DFG To Set Up 32 New Postgraduate Research Groups - First "Virtual Research Group"

May 15, 1998

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has decided to set up 32 new postgraduate research groups. Under this programme the DFG has been promoting - since 1990 - especially qualified doctoral candidates of all scientific disciplines, ranging from natural sciences and the humanities to biosciences and engineering sciences. The responsible grants committee selected 32 research groups from a total of 90 applications.

This is the first time that the DFG will establish a "virtual" postgraduate research group which will study, from the psychological angle, how knowledge is acquired and exchanged via the new media, especially the Internet. This research group will be based at different locations in various federal states: University teachers and doctoral candidates at the universities of Tübingen, Heidelberg, Freiburg, Saarbrücken and Greifswald will communicate via the Internet, using teaching events and discussion forums especially developed for this medium.

In Karlsruhe, a new natural science postgraduate research group will focus on natural disasters. Engineers, economists and computer scientists will cooperate in this interdisciplinary exercise. Doctoral candidates will acquire knowledge of earthquakes, floods and other disasters, learn methods used in mathematics and computer science, study the economic implications of natural disasters and develop solutions for coping with such events.

In a new bioscience postgraduate research group to be set up in Hamburg glucose molecules at cell surfaces, so-called glyco-conjugates, will be studied by chemists, biologists and medical scientists. This interdisciplinary project will focus on the synthesis, analysis, structure and function of such biochemically active substances.

A new engineering science group based in Chemnitz will investigate renewable energy sources. The main focus of the study programme will be on energy management and the utilisation of wind and solar energy.

The creative process of the artist will be studied by a new postgraduate research group set up in the humanities in Berlin. It will be the first research group to be established at an academy of art. Under this programme art scholars, musicologists, educationists and literary scholars will look into the production of works of art and the working processes of artists.

In postgraduate research groups, 15 to 25 doctoral candidates work under an innovative and mostly interdisciplinary research and study programme under the direction a group of professors renowned as researchers and university teachers. About half of the students receive DFG fellowships from federal and state government grants, the rest are supported by the university. At the moment, about ten per cent of all doctoral candidates in Germany are working for their Ph.D. in postgraduate research groups. As a rule, former members of postgraduate research groups have more comprehensive qualifications and are, on average, two years younger than their fellow students.

At 330, the total number of postgraduate research groups temporarily exceeds the target of 300. This is intended to prevent a gap in funding and promotion, as about 50 of these programmes which have a nine-year duration will expire next year.

The new postgraduate research groups include:

Biosciences
'Bone substance and loss of structure: integration of cell function, biomechanics, clinical aspects and therapy'; Hamburg 'Biochemistry of enzymes'; Freiburg
'Diagnostic and therapeutic concepts in molecular medicine'; Ulm 'Glyco-conjugates: isolation, analysis, structure and function'; Hamburg 'Signalling systems and gene expression in evolutionary biology models'; Heidelberg 'Molecular veterinary medicine'; Giessen 'Vascular biology'; Munich
'Evolutive transformations and faunal breaks'; HU Berlin

Humanities
'Gerontology in psychology and psychiatry: psychological potentials and limitations of old age'; FU Berlin 'Modern knowledge areas. Emergence and development of a European information culture; Augsburg 'Practice and theory of the creative process of the artist'; Hochschule der Künste, Berlin 'Acquisition and exchange of knowledge via the new media'; Tübingen 'Anatolia and its neighbours. Cultural interaction and the development of civilisation from the neolithic period to Imperial Rome'; Tübingen 'Experience of time and aesthetic perception'; Frankfurt/Main 'Premodern concepts of time and past'; Cologne 'Environmental and resource economics'; Heidelberg 'Law and economics, new types of private sector cooperation and civil law liability'; University of Hamburg 'Pale-ecosystem research and history'; Regensburg 'Travel literature and cultural anthropology'; Paderborn

Engineering sciences
'Knowledge presentation'; Leipzig
'Interaction of structure and fluid'; Braunschweig 'Energy supply from renewable energy sources'; Chemnitz 'Processing, management, presentation and transfer of multimedia data - technical basis and social implications'; Rostock 'Infrastructure for the electronic marketplace'; Darmstadt 'Optical measuring methods in engineering sciences'; Bochum

Natural sciences
'Methods of asymmetrical synthesis (synthesis, spectroscopy and dynamics of the development of optically active molecules)'; Aachen 'The relief - a structured and changeable interface'; Bonn 'Natural disasters'; Karlsruhe
'Applied algorithmic mathematics'; TU Munich 'Chemistry in inter-phases - synthesis, dynamics and application of polymer-fixated reaction centres'; Tübingen 'Modern magnetic resonance methods in materials research'; Stuttgart 'Conservation laws in modelling and simulating marine, atmospheric and technical systems'; University of Hamburg
-end-


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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