06 May 2009   |   News

First three DFG centres of excellence have funding extended

The German research foundation (DFG) is to extend funding for its collaborative research Excellence Initiative institutions in Bremen, Karlsruhe and Würzburg.


The German research foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has said it will extend funding for its collaborative research Excellence Initiative institutions in Bremen, Karlsruhe and Würzburg for another four years, following independent reviews of their scientific achievements and contributions to capacity-building.

The Research Centres were established in 2001 to specialise in the Ocean in the Earth System in Bremen, Functional Nanostructures in Karlsruhe, and Experimental Biomedicine in Würzburg. Each of the three will now receive total funding of approximately €25 million in the next four years.

In recent months, the three centres were reviewed by high-calibre peer review panels and were unanimously recommended for continued funding. “The centres represent top-level research at the highest international level and the successful bundling of scientific know-how in particularly forward-looking fields of research,” said DFG Matthias Kleiner.

The Research Centres were established by the DFG in mid-2001 as a completely new and strategic funding instrument. Working together in these centres are both various departments and institutes of the respective universities and non-university research institutions. “With these diverse collaborations and with their cumulative scientific expertise, the Research Centres have, thus, also become a model for the clusters of excellence in the Excellence Initiative of the federal and state governments,” said Kleiner.

For the institutions in Bremen, Karlsruhe and Würzburg, all of which already received positive reviews and extensions in early 2005, this marks the beginning of the third funding period. Since then, all three have been able to continue their successfully started research projects, as the reviewers emphasised in their recommendations.

According to the review panel, the work performed by the Research Centre for Functional Nanostructures in Karlsruhe, has “played a defining role in the field of nanoscience and earned the Centre a visible position in an area that is heavily observed and researched internationally.”

The Functional Nanostructures centre is important as a cornerstone of the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT), which is currently being established. This merges together the University of Karlsruhe and the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, part of the Helmholtz Association, to create new opportunities for cooperation and synergy.  

The reviewers said the Rudolf Virchow Centre for Experimental Biomedicine in Würzburg has also developed outstandingly over the past four years and, with its research of key proteins and the causes, diagnosis and therapy of illnesses, has shown itself to be competitive and visible on an international level. Particular mention was given to the high number of patents that have come from the research, with 18 registered in the last four years.

In addition, the Centre for Experimental Biomedicine is making an outstanding contribution towards equal opportunity for women researchers: 57 per cent of postdoctoral positions and 51 per cent of doctoral positions at the Würzburg institution are occupied by women.


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