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DFG establishes 13 new priority programs

What are the effects of the economic, technological and demographic developments in the globalised world on the labour market in Germany? How do individuals, populations and communities in aquatic systems adapt to global change, and what does this mean for our understanding of ecological systems and the ways in which they serve human beings? What algorithms can be used to more efficiently process the increasing volumes of data that now flood every section of society? These are just some of the fundamental scientific questions to be examined over the next few years in the new Priority Programmes established by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).

A total of 13 new Priority Programmes were established by the DFG Senate at its recent spring meeting in Bonn. They are set to launch at the beginning of 2014 and bring together the scientific expertise of researchers from Germany and beyond working in particularly topical or emerging fields.

The new Priority Programmes cover the entire spectrum of disciplines, from the humanities, social sciences, life sciences and natural sciences to engineering sciences. Subjects range from the concept of pragmatics in linguistics, which will be coupled with experimental methods from cognitive and neurosciences, to glial cells as the dominant cell population of the brain and the group of non-coding RNA molecules and their regulating role in numerous cell functions, which are both highly topical research subjects in the neurosciences.

Other programmes aim to achieve the first fully predictable description of gas-liquid reactors in chemical process engineering or to create the basis for the systematic production of meta-stable materials with some unknown properties. Another looks at biological and synthetic "microswimmer" systems whose internal propulsion mechanism is just as important as insufficiently understood to date. Better understanding of this phenomenon could enable the manufacture of artificial swimmers to imitate biological systems or deliberately exert influence on them.

All the programmes are highly interdisciplinary and are notable for their application of innovative methods. For example, intensive collaboration between engineering and mathematics is planned to shed light on new mathematical methods and allow the development of numerical processes for a new quality of reliable and robust simulations in the mechanics of solids and fluids. From the angles of production technology, materials sciences and mechanics, another Priority Programme will look at the principles of producing, characterising and configuring "intrinsic hybrid compounds" which are particularly suitable for use in load-bearing structures. The involvement and support of early career researchers is an important aspect of all the new programmes and one of the key requirements for their establishment.

The 13 new Priority Programmes were selected from a total of 61 concepts submitted, which were grouped into eight subject areas and reviewed. The approved concepts each describe the main subject of a Priority Programme. Over the coming months, the DFG will announce a separate call for proposals for all 13 programmes. Proposals will be evaluated in a rigorous review process to determine their scientific quality and their contribution to the general topic in question.

A total of 64 million euros will be available for all 13 new programmes in the first three-year funding period. The Priority Programmes generally run for six years. Including the newly ap-proved ones, the DFG will be supporting 90 Priority Programmes from 2014.

The new Priority Programmes grouped by scientific discipline are:

Humanities and Social Sciences New Pragmatic Theories based on Experimental Evidence
(Coordinator: PD Dr. Ulrich Sauerland, Geisteswissenschaftliche Zentren Berlin e.V. GWZ / Centre for General Linguistics ZAS Berlin)

The German Labor Market in a Globalized World: Challenges through Trade, Technology and Demographics
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Bernd Fitzenberger, University of Freiburg)

Life Sciences

Dynamics of Thiol-based Redox Switches in Cellular Physiology
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Katja Becker, University of Giessen)

Functional Specializations of Neuroglia as Critical Determinants of Brain Activity
(Coordinators: Prof. Dr. Frank Kirchhoff, Saarland University, Prof. Dr. Christine R. Rose, University of Dsseldorf)

Emerging Roles of Non-coding RNAs in Nervous System Development, Plasticity and Disease
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Martin Schratt, University of Marburg)

Natural Sciences

Material Synthesis at Near Room-temperature
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Michael Ruck, Technical University of Dresden)

Flexibility Matters: Interplay between Trait Diversity and Ecological Dynamics Using Aquatic Communities as Model Systems (DynaTrait)
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Ursula Gaedke, University of Potsdam)

Microswimmers From Single Particle Motion to Collective Behaviour
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Gerhard Gompper, Research Centre Jlich)

Engineering Sciences

Intrinsic Hybrid Compounds for Lightweight Load-bearing Structures - A Basis for Manufacture, Characterisation and Configuration
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jrgen Fleischer, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology KIT)

Algorithms for Big Data

(Coordinator: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Carsten Meyer, University of Frankfurt/Main)

Strong Coupling of Thermo-chemical and Thermo-mechanical States in Applied Materials
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Ingo Steinbach, University of Bochum)

The Influence of Local Transport Processes on Chemical Reactions in Bubble Flows
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Schlter, Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg)

Reliable Simulations in the Mechanics of Solids Development of Non-conventional Discretisa-tion Methods, Mechanical and Mathematical Analysis
(Coordinator: Prof. Dr.-Ing Jrg Schrder, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen Campus)


Contact: Marco Finetti
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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