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DFG approves 20 million euros for two new special research areas at Freie Universität

Natural scientists research reactions to stress, humanities scholars research the transition of knowledge in cultures before the modern era

№ 132/2012 from May 25, 2012

Freie Universität Berlin applied to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Science Foundation, DFG) for two new Collaborative Research Centers (CRCs) and is involved in two additional ones. CRC 973 "Organismic Reactions to Stress: Character and Memory" is new and will be set up for four years, as the DFG announced in Bonn. In the approved CRC 980 "Epistemology in Movement," the focus is the transfer of knowledge from the ancient world to the early modern era. The funding for both CRCs comes to a total of 20 million euros. This makes the university the main university or a participating institution in four of 20 new special research areas approved nationwide. The term of the new CRCs begins on July 1.

Both CRC initiatives came about as projects within the scope of the focus areas of Freie Universität Berlin; CRC 980 in conjunction with the Dahlem Humanities Center, CRC 973 in conjunction with the Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences. They received funds from the univeristy’s Center for Cluster Development (CCD).

An essential goal of the newly approved Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 973 is to combine environmental science with molecular biology and biochemistry. The target organisms in this CRC are currently bacteria, fungi, and plants. The scientists are following two primary research goals. One concerns the understanding of molecular, biochemical, and physiological mechanisms that play a role in the character of stress reactions and the memory of stress event, for example, in the case of cold or plants being overcome by vermin. The other concerns the knowledge gained of how stability and the predictability of environmental conditions influence the stress reactions of organisms. The CRC is associated with an Integrated Research Training Group that allows an integrated education in the field of ecology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. The speaker of the CRC is Prof. Dr. Monika Hilker of the Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin. In addition, Universität Potsdam and the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam-Golm are also involved. The funding amounts to 8.5 million euros.

In Collaborative Research Center (CRC) 980, scholars research the process of knowledge transition in European and non-European cultures before the modern era. The phenomenon earns special attention because the knowledge of these cultures was often characterized as especially stationary. According to the thesis of this CRC, knowledge transfer did, however, still take place in these cultures. Even so, it often took place so slowly that it could not be described with the instruments of traditional history of science approaches, which tend to concentrate on scientific revolutions and indicators of progress. The CRC unites 19 sub-projects where the so-called small disciplines are especially strongly represented. The cooperation partners are Humboldt Universität zu Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. The speaker is the classical philologist Prof. Dr. Gyburg Uhlmann. The funding amounts to 11.5 million euros.

In addition, Freie Universität is involved in the CRC "Discretization in geometry and dynamic systems" and in the CRC "Turbln - Significant increases in efficiency through target, interactive combustion and flow initiators in gas turbines." Technische Universität Berlin is the speaker of both CRCs.

In accordance with DFG guidelines, Collaborative Research Centers facilitate innovative, sophisticated, complex longer-term research projects by concentrating and coordinating the strengths present within one higher education institution. The CRC program is thus intended to make an essential contribution to the profile of the higher education institutions involved. The funding of the next generation of scholars and the equality of male and female scholars also play a considerable role in this context.

Further Information

CRC 973: "Organismic Reactions to Stress: Character and Memory"

  • Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Monika Hilker, Dahlem Centre of Plant Sciences and Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838 55913, Email: hilker@zedat.fu-berlin.de
  • Academic Coordinator: Dipl.-Biol. Tobias Otte, Institute of Biology, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-53903; Email: tobias.otte@fu-berlin.de

CRC 980: "Epistemology in Movement"

  • Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Gyburg Uhlmann, Institute of Greek and Latin Languages and Literatures, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-55928, Email: g.uhlmann@fu-berlin.de
  • Academic Coordinator: PD Dr. Anita Traninger, Institute of Romance Languages and Literatures, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-55006, Email: anita.traninger@fu-berlin.de