14 new Collaborative Research Centres

Topics range from the gut-liver axis and cultures of vigilance to mechanical joinability in adaptable process chains / €164 million in funding for initial four-year period

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) is establishing 14 new Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs) to further support top-level research in German universities. This was decided by the responsible Grants Committee in Bonn. The new CRCs will receive a total of approximately €164 million in funding for an initial four-year period as of 1 July 2019. This includes a 22 percent programme allowance for indirect project costs. Six of the nine networks set up are CRC/Transregios, spread across multiple applicant universities.

In addition to the establishment of the 14 new groups, the Grants Committee also approved the extension of 27 existing CRCs for an additional funding period, including five CRC/Transregios. Collaborative Research Centres enable researchers to pursue innovative, challenging, complex and long-term research projects, thereby supporting the further development of core areas and structures at the applicant universities. CRCs are funded for a maximum of twelve years. From July 2019, the DFG will be funding a total of 278 CRCs.

The 14 new Collaborative Research Centres in detail

(in alphabetical order by their coordinating universities, including the names of spokespersons and additional applicant universities):

The gut and liver form a functional unit. In previous research, however, they were often regarded separately. The CRC “Gut-Liver Axis – Functional Circuits and Therapeutic Targets” will focus on how the two organs interact. The aim of the group is to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms and functional relationships between the gut and liver. The long-term aim is to develop therapeutic approaches for the targeted treatment of illnesses. (RWTH Aachen University, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Oliver Pabst)

Alcohol and tobacco consumption are the main global risk factors for death and disease. In view of this, the CRC/Transregio “Losing and Regaining Control over Drug Intake: From Trajectories to Mechanisms to Interventions” will be conducting research into this area. Since even moderate consumption causes serious health and societal issues, the collaboration will focus on people who consume moderate quantities of drugs, a group previously disregarded by research. (Charité Berlin – FU Berlin and HU Berlin, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Andreas Heinz; Additional applicant universities: TU Dresden, University of Heidelberg)

In the CRC/Transregio “Aortic Disease”, researchers and clinical researchers will work to deepen the fragmented understanding of basic principles in the pathogenesis of aortic diseases. It aims to contribute to the targeted development of new preventative and therapeutic approaches. (University of Bonn, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Georg Nickenig; Additional applicant universities: University of Düsseldorf, University of Cologne)

Little is currently known about the biogenesis of protein machineries, their organisation in modular units, the dynamic regulation of their structure and the impact of these complex processes on cellular functions. The researchers in the CRC “Dynamic Organization of Cellular Protein Machineries: From Biogenesis and Modular Assembly to Function” will examine these basic biological principles at the molecular level. Their aim is to extensively analyse the dynamic processes that define the action and reaction sequences in a living cell and thus lay the foundation for therapeutic strategies. (University of Freiburg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Chris Meisinger)

Glioblastoma is a malignant brain tumour that develops in children and adults and quickly becomes fatal in most cases. Although there are a number of approaches to treatment, patients only occasionally respond to these methods. This is due to the biological heterogeneity of the disease, which is still poorly understood. The CRC “Understanding and Targeting Resistance in Glioblastoma (UNITE Glioblastoma)” will study the fundamental mechanisms of treatment resistance and thus contribute to the development of individual and promising treatments for this disease. (University of Heidelberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wick)

The researchers of the CRC “Nonlinear Optics down to Atomic Scales (NOA)” hope to achieve a better understanding of the non-linear processes involved in the interaction between light and matter for nanostructured materials. To this end, tailor-made structures will be created to control light on scales that are smaller than its wavelength. This has not yet been possible. Using a combination of theory and experiment, the aim is to develop a concept for non-linear optics that can also be applied at the atomic level. (University of Jena, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Ulf Peschel)

Small-cell bronchial carcinoma is the most aggressive subtype of lung cancer. Although it initially responds to chemotherapy, in most cases the tumour quickly returns and becomes resistant to treatment. Very little is known about the factors behind the high recurrence rate. The CRC “Mechanisms of Drug Sensitivity and Resistance in Small Cell Lung Cancer” aims to analyse the tumour at the molecular level, using its findings to improve the success rate of the treatment. (University of Cologne, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Roman Thomas)

