DFG To Fund Four New Research Units

July 15, 1998

The Grants Committee of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has decided to set up four new research units. This programme is designed to help establish new lines of research which to date have not adequately, or not at all, been pursued in Germany. The four units will be based in Chemnitz, Dresden, Munich as well as Mannheim and Heidelberg.

Anatomists, biochemists, surgeons and materials scientists at Dresden Technical University will embark on a search for better implants in the research unit "Studies of, and interactions at, biologised bone-implant interfaces". They will strive to find materials for implants which bond more firmly to human bone than has been possible so far. The researchers will try to gain a better understanding of the interactions of animate and inanimate matter and expect to come up with fundamental findings to be used in designing biologised implant surfaces.

If formerly a farmer knew exactly what the yield of each square meter of land was, this is hardly possible any more today due to ever increasing farming areas, the recruitment of external labour and inter-farm machine use. This is the issue to be tackled by the interdisciplinary research unit "Information system for small-scale farm management - Dürnast" at Munich's Technical University and Ludwig Maximilian University. At the Dürnast experimental farm the unit will develop tools for effective farm management, taking into account the ecological aspect as well. Among other things, the scientists also plan to use the satellite-based GPS positioning system.

At Chemnitz Technical University the DFG will set up the research unit "New media in everyday life: from individual use to sociocultural change". Psychologists, computer scientists, linguists and literary scholars will study the fundamental cultural change spawned by the everyday use of the new media.

The scientists also intend to identify user-oriented ways of providing information in the Internet and study empirically which methods of working with the new media have developed.

Mathematicians at the universities of Heidelberg and Mannheim will embark on a study of arithmetic, i.e. the theory of the types of numbers and their computational laws. They will use a wide range of mathematical methods to discover the relations between arithmetic geometry, the theory of representation, number theory and certain physical structures. They will focus on studying basic structures in number theory in particular.

As a rule, research units consist of scientists investigating a common scientific problem at the same university. Research units are set up when a small, but scientifically significant theme requires the cooperation of several scientists. The four new research units will now start their activities. For the time being, the DFG will fund them for a period of two years, providing a total of about DM 5.9 million. Another DM 2.1 million are earmarked for the third year. Typically, the programmes run for six years.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
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