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DFG to fund 8 new collaborative research centers

This press release is available in German.

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will establish eight Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) as of 1 January 2012. This was agreed by the responsible Grants Committee at its autumn meeting in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive a total of 82.7 million euros (including a 20 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs) in their initial four-year funding period.

The topics spanned by the newly established Collaborative Research Centres range from fluid-dynamic processes that are involved in the emergence of planets, to new treatments for diseases of the liver, to single-crystal superalloys used in building modern gas turbines. Other Collaborative Research Centres seek to develop more sustainable methods in manufacturing or investigate chemical and biological processes in cells. One initiative is a CRC/Transregio, which is distributed across several sites.

In addition, the Committee approved the extension of 13 CRCs for a further four-year funding period. As of January 2012 the DFG will fund a total of 234 Collaborative Research Centres.

The new CRCs in detail (in alphabetical order by coordinating university):

CRC 1026 "Sustainable Manufacturing Shaping Global Value Creation" will pursue the question of how to produce and operate more sustainably in the global context. The conscious use of energy, raw materials and human labour is essential to preserving our environment. In many parts of the world however, the issue of sustainability in production engineering has largely been ignored. Engineering scientists from the production and environmental technologies will therefore collaborate with economists and mathematicians to develop innovative manufacturing processes and virtual systems for product development in order to demonstrate the advantages of sustainable methods over traditional ones. For example, methods are to be devised to upgrade outmoded machine tools to meet modern technological requirements using measures which increase their accuracy. (Coordinating University: Technische Universitt Berlin, Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Gnther Seliger other participants: Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology (IPK), Zuse Institute Berlin (ZIB), Social Science Research Centre, Berlin (WZB))

Single-crystal superalloys are key materials for turbine blades in modern gas turbines for aerospace and energy generation. They are equally indispensable both to the mobility of modern society as well as ensuring its sustainable electricity supply. Higher efficiencies at higher sustainability levels in gas turbines can only be achieved using a new single-crystal technology which is to be developed in the CRC/Transregio 103 "From Atom to Turbine Blade Scientific Framework for a New Generation of Single-Crystal Superalloys". In support of this aim the CRC/Transregio will bring together researchers from the fields of materials science and materials engineering, solid-state physics and chemistry, multi-scale materials modelling and production engineering. (Coordinating University: Ruhr-Universitt Bochum, Coordinator: Professor Dr.-Ing. Gunther Eggeler additional applicant university: Friedrich-Alexander-Universitt Erlangen-Nrnberg, other participants: German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Forschungszentrum Jlich GmbH, Max-Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH)

The objective of CRC 974 "Communication and System Relevance in Liver Damage and Regeneration" is to develop novel therapeutic strategies for diseases of the liver. These diseases are mostly chronic and due to the restriction of liver function, also affect the activity of other organs. In order to preserve and maintain these vital functions, the liver also has the special capacity to regenerate. This complex process, which takes place at the molecular and cell-biological level, has only been partially understood to date. With the help of basic scientific methods the scientists are therefore seeking to gain insights into the mechanisms, communication structures and decision-making processes involved in liver damage and liver regeneration. (Coordinating University: Heinrich Heine University Dsseldorf , Coordinator: Professor Dr. Dieter Hussinger other participants: Forschungszentrum Jlich GmbH, Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology)

Carbon occurs in a variety of forms that differ widely in their properties. Examples include the extremely hard and transparent diamond and the softer, metallic graphite. These are described as allotropic forms of carbon, the different properties of which arise from the nature of the chemical bonds between the carbon atoms. Synthetic carbon allotropes such as carbon nanotubes and graphene belong to the most promising classes of materials known today, and show enormous potential for high-performance applications. At the same time they are ideal modelling systems for investigating a range of fundamental chemical and physical problems, such as shape- and charge-dependent bonding and discharge of molecules, or charge transport in restricted spatial regions. These areas will be addressed in CRC 953 "Synthetic Carbon Allotropes" in an interdisciplinary collaboration between chemists, physicists, engineers and theoreticians. (Coordinating University: Friedrich-Alexander-Universitt Erlangen-Nrnberg, Coordinator: Professor Dr. Andreas Hirsch)

In many tropical regions rainforests are cut down to obtain wood and other forestry products and to cultivate foodstuffs, animal feed and biofuel crops. This can mean the loss of the forest's natural functions and the benefits they provide. CRC 990 "Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest-Transformation Systems" is therefore pursuing the goal of providing scientifically well-founded knowledge of how the ecological and socioeconomic functions of tropical rainforests and agricultural transformation systems can be preserved and enhanced. This is to be achieved by studying a variety of relevant aspects, for example biodiversity above and below the surface and greenhouse emissions. (Coordinating University: Gttingen University, Coordinator: Professor Dr. Stefan Scheu other participants: Bogor Agricultural University, Jambi University, Tadulako University of Palu, Indonesian Institute of Sciences, Jakarta)

Fluid-dynamic processes are omnipresent in the field of astrophysics. They generally tend to be turbulent, that is to a large degree unordered in space and time, and they constitute a key process in the emergence of planets, stars and galaxies. These processes are to be studied in CRC 963 "Astrophysical Flow Instabilities and Turbulence". One of the main areas of focus is on the turbulent generation of magnetic fields and the interaction of turbulence and flow instabilities and gravitation and radiation. (Coordinating University: Gttingen University, Coordinator: Professor Dr. Stefan Dreizler other participants: TU Braunschweig, the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology , Max-Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self Organization, Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gesellschaft fr Wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung mbH)

CRC 969 "Chemical and Biological Principles of Cellular Proteostasis" deals with the concept of "proteostasis". This term covers fundamental chemical and biological processes which are interlinked and act in harmony to control the cellular activities of proteins in space and time. Underlying cellular proteostasis are mechanisms which ensure that each protein is active in the cell at the right place and at the right time, or, for example when loss of function occurs, that it is rapidly repaired or broken down in order to protect the cell from damage. Malfunctions in these highly interlinked processes can have serious consequences, which in humans can lead to the growth of tumours or to neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's or Parkinson's disease. The CRC has set itself the goal of analysing the complex processes of proteostasis in interdisciplinary approaches. (Coordinating University: University of Konstanz, Coordinator: Professor Dr. Elke Deuerling)

The role of hadrons, or subatomic particles which are formed from quarks and gluons, will be investigated in the context of particle, atomic and nuclear astrophysics in CRC 1044 "The Low-energy Frontier of the Standard Model: From Quarks and Gluons to Hadrons and Nuclei". Here, hadron physics will assume a unifying role both at the highest and the lowest energy scales. On the one hand, overcoming the so-called low-energy limit of the standard model has direct effects on central questions in physics; on the other hand, the precision measurements, for example in atomic and particle physics, will lead to advances in knowledge in terms of the structure of hadrons. A further area of research will look at how quarks and gluons join together to form hadrons. To achieve the stated goals, collaboration is being forged between the Mainz Microtron MAMI and the Beijing Spectrometer BES-III. (Coordinating University: Mainz University, Coordinator: Professor Dr. Marc Vanderhaeghen)

Contact: Marco Finetti
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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