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Funding for new joint research projects as part of the Melbourne/Berlin research partnership

Call for proposals helps Berlin University Alliance strengthen graduate training at international level

News from Mar 03, 2021

Urban biodiversity, artificial intelligence, health-related behavior, causal inference, and communication – the bandwidth of the research topics is vast. Five joint research projects have been selected in the second “Call for Joint Research Proposals” as part of the Melbourne/Berlin research partnership. They will have received a total of 217,000 euros in funding by the end of the year. The research teams consist of at least one member from the University of Melbourne and one member from the partner institutions of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Junior researchers were the main focus in the call for proposals. The selected projects therefore explicitly include doctoral candidates. The Berlin University Alliance and the University of Melbourne are thus pursuing a goal of strengthening activities in graduate training and creating joint structures in graduate support. Long-term the aim is to set up a joint doctoral program.

“We were delighted to receive so many promising and innovative project applications,” says Dr. Ulrike Hillemann-Delaney, director of the department for International Affairs at Technische Universität Berlin and spokesperson of the BUA’s Internationalization steering committee. “The selected projects demonstrate more than anything the candidate's high academic quality and innovative approach to research questions. In addition, they show a great deal of potential for further expanding BUA's partnership with the University of Melbourne.”

The submitted applications were assessed and selected by experts from the five partner institutions for their academic quality and the feasibility of the outlined project. The cooperation not only helps strengthen the international visibility of the BUA and create an opportunity for all doctoral candidates both in Melbourne and Berlin, it also supports the objective area of Objective 4: Promoting Talent of the BUA.

The funded projects in detail

From Data to Causes – Advancing Research and Education on the Missing Link of Causal Inference, Prof. Dr. Manuel Völkle, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, und Associate Professor Michael Zyphur, University of Melbourne

Being able to identify and understand cause-and-effect relationships is a central requirement for effective interventions in social and other natural systems. The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to research and teach methods for causal inference based on non-experimental data in the social, behavioral and economic sciences.

The Future of Urban Biodiversity in a Changing World, Dr. Tanja Straka, Technische Universität Berlin, und Dr. Amy Hahs, University of Melbourne

A “Comparative Urban Ecology Research Training (CURT)” program is being launched for junior researchers in urban ecology from the University of Melbourne, Freie Universität Berlin, and Technische Universität Berlin. The program aims to foster shared learning among junior researchers in urban ecology and to identify collaborative opportunities of future challenges for urban biodiversity.

Computation for Communication – Bridging the Digital and Analog Worlds, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Slawomir Stanczak, Technische Universität Berlin, und Assistant Professor Jingge Zhu, University of Melbourne

As part of the project, participants from Technische Universität Berlin and the University of Melbourne will have the opportunity to combine their complementary skills and contribute to solving a fundamental efficiency problem in wireless communications. The funding is seen as instrumental to the establishment of a longer-term relationship in close academic collaboration.

Artificial Intelligence to advance Cognitive Training Adherence and Compliance at Home (AI-COACH), Prof. Dr. med. Carsten Finke, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, und Dr. Amit Lampit, University of Melbourne

Cognitive impairments are a common and often neglected after-effect of most neurological and psychiatric disorders. However, current computer-assisted cognitive training methods are still lacking in some areas. The joint research and graduate program aims to develop novel technologies for personalized cognitive training at home by bringing together expertise in neurology, psychiatry, neuropsychology, and IT.

Digital Technologies to Measure and Promote Sustainable Health Behaviour Change, Dr. Jan Keller, Freie Universität Berlin, und Dr. Tilman Dingler, University of Melbourne

Everyday behaviors such as regular handwashing or a balanced diet form part of a person’s routine and influence their health. Given the fact that not everyone follows the general recommendations for a healthy lifestyle, innovative measurement and intervention methods are required. This joint graduate program aims to train a new generation of interdisciplinary experts who will develop digital solutions for measuring and promoting changes in behavior and test their effectiveness in both an Australian and German health context.

  

The Berlin University Alliance

The Berlin University Alliance is a consortium consisting of three major Berlin universities – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin – and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, established to shape research and education in Berlin. The four partners joined forces to further develop Berlin as a research hub with international drawing power. Together the partners explore major societal challenges, increase public outreach, promote the training of junior researchers, address issues of quality and standards in research, and share resources in the areas of research infrastructure, teaching, diversity, equal opportunities, and internationalization. The Berlin University Alliance is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Berlin under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder.

Joint press release by Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Press contact

Hans-Christoph Keller, acting press spokesperson of the Berlin University Alliance and press spokesperson of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Email: medien@berlin-university-alliance.de 

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