From modern metropolises to ultra-cold matter

November 24, 2011

To further enhance the promotion of early-career researchers in Germany, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has approved the establishment of 16 new Research Training Groups. This decision was made by the DFG's relevant Grants Committee in Bonn. The new Research Training Groups will enable doctoral researchers to complete their training at a high, specialised level within a structured research and qualification programme.

Four of the new units are International Research Training Groups that cooperate closely with universities in Canada, the USA and Austria. Internationality increases the attractiveness of completing a doctorate within the scope of a Research Training Group. In addition, interdisciplinarity promotes cross-border cooperation with universities and other research institutions. Diverse types and forms of cooperation also contribute towards the structural development of the programme.

The DFG will provide approximately 50 million euros during the initial 4.5-year funding period, including a programme allowance for indirect project costs. In addition to establishing the 16 new collaborations, the Grants Committee also approved the continuation of one International Research Training Group. The DFG currently funds 199 Research Training Groups, 45 of which are international.

The new Research Training Groups (RTG) and International Research Training Groups (IRTG) are listed in alphabetical order by host university:

The overall theme of RTG 1845 is theoretical research on methods of stochastic analysis. These are decisive for many problems in physics, biology and finance. Research applications range from population dynamics to market mechanisms and from dynamic climate models to statistical conclusions for stochastic jump processes. The focus is on how to improve techniques of stochastic analysis and the dynamics of stochastic differential equations. (Host University: Humboldt Universität zu Berlin; Spokesperson: Prof. Peter Imkeller)

Architecture, mobility and communication - these are just a few of many factors that play a central role in the development of modern metropolises. Little research has been done to date on the historical dimensions of this interplay. While urban researchers, such as geographers and architects, primarily perceive globalisation to be a current phenomenon, historians who investigate the long-term phenomena of structural change have hardly looked into the role and significance of cities in the process of globalisation. IGK 1705 will investigate this field of research in a transatlantic cooperation between German, Canadian and American researchers in order to enhance the dialogue between the humanities and interdisciplinary urban research. (Host University: Technische Universität Berlin; Spokesperson: Prof. Dorothee Brantz; Cooperating Partners: Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University, The City University of New York, USA, University of Toronto, York University Toronto, Canada)

In the digital age, medical implant communication and communication between automobiles have long since become reality. The applications generally do not work within closed networks, but transmit data between small embedded nodes and the "cloud," which is generally a very large and usually not sharply defined network of servers and PCs. In this way, the new forms of application show considerable requirements for extra security, for example in the case of intelligent traffic control. RTG 1817 "New Challenges for Cryptography in Ubiquitions Computing" is aimed at researching the mathematical foundations for security in applications that are widely available. Researchers also want to work out innovative methods and use real examples, such as the electronic ID card, for implementation, which will involve cooperation with a university of applied science. (Host University: Ruhr-Universität Bochum; Spokesperson: Prof. Christof Paar)

The objective of RTG 1763 is to conduct comprehensive research on quantitative logics and automata as a modern aid to theoretical informatics. The fields of knowledge representation and the machine processing of natural speech are potential areas of application. These require solidly based informatics modelling that takes quantitative phenomena, such as time intervals and spatial information, into consideration. Automata and logics are applied to modelling in many areas of informatics, whereby both modelling approaches often complement each other in a useful manner. The researchers want to use this novel approach to better understand the connection between automata and logics, for example to better develop combinatorial and sequential circuitry. (Host University: TU Dresden; Spokesperson: Prof. Franz Baader)

Planning, developing and implementing heterogeneous image systems is the intention of RTG 1773. Systems for processing, generating and transmitting digital images often have high requirements in terms of computing performance, data throughput and costs. This can be seen in examples including medical image processing and computer game applications. The imaging systems are heterogeneous in two ways: first of all, computing is distributed to several various types of components within a system and secondly, there is a large heterogeneous amount of architectures upon which various image applications are to run. Both types of heterogeneity will be investigated by this Research Training Group. (Host University: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg; Spokesperson: Prof. Marc Stamminger)

The research projects covered by RTG 1821 "Cohomological Methods in Geometry" range from mathematical physics to number theory. Despite the large thematic breadth, the methods used are closely linked to each other, which can also be seen in the so-called cohomology. This refers to a diverse tool that can be applied to all geometrical disciplines. Through combining approaches from abstract algebra and concrete geometry, the research group hopes to achieve new research findings. (Host University: University of Freiburg; Spokesperson: Prof. Annette Huber-Klawitter)

The interplay between fact and fiction in various types of text is the topic of RTG 1767. "Factual narrative" can be understood as narrative styles that refer to the reality of their addressees in terms of context. Researchers will be investigating the question of how factual narrative is used in various genres - also taking into account their own usage context. Here, fields of research beyond literary science will also be integrated within the analysis; the interdisciplinary cooperation will also include the fields of history and therapeutic psychology as well as jurisprudence. (Host University: University of Freiburg; Spokesperson: Prof. Monika Fludernik)

