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“innovate! Center” Proposed by Berlin University Alliance among Finalists for 30 Million Euros in Funding from Joachim Herz Foundation

The Berlin University Alliance has reached the final stage of a call for proposals issued by the Joachim Herz Foundation. The aim is to establish an innovative transfer center that will focus on “New Materials for Sustainable Technology.” The winner will receive 30 million euros over a maximum funding period of ten years. Four other projects have reached the final selection round alongside the application from the Berlin University Alliance. Eighteen entries were originally received for the competition.

News from Apr 19, 2024

The Berlin University Alliance and the other four applicants still in the running have until April 30, 2024, to submit their full proposals for a transfer center specializing in new materials for sustainable technology. At a pitching event in June 2024, the five finalists will present their concepts in front of a jury made up of independent experts. The Joachim Herz Foundation plans to announce its decision on the funding in June 2024.

Martin Rahmel, managing director of Chemical Invention Factory and coordinator of greenCHEM, is coordinating the application. He outlines the mission of the “innovate! Center” proposed by the Berlin University Alliance as follows: “The transfer of findings from excellent, interdisciplinary research into practice is a key factor in enabling the transformation of industry toward a resource-saving circular economy. This calls for disruptive innovations in the form of new materials that will find their way into our everyday lives.” Researchers are encouraged to bring their transfer ideas to Martin Rahmel.

In the initial years of funding, the “innovate! Center” will seek in particular to speed up the transfer of materials science findings in the area of sustainable resources and energy materials to industry. The concept behind the transfer center is based on experience gained in the greenCHEM joint project initiated by Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin. The Chemical Invention Factory set up by Technische Universität Berlin is at the core of the plans. Over recent years, a transfer ecosystem has grown around this center specifically for green chemistry.

Berlin, being a hub for research and science, is particularly suitable as a location for a transfer center investigating “New Materials for Sustainable Technology.” The city boasts a diverse and innovative start-up scene for the leading researchers from the Berlin University Alliance. This creates the spirit and enthusiasm needed to develop and implement innovations, as well as to bring them to the world. The Berlin University Alliance already sent out two beacons for interdisciplinary projects in materials science through the “Matters of Activity” and “Unifying Systems in Catalysis (UniSysCat)” Clusters of Excellence – an ideal basis for transfer activities.

The Berlin University Alliance

The Berlin University Alliance – the Consortium of Excellence comprising Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin – is turning Berlin into one of the world’s leading research locations. By 2030, Berlin should become an open research laboratory spanning disciplines and sections of society. Furthermore, the Berlin University Alliance is pressing ahead with three overarching objectives: setting up a network of strategic partnerships with leading universities and the Global South, diversity and equal opportunities, and the linking of top research with teaching – a first in an Excellence program. The Berlin University Alliance is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Berlin as part of the German federal and state governments’ Excellence Strategy.

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