Opportunities for structured doctoral research

DFG sets up 34 new research training groups

With the establishment of 34 new Research Training Groups, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) continues to promote structured doctoral programmes. The new Research Training Groups, decided upon by the responsible Grants Committee on 21 June 2006, will offer doctoral students the chance to gain interdisciplinary expertise on topics such as brain signalling, the value system associated with human dignity, and complex stochastic processes, and to get an early start as independent researchers. In the nine new International Research Training Groups the funding recipients will, in addition, be cooperating directly with research partners from outside Germany. The DFG currently funds a total of 283 Training Research Groups, 53 of which are international.

The newly approved Research Training Groups are listed below, by host university, in alphabetical order:

The "Interart Studies" International Research Training Group will investigate the shift away from individual artistic genres to cross-genre approaches such as performance, intermedia and other hybrid forms, as well as the dissolution of the borders that define "art" as such. (Spokesperson: Professor Erika Fischer-Lichte, Free University of Berlin; cooperation partner: University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

In the last forty years, discrete mathematics, the research field of the "Methods for Discrete Structures" Research Training Group, has established its place as an independent discipline between mathematics and computer science and makes essential contributions to important areas of application such as logistics, telecommunications, transportation planning, computer graphics, as well as gene sequencing and other topics in bioinformatics. (Spokesperson: Professor Günter Ziegler, Technical University of Berlin)

Modern probability calculation is used in areas such as physics, finance and climate research. The International Research Training Group "Stochastic Models of Complex Processes and Their Applications" will investigate processes from these fields with the help of stochastic methods – from mathematical modelling and analyses to numerical treatment and the use of tools from statistics. (Spokesperson: Professor Anton Bovier, Technical University of Berlin; cooperation partner: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland)

The concept behind the Research Training Group "Non-metallic Porous Structures for Physical-Chemical Functions" is the utilization of porous ceramic structures in energy management and chemical engineering. To this end, material scientists will work together with chemical-, fluid- and combustion engineers, physicists, chemists and mathematicians. (Spokesperson: Professor Georg Grathwohl, University of Bremen)

The object of research for the "Topology of Technology" Research Training Group is the area of tension between technology and space. The group will investigate the process of mechanisation with regard to its spatial, space altering and space creating aspects. (Spokespersons: Professor Petra Gehring, Professor Mikael Hard, Technical University of Darmstadt)

The Research Training Group "Dynamic System Modelling of Aircraft Engines", in close cooperation with Rolls Royce Germany, has set itself the task of developing new methods, models and technologies that allow the dynamic behaviour of these highly stressed machines to be analysed more accurately and to be controlled up to their load limit, thereby enabling the safety and performance of the machines to be significantly improved. (Spokesperson: Professor Johannes Janicka, Technical University of Darmstadt)

With a view to applications in emergency management, the Research Training Group "Cooperative, Adaptive und Responsive Monitoring in Mixed Environments" will deal with the navigation and coordination of groups of independent vehicles as well as the monitoring of mixed environments with different equipment of varying robustness. (Spokesperson: Professor Alejandro Buchmann, Technical University of Darmstadt)

The ever increasing demands on packaging technology, which merges functional components into technical systems, will be addressed by the "Nano- and Biotechniques for Electronic Device Packaging" Research Training Group. The group intends to develop packaging solutions for systems with extreme demands. The focus of their research is to utilise materials and technologies for packaging that up to now have not been used in electronics. (Spokesperson: Professor Gerald Gerlach, Technical University of Dresden)

The focus of the Research Training Group "Transcription, Chromatin Structure and DNA Repair in Development and Differentiation" is the question of how the processes named in the title control the development of individual cells and entire organisms. (Spokesperson: Professor Ann Ehrenhofer-Murray, University of Duisburg-Essen)

Food safety is a central concern with ever increasing public significance. For the purpose of valid risk management, the Research Training Group "Food Constituents as Triggers of Nuclear Receptor-Mediated Intestinal Signalling" has taken on the task of establishing a reliable scientific basis for the effects of food. (Spokesperson: Professor Regine Kahl, University of Düsseldorf)

