11 November 2019, by Viola Griehl
Photo: German Research Foundation
Office of the DFG in Bonn
Universität Hamburg enjoys another resounding success with the German Research Foundation (DFG) DFG has approved and will fund all 4 research training groups (RTGs) to the tune of €19.3 million in total. The research training groups will begin their work in April 2020 in the Departments of Economics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics.
The interdisciplinary research program of the Research Training Group “Collective Decisions” focuses on various decision-making processes such as voting and deliberation (seeking consensus), political competition, and questions of responsibility for collective decision-making. Against the current backdrop of challenges or even threats to democratic structures and established alliances in many countries (see, for example, Brexit), this issues could not be more pressing. Research incorporates theories and methods from 3 main areas: political science, economics, and philosophy. Prof. Dr. Anke Gerber from the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences is the RTG’s spokesperson.
In the Research Training Group “Biota-Mediate Effects on Carbon Cycling in Estuaries” (BiCEst), researchers will investigate the impact of various organisms such as plants, animals, and micro-organisms on the carbon cycle of estuaries. Estuaries are the wider parts of a river that then flows into the open sea. They form an important part of the marine and global carbon cycle. However, they also number among the most threatened systems. The reasons are global warming and the attendant rise in sea-levels, increased nutrient pollution, and changes in land and water use. Researchers will analyze the Elbe estuary to determine the significance of organisms and their interactions in the carbon cycle. The goal is to document the effects of global climate change on the carbon cycle. Greater understanding of these processes should help us to better illustrate the effects of organisms on the carbon cycle in Earth system models. Prof. Dr. Kai Jensen is the spokesperson for the BiCEst Research Training Group, which is coordinated in the Department of Biology.
Research Training Group “Hybrid Structures on the Nanoscale: Chemical Concepts to Prepare Heterogeneous Nanostructures with Anisotropic Material Properties” (NANOHYBRID) is coordinated in the Department of Chemistry. Researchers want to create nanoscopic hybrid systems with special material properties, meaning materials made of building blocks the size of a millionth of a millimeter. For the past several years, these materials have been intensively researched but it was only in recent years that, in addition to the size of the nanostructures their form has become significant with regard to their properties. In NANOHYBRID, researchers want to develop innovative chemical concepts to create, link, and analyze these kinds of nanostructures. Prof. Dr. Alf Mews from the Department of Chemistry is the RTG’s spokesperson.
The Research Training Group “Modeling, Simulation and Optimization of Fluid Dynamic Applications” run jointly with the Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH) aims to provide early career researchers with holistic and application-oriented training in the mathematical disciplines of modeling, simulation, and optimization. Training and research will take place in line with the principle “mathematics drives applications—applications inspire mathematics.” The researchers will address relevant issues in climate research, meteorology, aerospace-and nautical engineering, and medicine. The RTG will be integrated into the Lothar Collatz Center for Computing in Science. Prof Dr. Armin Iske from the Department of Mathematics at Universität Hamburg is the spokesperson; Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Rung from the Institute of Fluid Dynamics and Ship Theory at the Hamburg University of Technology is his deputy.
Katharina Fegebank, senator for science, research and equalities, said: “The approval of all 4 grant applications for DFG RTG funding is a terrific achievement for Universität Hamburg and the Hamburg University of Technology and I warmly congratulate you!” Following success in the Excellence Strategy, Hamburg as a center of scientific endeavor has once again been provide to be a place where young researches can expect optimal conditions. These include ambitious, multi-disciplinary research programs and a stimulating environment in which they can familiarize themselves with state-of-the-art equipment and methods. The approved RTGs will contribute further to defining Hamburg’s research profile and international visibility by fortifying the core research areas Climate, Earth, Environment and Photon and Nanosciences. The fourth RTG, Collective Decisions, is especially politically relevant and strengthens the area of potential Grounds, Causes,Reasons.
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Dieter Lenzen, president of Universität Hamburg, said: “The extraordinary success of the researchers at the University of Excellence Universität Hamburg deserves our highest admiration. I thank everyone who made this further achievement at the University in its 100th anniversary year possible. The outstanding result shows that purposeful strategic university planning and things like equanimity and the absence of undue pressure are the cornerstones of excellent university development.”