With a view to tapping into the multiple forms of vigilance and its history that has endured to the present day, the CRC “Cultures of Vigilance. Transformations – Spaces – Practices” brings together perspectives from history and law, ethnology, the history of medicine and literature, art and theatre studies. It will seek to clarify how individuals are culturally motivated and guided with regard to vigilance. It also aims to find out how they interact with political and social incentive systems as well as technical and institutional capabilities. (LMU Munich, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Arndt Brendecke)

The aim of the CRC/Transregio “Non-Coding RNA in the Cardiovascular System” is to gain a better understanding of the functions and mechanisms of non-coding RNA in the cardiovascular system. Their relevance to the emergence and progression of diseases will be explored in order to develop new forms of therapy over the long term. (Technical University of Munich, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Stefan Engelhardt; Additional applicant university: Goethe University Frankfurt)

In the CRC “Law and Literature”, researchers in the fields of literature and law will work together more closely than they have previously in Germany. This collaboration is based on the recognition that the disciplines’ analysis of the key questions of their respective counterpart has been fragmented. In view of the heated debates surrounding fact and fiction as well as the disappearance of traditional media and the emergence of a legal communication vacuum, it is important that there is research into the content, processes and forms of articulation of normative and aesthetic values. The CRC aims to incorporate the entire cultural region of Europe and the Mediterranean into its research. (University of Münster, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Klaus Stierstorfer)

In all fields of product manufacturing, such as automotive and mechanical engineering, individual parts are joined to structures with several connection points. The joinability of the parts is the key to efficient production processes. However, besides necessitating the prognosis of joinability, the growing number of combinations of materials and geometries requires that inflexible mechanical joining processes adapt. These currently need to be tailored to new combinations, which is complex. The CRC/Transregio “Method Development for Increasing Mechanical Joinability in Adaptable Process Chains” will research methods for increasing adaptability in the areas of materials (suitability for joining), construction (joining safety) and manufacturing (joining capability) as well as for joinability prognosis. (University of Paderborn, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerson Meschut; Additional applicant universities: TU Dresden, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

There has been little research to date on the consequences and driving factors of mounting regulations regarding the disclosure of previously internal company information and the growing trend of companies taking on more social responsibility. The CRC/Transregio “Accounting for Transparency” will examine how companies’ transparency is influenced by accounting methods and what impact corporate transparency has on society. These topics are relevant in view of the 2007 global financial crisis and the resulting demands for greater transparency. They are also a desideratum in business administration. (University of Paderborn, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Caren Sureth-Sloane; Additional applicant universities: HU Berlin, University of Mannheim)

Antibiotic resistance and the resulting decline in available antibiotics are a growing concern for the treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, the effects of an antibiotic on a target cell appear to be much greater than previously thought. The CRC/Transregio “Cellular Mechanisms of Antibiotic Action and Production” will investigate the biochemical production and effect mechanisms of antibiotics in further detail. The long-term objective is to contribute to the development of new antibiotics. (University of Tübingen, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Heike Brötz-Oesterhelt; Additional applicant university: University of Bonn)

The CRC “Alternative Aesthetics” will study the actions and artefacts of premodern, alternative aesthetics and examine art terms, artistic concepts and related actions from eras before the term ‘aesthetics’ was coined in Germany in the 18th century. It also aims to consolidate current debates surrounding the relevance of aesthetics with a deeper historical perspective and methodology, with a view to gaining a better understanding of current issues in art and society. (University of Tübingen, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Annette Gerok-Reiter)

The 27 CRCs extended for a further funding period

(in alphabetical order by their coordinating universities, including the names of spokespersons and additional applicant universities, with reference to project descriptions in the DFG online database GEPRIS):

CRC “Resistively Switching Chalcogenides for Future Electronics – Structure, Kinetics, and Device Scalability “Nanoswitches”” (RWTH Aachen University, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Matthias Wuttig) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/167917811

CRC “Affective Societies: Dynamics of Social Coexistence in Mobile Worlds” (FU Berlin, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Birgit Röttger-Rössler) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/258523721

CRC “Scaffolding of Membranes: Molecular Mechanisms and Cellular Functions” (FU Berlin, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Stephan J. Sigrist) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/184695641