Microsystems are found in a rapidly increasing number of areas in our lives, such as in sensor networks, decentralised monitoring and intervention systems in medicine or in building automation. The "Micro Energy Harvesting" Research Training Group is concerned with the power supply of these systems. (Spokesperson: Professor Peter Woias, University of Freiburg)

In the International Research Training Group "Enzymes and Multienzyme Complexes Acting on Nucleic Acids", German, Russian, Latvian and Polish scientists will work on enzymes and enzymes complexes that copy, cut, modify and repair genetic information (DNA) and look after its gene expression. In this process, they do not restrict themselves to single molecules, but regard them as components of larger networks or molecular machines. (Spokesperson: Dr. Peter Friedhoff, University of Gießen; cooperation partner: M.V. Lomonosov, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation)

Metal ions are essential for many biochemical processes. That is why the International Research Training Group "Metal Sites in Biomolecules: Structures, Regulation and Mechanisms" will examine the regulation and the molecular mechanisms of metalo-biological functions. By working at the intersection between chemistry and biology, the German and Swedish researchers hope to lay the basis for related medical, environmental and molecular-biological research. (Coordinator: Professor Franc Meyer, University of Göttingen; cooperation partner: Lund University, Sweden)

Since 1995, more than a hundred planets orbiting stars other than our sun have been identified. Most of the systems are radically different from our solar system. In Hamburg, Göttingen and Katlenburg, the Research Training Group "Extrasolar Planets and their Host Stars" will examine, among other things, the origin and history of these planets. (Spokesperson: Professor Jürgen Schmitt, University of Hamburg).

The Research Training Group "Physics with New Advanced Coherent Light Sources" is dedicated to the development, characterisation and the use of modern radiation sources such as crystalline waveguide lasers, photonic fibre lasers, optical fs-lasers, free electron lasers, synchrotron radiation sources and atom lasers for light and matter waves. (Spokesperson: Professor Klaus Sengstock, University of Hamburg)

As a result of their increasing frequency, their sometimes serious progress and the danger that they may become chronic, allergies represent a genuine health problem. The Research Training Group "Regulation of the Allergic Response in Lung and Skin" is concerned with an interdisciplinary approach to the inflammation processes of the respiratory tracts, the lungs and the skin. (Spokesperson: Professor Thomas Werfel, Medical University of Hannover)

Hybrid materials, compounds of several materials, are becoming ever more important in modern light construction. For that reason, a newly established Research Training Group in Hannover is dedicated to the research of the "Manufacture, Machining and Qualification of Hybrid Material Systems". (Spokesperson: Professor Friedrich-Wilhelm Bach, University of Hannover)

The Research Training Group "Human Dignity and Human Rights – Genesis, Development and Application of Central Values of Modernity" is concerned with the historical and social context of the origin of these ideas, the philosophical and theological attempts at their justification and legitimation and the challenges associated with these ideas that result from the current socio-economic situation. (Spokespersons: Professor Hans Joas, University of Erfurt; Professor Nikolaus Knoepffler, University of Jena)

In the Research Training Group, "Cultural Orientations and Institutional Order in Southeastern Europe", the topic of research is the adaptation of Southeastern Europe to the structures of European integration and problems accompanying that adaptation, from the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire to the present. (Spokesperson: Professor Joachim von Puttkamer, University of Jena)

"The Economics of Innovative Change" is a Research Training Group that will deal with questions on and approaches to the economic dynamics of companies, markets, industrial sectors and regions. (Spokesperson: Professor Uwe Cantner, University of Jena)

"Regulation of Soil Organic Matter and Nutrient Turnover in Organic Agriculture" is an important problem for organic farming and the research topic of a new Research Training Group, because soil organic matter and nutrients are of decisive importance for the fertility and long-term productivity of soil. (Spokesperson: Professor Bernard Ludwig, University of Kassel)

In the International Research Training Group "Self-organising Materials for Optoelectronics", the focus is on new materials that are to be used in applications such as display screens and solar cells. (Spokesperson: Professor Rudolf Zentel, University of Mainz; cooperation partner: Seoul National University, Korea)

Scientists from Germany and the USA, in the International Research Training Group "Brain Signalling: From Neurons to Circuits", will visualise neural activity, examine hearing and sight and compare the two systems in computer simulations. (Spokesperson: Professor Arthur Konnerth, Technical University of Munich; cooperation partner: Georgetown University, Washington, USA)

