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TU Berlin: Excellence Initiative - Continued Success for UniCat and BMS Programmes

Funding renewed for scientific excellence clusters and mathematics graduate school for another five years

On June 15, 2012, the German Research Foundation and Science Council announced the results of the final round of the Excellence Initiative. Members of the excellence cluster "Unifying Concepts in Catalysis" (UniCat) and "Berlin Mathematical School" (BMS) were pleased to learn they will continue to receive support from the Excellence Initiative as a result of the successful applications submitted for the second and last phase. TU Berlin is the host university for UniCat and acted as the submitting institution for mathematics institutes of TU Berlin, FU Berlin and HU Berlin.

"The fact that both projects have received renewed funding is an affirmation of the international standing earned by both projects over the past years. In addition to further strengthening our university as a whole, above all the funding has also helped to create a new science network. For Berlin in its role as a location of scientific excellence, UniCat represents an internationally visible science cluster that also generates important impetus in economic terms. Top-notch graduate training in mathematics greatly enhances existing world-class mathematics research in Berlin. These projects represent a force field that we can expand in the future in association with the Einstein Center for Mathematic Berlin. I wish to personally thank all those involved for their enormous efforts in helping to achieve our stated goals and for their scientific successes and novel ideas, which were incorporated in the successive applications for the Excellence Initiative", said TU Berlin President Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörg Steinbach.

Up to € 33 million for catalytic research The excellence cluster "Unifying Concepts in Catalysis" (UniCat) is the only excellence cluster that examines the economically important field of catalysis. Renewed Excellence Initiative funding will provide UniCat with up to € 33 million through 2017. More than 250 researchers from four universities cooperate closely in this interdisciplinary research network in the disciplines of chemistry, physics, biology and process technology; participants include scientists from the Technische Universität Berlin as host university, Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt University Berlin, the University of Potsdam, and two institutes of the Max Planck Society. Detailed information about UniCat and press photos: www.tu-berlin.de/?id=120681

Excellent conditions for talented young mathematicians The English-language study programmes of the graduate-level Berlin Mathematical School (BMS) conclude with a doctor's degree that can be earned in just four or five years after completing a Bachelor's degree; the curriculum is specifically tailored to the needs of exceptional students from around the world. In 2011, BMS reached the goal of 170 enrolled students it set for itself in 2006, more than 50 doctorates have already been granted. The school's alumni are now active in postdoc positions scattered around the globe: Berkeley, Paris, Boston, Stockholm, Princeton and Zurich. During the 2006-2012 grant period, BMS received around € 5.8 million from the Excellence Initiative. Based on these successes BMS is now an integral component of the excellent mathematics research and teaching environment that has evolved in Berlin over the past few years. Detailed information about BMS and press photos: www.tu-berlin.de/?id=120682

TU Berlin researchers are participating in the following Excellence Initiative projects:

Excellence cluster Topoi The excellence cluster Topoi (The Formation and Transformation of Space and Knowledge in Ancient Civilizations) - initiated as a joint application by the Freie Universität Berlin and Humboldt University Berlin - commenced its work in November 2007 with the goal of conducting research on the mutual dependencies of space and knowledge in antique cultures. In the second grant phase of this cluster the role of knowledge in the appreciation of space in the old world is now taking centre stage. Using paradigmatic study models, Topoi researchers are turning their attention to the interdependent nature of space and knowledge starting with the Neolithic period - i.e. initial human settlements - and ranging to the postclassical period. Scientists of School I Humanities of TU Berlin are also involved.

Berlin School of Mind and Brain (graduate school) The Berlin School of Mind and Brain (HU Berlin) is a joint initiative of Mind Sciences (humanities and social sciences) and "brain sciences" (life and neurosciences). The focus of the graduate school, in which the TU Faculty 'Electrical Engineering and Computer Science' participates, is to investigate the interfaces that exist between the mind and the brain.

Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (graduate school) The graduate school Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT) is a joint initiative of clinicians, natural, material and engineering scientists; the objective is to develop new therapies in regenerative medicine. In association with the sponsor institutions HU Berlin and FU Berlin, BSRT combines pure research, material science, clinical disciplines and biotechnology with the goal of regenerating and healing tissues and organs that are impaired by the aging process, diseases, trauma, or congenital anomalies. The Department of Biotechnology of TU Berlin is also involved.

The Excellence Initiative The second phase of the Excellence Initiative includes grants amounting to a total of € 2.7 billion in funding for higher education. The grant programme will run for five years starting on November 1, 2012. Seventy-five percent of funding comes from the federal government and 25 percent from the federal states. Established in 2006, the objective of the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments is to support outstanding research projects and facilities at German universities. The initiative aims at actively promoting cutting-edge research and underpinning Germany's international reputation as a place of scientific excellence.

For further information please contact: Stefanie Terp, spokesperson of TU Berlin, Tel.: 030 / 314 - 23922, Email: steffi.terp@tu-berlin.de

idw :: 15.06.2012