The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is establishing five new Research Units. This was decided by the DFG Senate at its October meeting. The purpose of the research collaborations is to offer researchers the possibility to pursue current, pressing issues in their subject areas and to establish innovative work directions.
Like with all DFG Research Units, collaboration will be interdisciplinary and span multiple locations. In the initial 3-year funding period, they will receive approximately 12 million euros. The DFG is thus currently supporting a total of 205 Research Units.
The new Research Units
(in alphabetical order by host university)
The "Data Assimilation for Improved Characterisation of Fluxes across Compartmental Interfaces" Research Unit will use complex and dynamic models to simulate water and energy flows from the ground water up to the atmosphere. Soil physicists and geophysicists, hydrogeologists and meteorologists will work with environmental physicists and experts in fluid mechanics from the universities of Augsburg, Bonn, Hamburg, Hanover and T-bingen and the Helmholtz Association institutes in J-lich and Leipzig to develop and thoroughly test data assimilation techniques. The researchers hope that the results and models will provide better options for weather and climate forecasting and improve quality assurance in water management, thus delivering fresh impetus to interdisciplinary research in a number of areas related to the environment.
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Clemens Simmer, University of Bonn)
The Bcl-2 (b-cell-lymphoma 2) family of proteins plays an important part in regulating programmed cell death. Over recent years, research has shown that complex molecular interactions in some members of the family facilitate cell death while others prevent it. Mutations and faulty regulation can contribute to the emergence and the development of therapy resistance in some types of cancer such as chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The new Research Unit aims to provide "New Insights into Bcl-2 Family Interactions: From Biophysics to Function". Working groups from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will combine basic and pre-clinical research in an interdisciplinary approach that draws on and links biophysics, cellular and molecular biology, protein chemistry and human pathology. The desired outcome is a better understanding of the complex regulation of the Bcl-2 network in normal physiological processes and in pathogenesis, such as in normal and in malignant and abnormal haematosis.
(Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Brunner, University of Constance)