With the title "Negotiating Processes of the Civil Society from the 19th Century to the Present - Germany and the Netherlands Compared", researchers in Münster will investigate how citizens organise themselves as the actors of civil society and how they act in the state and the market in response to changing political structures. (Spokesperson: Professor Friso Wielange, University of Münster)

The International Research Training Group "The Structure of Supramolecular Functional Spaces – Container Molecules, Macrocycles and related Compounds" is concerned with new materials, which can absorb smaller structures and molecules into cavities. They can act as depositories and as a means of transport and so, for example, influence reactivities. (Spokesperson: Professor Werner Uhl, University of Munster; cooperation partner: Holland Research School of Molecular Chemistry, Amsterdam, Leiden, Netherlands)

The Research Training Group "Molecular Interactions of Pathogens with Biotic and Abiotic Surfaces" is concerned with the molecular signals and mechanisms that alternately occur when pathogens attempt to penetrate their victims, and with the consequences of this for the outcome of an infection. (Spokesperson: Professor Alexander Schmidt, University of Münster)

"Shaping the Earth's Surface in a Variable Environment: Interactions between Tectonics, Climate and Biosphere in the African-Asian Monsoonal Region" is the name of a Research Training Group that will compare tectonics and climate and the affects on the biosphere over different size and time scales. (Spokesperson: Professor Manfred Strecker, University of Potsdam)

Biologically regenerative systems can overcome disturbances with their own resources and adapt to environments that are at first unknown or continually changing. The Research Training Group "dIEM oSiRiS - Integrative Development of Modelling and Simulation Methods for Regenerative Systems" will investigate the modelling and simulation of regenerative systems from biology and medicine and their interacting and heterogeneous subsystems. (Spokesperson: Professor Adeline Maria Uhrmacher, University of Rostock)

How groups of mobile "intelligent" devices, such as laptops and video projectors, can interact to achieve common goals and support the user, is the research topic of the "MUSAMA – Multimodal Smart Appliance Ensembles for Mobile Applications" Research Training Group. (Spokesperson: Professor Thomas Kirste, University of Rostock)

The problem of "Non-linearities and Upscaling in Porous Media" is not only the research topic of an International Research Training Group, but also one of the major challenges for technical and environment-related applications in the field of fluid and transport phenomena. This is due to the fact that physical, (geo-) chemical and biological processes interact in porous media such as soil, and fuel, and influence transport in this way. (Spokesperson: Professor Rainer Helmig, University of Stuttgart; cooperation partner: Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Utrecht, Netherlands)

Corticosteroide and other stress hormones influence, among other things, cognition and emotion. The International Research Training Group "Psychoneuroendocrinology of Stress: From Molecules and Genes to Affect and Cognition" will investigate the connections between the gene and behaviour. (Spokesperson: Professor Hartmut Schächinger, University of Trier; cooperation partner: Leiden University, Netherlands)

The Research Training Group "Cooperation of Science and Jurisprudence in Improving Development and Use of Standards for Integrated Environmental Protection" will examine an integrated environmental protection, whose fundamental idea is an approach to the burdened environment where individual media, such as water, soil and air, but also biological diversity and medical and cultural aspects, are considered as a unit and not individually. (Spokesperson: Professor Reinhard Hendler, University of Trier)

The goal of the Research Training Group "Processing of Affective Stimuli: From the Molecular Basis to the Emotional Experience" is to identify decisive variables in the processing of such stimuli. In order to cover the research field thoroughly, philosophers, psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, anatomists and physiologists will work together in Würzburg. (Spokesperson: Professor Paul Pauli, University of Würzburg)

The Research Training Group "Molecular and Functional Analysis of Lipid-Based Signal Transduction Systems" will investigate lipids in biological membranes. (Spokesperson: Professor Martin Johannes Ernst Müller, University of Würzburg)


Further Information

Information, contact names and lists of all DFG-funded Research Training Groups can be found on the internet at www.dfg.de/gk/en.

Questions on Research Training Groups may be addressed to
Dr. Priya Bondre-Beil
tel.: +49 (0) 228-885-2488
email: [email protected].

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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