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Freie Universität Berlin Appoints Prominent Physicist Cecilia Clementi as Part of the Einstein Strategic Professorships Program

Scientist’s career move from William Marsh Rice University in Texas made possible through support from the Einstein Foundation Berlin

№ 353/2019 from Nov 19, 2019

Thanks to support from the Einstein Foundation, Freie Universität Berlin was able to recruit physicist Cecilia Clementi as a new professor. She is coming to Berlin from William Marsh Rice University in Texas. The appointment is part of the foundation’s “Einstein Strategic Professorships” program, which provides funding for the position. The funding line receives generous financial support from the Damp Foundation with private funds amounting to 30 million euros. The State of Berlin’s matching funds policy adds 50 percent to any private donations made to the Einstein Foundation. Cecilia Clementi is one of three researchers so far to have received support from this program.

Cecilia Clementi is an expert in computer simulation of biomolecules and until recently held a professorship in chemistry and chemical and biomolecular engineering and was a senior scientist at the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Since 2017, Cecilia Clementi has been conducting research as an Einstein Visiting Fellow at Freie Universität Berlin in the Collaborative Research Centers “Scaffolding of Membranes: Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Functions” and “Scaling Cascades in Complex Systems.” Cecilia Clementi is the first researcher to go from Einstein Visiting Fellow to holding a long-term position in Berlin. This appointment will help strengthen research being done in the fields of theoretical and computational biophysics in Berlin as well as build bridges between experimental biophysics and applied mathematics.

The president of Freie Universität Professor Günter M. Ziegler expressed his pleasure, saying that recruiting Cecilia Clementi is an important step for Freie Universität and for Berlin as a research hub. Ziegler, who is currently the spokesperson for the Berlin University Alliance, also thanked the Einstein Foundation for its two other recent funding decisions that benefit Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

Roberto Cabeza from Duke University will be joining Humboldt-Universität as an Einstein Strategic Professor, while at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin the neurobiologist Benjamin Judkewitz has accepted a similar appointment.

Berlin universities can enhance their image and research profile through Einstein Strategic Professorships, which help to open up and advance new avenues of research, bolster established areas of expertise, and thus make Berlin an even more attractive destination for top name scholars and scientists. Universities can receive up to 500,000 euros annually per professor for up to five years. The Einstein Foundation covers the costs for the positions as well as costs for materials, supplies, and equipment in the professor’s research unit. The State of Berlin intends to establish at least ten Einstein Strategic Professorships.

The Einstein Foundation has been promoting science and research in Berlin for the last ten years. With its interdisciplinary and cross-institutional funding structures, the foundation continues to make long-term contributions to Berlin’s status as a research hub. It has funded over 135 researchers, including three Nobel Prize winners, 66 projects, and six Einstein Centers.

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