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DFG Research Units

A DFG Research Unit (FOR) is made up of an interdisciplinary team of researchers working together on a research project which, in terms of thematic focus, duration, and finances, extends beyond the funding options available under the Individual Grants Programme or Priority Programme. The duration of the Research Unit is usually six years.

Research Units often contribute to the establishment of new directions in research.

Freie Universität Berlin hosts 8 Research Units, including 2 College Research Units, and participates in 20 others. 3 Research Unit is coordinated by Freie Universität Berlin at Charité-University Medicine, Berlin. 

Research College FOR 2229 Thinking films - Poetologies of the audiovisual image
- since 2014

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Hermann Kappelhoff
Dept. of Philosophy and Humanities, Institute of Theater Studies 

FOR 2305: Discursification of the New. Tradition and Novation  in Medieval and Early Modern Texts
- since 2016 -

Spokesperson: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Bernhard Huß
Dep. of Philosophy and Humanities, Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures

Research College FOR 2615: Rethinking Oriental Despotism - Strategies of Governance and Modes of Participation in the Ancient Near East
- since 2018 -

Spokespersons: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Eva Cancik-Kirschbaum, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jörg Klinger
Dep. of History and Cultural Studies, Institute of Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations

FOR 2724: Thermal Machines in the Quantum World
- since 2019 -

Spokesperson: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jens Eisert
Dep. of Physics, Institute of Theoretical Physics

FOR 5026: Integrating Insect Immunity, Microbiota and Pathogens
- since 2020 -

Sokesperson: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Jens Rolff
Dep. of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Institute of Biology 

FOR 5130: ImmunoChick- Unravelling the Avian Immune Response in the Context of Infection
- since 2021 -

Spokesperson: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Benedikt Kaufer
Dep. of Veterinary Medicine, Institute of Virology

FOR 5289: From Imprecision to Robustness in Neural Circuit Assembly
- since 2022 -

Spokesperson: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Robin Hiesinger
Dep. of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy, Institute of Biology

FOR 5323: Aetiologies: Founding Narratives in Literary, Scholarly, and Scientific Discourses
- since 2023 -

Spokesperson: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne Gödde
Dep. of History and Cultural Studies, Institute of Religious Studies

FOR 2213: Nanoporous gold - A prototype for a rational design of catalysts
- since 2015 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Gunther Wittstock
Univ. of spokesperson: Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
Participating scientist: Prof. Dr. Thomas Risse (Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Research College FOR 2235: The International Rule of Law - Rise or Decline?
- since 2015 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Georg Nolte
Univ. of spokesperson: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Heike Krieger (Public Law)

FOR 2265: Law - Gender - Collectivity: Processes of standardization, categorization and generating solidarity
- since 2018 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Beate Binder
Univ. of spokesperson: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Lücke (Friedrich-Meinecke-Institute of History)

FOR 2327: VIROCARB: Glycans Controlling Non-Enveloped Virus Infections
- since  2019 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thilo Stehle
Univ. of spokesperson: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Helge Ewers (Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

FOR 2397: Multi-scale Analysis of Complex three-phase Systems
- since 2016 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Turek
Univ. of spokesperson: Technische Universität Clausthal
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christina Roth (Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

FOR 2518: Functional Dynamics of Ion Channels and Transporters - DynIon -
- since 2017 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Klaus Benndorf
Univ. of spokesperson: Universitätsklinikum Jena
Participating scientists: Dr. Nuria Plattner, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Frank Noé (Institute of Mathematics)

FOR 2568: Philology of Adventure
- since 2018 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Martin von Koppenfels
Univ. of spokesperson: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Susanne Gödde (Institute for the Scientific Study of Religion)

FOR 2589: Near-Realtime Quantitative Precipitation Estimation and Prediction (RealPEP)
- since 2019 -

Spokesperson: PD Dr. Silke Trömel
Univ. of spokesperson: Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
Participating scientist: Dr. Rene Preusker (Institute of  Space Sciences)

FOR 2625: Mechanisms of Lysosomal Homeostasis
- since 2017 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Braulke
Univ. of spokesperson: Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
Participating scientist: PD Dr. Tobias Stauber (Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

FOR 2705: Dissection of a Brain Circuit: Structure, Plasticity and Behavioral Function of the Drosophila mushroom body
- since 2018 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. André Fiala
Univ. of spokesperson: Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Stephan Sigrist (Institute of Biology)

FOR 2736: New Refined Observations of Climate Change from Spaceborne Gravity Missions (NEROGRAV)
- since 2019 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Flechtner
Univ. of spokesperson: Technische Universität Berlin
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Maik Thomas (Institute of Meteorology)