CRC “Hybrid Inorganic/Organic Systems for Opto-Electronics” (HU Berlin, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Norbert Koch) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/182087777

CRC/Tansregio “Thermo-Energetic Design of Machine Tools – A Systemic Approach to Solve the Conflict between Power Efficiency, Accuracy and Productivity Demonstrated at the Example of Machining Production” (TU Dresden, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Brecher; Additional applicant universities: RWTH Aachen University, TU Chemnitz) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/174223256

CRC “Additive Manufacturing” (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Dietmar Drummer) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/61375930?language=en

CRC “Checkpoints for Resolution of Inflammation” (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Georg Schett) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/261193037

CRC “Molecular Principles of RNA-Based Regulation” (Goethe University Frankfurt, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Harald Schwalbe) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/161793742

CRC “Multi-Functional Filters for Metal Melt Filtration – A Contribution towards Zero Defect Materials” (TU Freiberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christos G. Aneziris) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/169148856

CRC “Immune-Mediated Pathology as a Consequence of Impaired Immune Reactions” (University of Freiburg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Stephan Ehl) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/256073931

CRC/Transregio “Polymers under Multiple Constraints: Restricted and Controlled Molecular Order and Mobility” (University of Halle-Wittenberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Thurn-Albrecht; Additional applicant university: University of Leipzig) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/189853844

CRC “Multi-Site Communication in the Brain” (University of Hamburg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Andreas K. Engel) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/178316478

CRC “Light Induced Dynamics and Control of Correlated Quantum Systems” (University of Hamburg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Klaus Sengstock) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/170620586

CRC “Process Chain for Manufacturing of Hybrid High Performance Components by Tailored Forming” (University of Hannover, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Bernd-Arno Behrens) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/252662854

CRC/Transregio “The Skin as Sensor and Effector Orchestrating Local and Systemic Immunity” (University of Heidelberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Alexander Enk; Additional applicant universities: University of Mainz, University of Tübingen) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/246807620

CRC “From Nociception to Chronic Pain: Structure-Function Properties of Neural Pathways and Their Reorganisation” (University of Heidelberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Rohini Kuner) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/255156212

CRC “Material Text Cultures. Materiality and Presence of Writing in Non-Typographic Societies” (University of Heidelberg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Ludger Lieb) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/178035969

CRC “Microscale Morphology of Component Surfaces (MICOS)” (TU Kaiserslautern, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Hans Hasse) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/172116086

CRC “Wave Phenomena: Analysis and Numerics” (KIT Karlsruhe, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Marlis Hochbruck) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/258734477?language=en

CRC/Transregio “Waves to Weather” (LMU Munich, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Georg Craig; Additional applicant universities: KIT Karlsruhe, University of Mainz) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/257899354

CRC “Trafficking of Immune Cells in Inflammation, Development and Disease” (LMU Munich, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Barbara Walzog) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/165054336

CRC “Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Yield and Yield Stability in Plants” (TU Munich, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Claus Schwechheimer) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/170483403

CRC “On-The-Fly Computing – Individualized IT Services in Dynamic Markets” (University of Paderborn, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Meyer auf der Heide) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/160364472

CRC “RNP Biogenesis: Assembly of Ribosomes and Non-Ribosomal RNPs and Control of Their Function” (University of Regensburg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Herbert Tschochner) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/185476941

CRC/Transregio “Quantitative Methods for Visual Computing” (University of Stuttgart, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Daniel Weiskopf; Additional applicant university: University of Konstanz) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/251654672

CRC “Threatened Orders” (University of Tübingen, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Mischa Meier) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/170320015

CRC “Topological and Correlated Electronics at Surfaces and Interfaces” (University of Würzburg, Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Björn Trauzettel) https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/258499086?language=en


Further Information

Media contact:

DFG Press and Public Relations, Tel. +49 228 885-2109, [email protected]

Further information will also be provided by the spokespersons of the Collaborative Research Centres.

Contact at the DFG Head Office:

Dr. Klaus Wehrberger, Head of Research Centres

Tel. +49 228 885-2355, [email protected]

Detailed information about the funding programme and the funded Collaborative Research Centres is available at:


Media Contact
Magdalena Schaeffer
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