RTG 1729 will research the fundamental characteristics and applications of ultra-cold matter. Both theoreticians and experimental physicists will cooperate on this project. Researchers from various areas of atomic and molecular physics, quantum optics and metrology want to gain new insights into the characteristics of quantum gases. In this way, research approaches are also used for ultra-cold polar molecules, degenerate quantum gases from alkali earth atoms or strongly correlated atomic gases. (Host University: Leibniz Universität Hannover: Spokesperson; Prof. Luis Santos)

Chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease are only partially genetic. In many cases, environmental factors are suspected as being responsible for an illness or as having a favourable effect upon its progress. RTG 1743 "Genes, Environment and Inflammation" will investigate the impact of environmental factors upon processes of complex, chronic diseases. In this way, pathogenic triggers and mechanisms are to be newly identified. It is possible that this will also provide approaches for new types of therapy. (Host University: Kiel University; Spokesperson: Prof. André Franke)

RTG 1782 will be researching the "functionalisation of semiconductors". The main objective of the researchers will be to combine classical semiconductor materials with tailor-made structures such as organic molecules, thus providing the semiconductors with new qualities and functionalities. The "functionalised" semiconductors developed in this way have a great potential for future applications in electronics and photonics. In order to successfully investigate this key area of research, the RTG will address layer manufacture and the chemical synthesis of suitable precursor chemicals as well as the characterisation and theoretical modelling of these processes. (Host University: Philipps-Universität Marburg; Spokesperson: Prof. Kerstin Volz)

Many application problems in physics, chemistry, biology, engineering and economics refer to mathematical models with partial differential equations (PDEs). Such problems are often characterised by various types of so-called non-smooth structures, such as singularities or interfaces. The efficient solution of the formula systems involved is the objective of IRTG 1754 and requires innovative usability of the PDEs. The participating institutes in Munich and Graz (Austria) have expertise in applied mathematics and rely upon cross-border cooperation between mathematicians from the fields of numerical analysis, optimisation and modelling. (Host University: TU München; Spokesperson: Prof. Boris Vexler; Cooperating partner - depending upon agreement by an Austrian partner organisation: University of Graz, Graz University of Technology, Austria)

Informatics systems that work within an environment and interact with it are the focus of RTG 1765 "System Correctness under Adverse Conditions". System correctness means that cooperation between the environment and the system fulfils a given specification of the behaviour qualities required. Scientists will investigate the question of system correctness with a view to the behaviour of a system and its effects upon the system context and verification measures. In addition, they will research the correctness definitions with the objective of testing and further developing the robustness of system behaviour. (Host University: University of Oldenburg; Spokesperson: Prof. Ernst-Rüdiger Olderog)

The connection between "wicked" policy problems and the organisational development of public administration will be investigated by RTG 1744. Wicked problems characterise themselves by a high measure of complexity, insecurity and ambiguity. For this reason, they pose a fundamental challenge for the organisation of public administration at local, national and international levels. In order to define phenomena in organisational change, the primary focus will be on how various types of public administration develop organisational knowledge, coordination and strategies and how they are interdependent. (Host University: University of Potsdam; Spokesperson: Prof. Klaus H. Goetz)

Malfunctions of membrane proteins can lead to severe illnesses in humans, such as autoimmune diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, and Alzheimer's disease. In addition to this, changes in the activity of these proteins lead to dramatic changes in the development and adaptation processes of animal and vegetable cells. In close cooperation with the University of Alberta (Canada), IRTG 1830 "Complex Membrane Proteins in Cellular Development and Disease" will examine selected membrane proteins, their modification and mutation and mechanisms of protein folding as well as their role in development processes and certain illnesses. (Host University: Saarland University, Saarbrücken, University of Kaiserslautern; Spokesperson: Prof. Richard Zimmermann, Prof. Ekkehard Neuhaus; Cooperating partner; University of Alberta, Canada)

So-called geomedia, such as Google Earth, are gaining significance. These are media that reorganise our interaction with space and location and the content and use of which change in accordance with the specific physical place. Examples include multimedia city maps or route planners that aid you in orienting yourself anywhere in world. Within the context of global digital networking and the spreading of new mobile end devices, this development is becoming more and more important. RTG 1769 "Locating Media" will examine the far-reaching sociological changes that result from the rapid technical progress of this media and its use. Doctoral researchers from sociology, informatics and cultural science will cooperate to further develop approaches from media science and theory construction. (Host University: University of Siegen; Spokesperson: Prof. Erhard Schüttpelz)

Ground water is the world's most important source of potable water. The volume and quality are influenced by overuse, pollution and changes in biogeochemical conditions. To sustainably manage ground water resources, models are necessary that simulate all relevant processes as an interactive system. IRTG 1829 "Integrated Hydrosystem Modelling" joins German and Canadian researchers from geosciences, physics and vegetation ecology. Its primary objectives are to examine hydrological and biochemical basics and further develop new integrated model tools. This should contribute to a deeper understanding of the processes that define or change water quantity and quality in a catchment area. (Host University: University of Tübingen; Spokesperson: Prof. Olaf A. Cirpka; Cooperating partner; University of Waterloo, Canada)
Further Information

Further information about the individual Research Training Groups can be obtained from their spokespersons.

Additional information about the programme and the funded groups is available at:

Contact at the DFG Head Office
Dr. Annette Schmidtmann, Head of Research Careers Division, Tel. +49 228 885-2424,

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft

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