Research College FOR 2909: Human Abilities
- since 2020 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Dominik Perler
Univ. of spokesperson: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Barbara Vetter (Institute of Philosophy)

5187: Towards Precision Psychotherapy for non-respondent Patients: From Signatures to Predictions to Clinical Utility
- since 2022 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Lüken
Univ. of spokesperson: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Participation scientists:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Christine Knaevelsrud, Prof. Dr. Stephan Heinzel, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Babette Renneberg (Institute of Psychology)

FOR 5200: Disrupt - Evade - Exploit: Gene Expression and Host Response Programming in DNA Virus Infection (DEEP-DV)
- since 2021 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Melanie Brinkmann
Univ. of spokesperson: Technische Universität Braunschweig
Participating scientist:
Dr. Benedikt Kaufer (Veterinary Medicine, Virology)

FOR 5228: Membrane Trafficking Processes Underlying Presynaptic Proteostasis
-since 2021 -

Spokesperson: Dr. Michael R. Kreutz
Univ. of spokesperson: Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiologie Magdeburg
Participating scientist:
Univ.-Prof. Dr. Peter Robin Hiesinger (Institute of Biology)

FOR 5288: Fast and Invisible: Conquering Subsurface Stormflow through an Interdisciplinary Multi-Site Approach
- since 2022 -

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Peter Chifflard
Univ. of spokesperson:
Philipps-Universität Marburg
Participating scientist: Dr. Christian Reinhardt-Imjela (Institute of Geography)

FOR 5303: Digital Media in Chronic Disease Self-Management (DISELMA)
- since 2023 -

Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Juliana Raupp (Media and Communication Studies)
Univ. of spokesperson: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

FOR 5389: Contextual Influences on Dynamic Belief updating in Volatile Environments: Basic Mechanisms and Clinical Implications
- 2024 -

Participating scientist: Dr. Rasmus Bruckner (Institute of Psychology, Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuropsychology)
Univ. of spokesperson: Universität Hamburg

FOR 5429: Modulation of Brain Networks for Memory and Learning by Transcranial Electrical Brain Stimulation: A Systematic, Lifespan Approach
- since 2023 -

Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg (Institute of Psychology, Neurocomputation and Neuroimaging)
Univ. of spokesperson: Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald

FOR 5528: Mathematical Study of Geophysical Flow Models: Analysis and Computation
- since 2023 -

Participating scientist: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Rupert Klein (Institute of Mathematics)
Univ. of spokesperson: Technische Universität Darmstadt

Freie Universität Berlin hosted the following research units:

  • FOR 438 An Integrative Analysis of Mechanisms of Probiotic Action in Pigs (2001 - 2008)

  • FOR 463 Innovative Pharmaceuticals and Carrier Systems - Integrative Optimization for the Treatment of Inflammatory and Hyperproliferative Diseases (2002 - 2008)

  • FOR 530 Self Narratives in Transcultural Perspektive (2004 - 2011)

  • FOR 606 Processes of the Reorganisation of Knowledge Traditions between the 13th and 17th Centuries (2005 - 2013)

  • FOR 736 The Precambrian-Cambrian Bioshere Revolution: Insights from Chinese Microcontinents (2007 - 2014)

  • FOR 955 Actors of Cultural Globalisation (1860 - 1930) (2008 - 2014)

  • FOR 1091: Popular Serialit - Aesthetics and Practice (2010 - 2016)

  • FOR 1095: Stratospheric Change and its Role for Climate Prediction (SHARP) (2009 - 2015)

  • Research College FOR 1206: Justitia Amplificata: Enhanced Justice - Concrete and Global (2014 - 2019)

  • FOR 1336: From Monocytes to Brain Macrophages - Conditions Influencing the Fate of Myeloid Cells in the Brain (2010  - 2015, Charité-University Medicine, Berlin)

  • FOR 1363 Biogenic Amines Insects: Coordination of Physiological Processes and Behaviour (2010 - 2013)

  • Research College FOR 1627: Evidence of Images: History and Aesthetics (2011 - 2020)

  • FOR 1703: Transcultural Negotiations in the Ambits of Art. Comparative Perspectives on Historical Contexts and Current Constellations (2011 - 2017)

  • FOR 2161: Organized Creativity - Practices for Inducing and Coping with Uncertainty (2016 - 2019)

  • KFO 213: Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles for Cellular and Molecular Magnetic Resonance Imaging Magnetic Nanoparticles (2008 - 2016)

  • KFO 218: Hormonal Regulation of Body Weight Maintenance (2009 - 2015, Charité-University Medicine, Berlin)

  • KFO 247: Deep Brain Simulation. Mechanisms of Action, Cortex-Basal Ganglia-Physiology and Therapy Optimization (2010 - 2016)