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Cluster Initiatives at the University of Freiburg

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The University of Freiburg has been invited to submit two full proposals for the “Clusters of Excellence” funding line in the current round of the Excellence Strategy competition. The cluster initiative CIBSS – Centre for Integrative Biological Signalling Studies expands on the scientific work performed at the Cluster of Excellence BIOSS Centre for Biological Signalling Studies, which has been receiving funding since 2007. The cluster initiative will develop strategies for precisely controlling biological signaling processes, making it possible to translate findings from fundamental research into concrete innovations. The cluster initiative Living, Adaptive, and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS) has set itself the goal of developing bioinspired materials systems capable of adapting to a wide range of environments and supplying themselves with clean energy. It is supported by the Freiburg Center for Interactive Materials and Bioinspired Technologies (FIT) and the Freiburg Materials Research Center (FMF) at the university as well as the Sustainability Center Freiburg, founded in cooperation with Freiburg’s five Fraunhofer institutes.

The Rectorate called upon all professors at the university to submit their ideas for clusters at the end of 2015. The resulting initiatives are receiving advice and supervision from the Cluster project team, led by Vice President for Research Prof. Dr. Gunther Neuhaus. The team includes members of the University Council and the Senate, as well as further distinguished academics. The university’s governing bodies receive regular briefings on this process.

The submitted draft proposals were evaluated from April to September 2017 in a total of 21 international DFB panels with relevant expertise. In September 2017 the Committee of Experts decided on the basis of the expert reports on the submitted draft proposals which initiatives would be invite to submit full proposals. The main selection criterion for the projects is scientific excellence. Other criteria include the overall strategy of the university and research support elements, such as concepts for promoting early-stage researchers.

Full proposals for Clusters of Excellence must be submitted by 21 February 2018. Funding for Clusters of Excellence begins on 1 January 2019.