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

The new transregional CRC/Transregio “Treatment of motor network disorders using neuromodulation” is being hosted by Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Würzburg University Hospital. The researchers are investigating which mechanisms underlie neuromodulation in a variety of diseases. There are many neurological diseases associated with limited mobility, but neuromodulation, a targeted stimulation of nerve cells, can regulate the altered neural network activity in people with such diseases. The findings of the investigation should contribute to the development of innovative therapy strategies for those with movement disorders for which there has been no previous treatment. The joint project will initially be funded for four years with a budget of ten million euros. The spokesperson for the project is Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn, head of the Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Section in the Department of Neurology with Experimental Neurology at Charité.

The researchers in the new CRC/Transregio “Local Control of Thyroid Hormone Action” (LOCOTACT) are addressing which factors regulate local thyroid hormone activity and how defective thyroid regulation can accelerate the development of heart, liver, or central nervous system diseases. The CRC is based at the University of Duisburg-Essen; co-applicants are Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Universität zu Lübeck. By investigating these underlying mechanisms, the research group aims to contribute to more focused therapies for certain rare diseases, but also for more “common diseases” such as fatty liver disease. The DFG is initially funding the CRC for four years with a budget of 13.7 million euros. The spokesperson for the project is Prof. Dr. Dagmar Führer-Sakel, Director of the Clinic for Endocrinology, Diabetology and Metabolism of the University of Duisburg-Essen Medical Faculty at Essen University Hospital.

Collaborative Research Centers that are being extended for a further funding period

The CRC “Knowledge in Motion – Knowledge Transfer from the Old World to Early Modern Times” at Freie Universität Berlin is entering its third funding phase, thereby reaching the maximum funding period of twelve years. The researchers have made it their mission to examine knowledge transfer processes in pre-modern European and non-European cultures. They are exploring processes of long-term knowledge movements in specific historical configurations and have developed a set of measures for describing them. The spokesperson for this project is Prof. Dr. Gyburg Uhlmann of the Department of Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures at Freie Universität Berlin.

The CRC/TRR “Discretization in Geometry and Dynamics” is based at Technische Universität Berlin, and the TU Munich is a co-applicant. The research associated with this Collaborative Research Center/Transregio focuses on discretization in both differential geometry and dynamic systems. Both mathematical fields are characterized by the description of geometrical structures using differential equations. The spokeperson for this project is Prof. Dr. Alexander I. Bobenko of the Department of Mathematics at Technische Universität Berlin.

The CRC/TRR “Molecular switches for the spatial and kinetic regulation of cellular signal transmission” is based at Heidelberg University, and Freie Universität Berlin is a co-applicant. This CRC/TRR molecular biological research group, with its sites in Heidelberg and Berlin, focuses on the spatial and temporal coordination of signal transduction processes in living cells, which play a key role in the functionality of biological systems. The project aims to decipher how signals from activated molecular switches are processed in space and time, thereby activating basic cellular functions. In the second funding period, the CRC/TRR will receive DFG funding of approximately 13.5 million euros. The spokesperson for this project is Prof. Dr. Walter Nickel of the Biochemistry Center at Heidelberg University.

The CRC/TRR “Entangled States of Matter” at the University of Cologne will also receive funding for another four years. Co-applicants are Freie Universität Berlin and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. The aim of the CRC/TRR is to put the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics to use in order to develop solid state systems that materialize such macroscopically entangled states into a tangible form. The spokesperson for this project is Prof. Dr. Simon Trebst of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Cologne.

The CRC/TRR “The Green Hub: Central Coordinator of Acclimation in Plants” at LMU Munich has also entered into the second funding phase; co-applicants are Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and TU Kaiserslautern. The CRC/Transregio unites scientists from Munich, Kaiserslautern, and Berlin/Golm in order to pool their unique expertise in chloroplast biology and its interactions with the rest of the cell. The spokesperson for this project is Prof. Dr. Dario Leister of the LMU Munich Biocenter.