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German Research Foundation Awards Freie Universität Berlin Two New Collaborative Research Centers

Approval for Two New Ones and Extension for Two Others

№ 182/2016 from May 27, 2016

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funding for two new Collaborative Research Centers (CRC) at Freie Universität Berlin, as well as funding extensions for two others already established at Freie Universität. The new CRCs, to be funded for four years, are "Entangled States of Matter," Transregio (TRR) 183, in cooperation with the University of Cologne, and CRC/TRR 186, "Molecular Switches: Spatio-Temporal Control of Cellular Signal Transmission," in cooperation with the University of Heidelberg. Funding extensions were approved for CRC 973, "Priming and Memory of Organismic Responses to Stress," and CRC 980, "Episteme in Motion."

Altogether the German Research Foundation approved funding for the establishment of 20 new Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) and the extension of 24 CRCs. Six of the 20 new CRCs are in the category CRC/Transregio (TRR), which are spread out over several research locations. The funding period will begin on July 1, 2016.

Researchers in the newly approved CRC/Transregio 183 "Entangled States of Matter" investigate entanglement, an important part of quantum mechanics. Complex quantum systems can undergo entanglements, which are simultaneous superpositions of different states of their subsystems. The theoretical investigations are also aimed at making such entanglements usable in macroscopic systems and thereby ultimately laying the foundations for new forms of information processing. The University of Cologne is the host university, and Freie Universität is the co-host (vice spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Piet Brouwer). Other cooperating partners are the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) and the Center for Quantum Devices (Denmark).

The goal of the CRC/Transregio “Molecular Switches: Spatio-Temporal Control of Cellular Signal Transmission” is to compare processes in the cell that occur on differing time scales systematically. Such processes are controlled and spatially and temporally coordinated by molecular switches. The CRC/Transregio investigations have been made possible by the chemical and biological tools that have only recently been developed, which can be used to manipulate molecular switches in living cells. The host university is the University of Heidelberg, and Freie Universität is the co-host (vice spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Christian Freund).

A key concern of CRC 973, which has just been extended, is to combine ecological science with molecular biology and biochemistry. The researchers aim to elucidate the molecular, biochemical, and physiological mechanisms involved in priming and memory of responses to stress – for example, cold temperatures or infection of plants by phytopathogens or herbivorous insects. They also hope to gain a better understanding of how the stability and predictability of environmental conditions affect priming and memory abilities. The host university is Freie Universität Berlin (spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Monika Hilker). The other participating institutions are the University of Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm.

Within the newly extended CRC 980 "Episteme in Motion," researchers study the processes of knowledge change in European and non-European cultures before modern times. During this time period, knowledge change occurred over such extended periods of time that it cannot be described using the instruments of traditional intellectual history that tend to focus on scientific revolutions and indicators of progress. Freie Universität Berlin is the host university (spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Gyburg Uhlmann). The other participating institutions are Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Darmstadt, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the State Museums (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin).

Collaborative Research Centres established by the DFG allow researchers to tackle innovative, challenging, complex, and long-term research undertakings through the coordination and concentration of individuals and resources within the applicant universities. The promotion of early career researchers and gender equality among researchers play a decisive role.

As of July 1, 2016, Freie Universität is the host university for 11 CRCs and participates in 10 others. In addition, Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, the medical school operated jointly by Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität, hosts six CRCs.

Further Information

Press Release Issued by the German Research Foundation (DFG)


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