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Doppelter Erfolg: DFG fördert zwei Großforschungsprojekte an der Leibniz Universität

Double Success: DFG Provides Funding for Two Major Research Projects at LUH

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International research training group on mathematical modelling strengthens partnership with French university Paris-Saclay / Successful research training group on autonomous driving extended

Great success for Leibniz University Hannover. Today, the German Research Foundation (DFG) announced that both research training groups proposed by LUH have been approved and will receive founding over a period of four and a half years.

Until 2025, the new international research training group IRTG 2657: "Computational Mechanics Techniques in High Dimensions (CoMeTeNd)" will receive approximately four million euros of funding. Within the scope of the joint programme, researchers from Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) and École normale supérieure Paris-Saclay will focus on advancing future-oriented projects in the field of computational methods in mechanics. With the programme, the partners aim to implement a long-term collaboration, which started in 2010 in the context of the first international research training group IRTG 1627: "Virtual Materials and their Validation (ViVaCE)". "We are delighted that we have been given the opportunity to continue our successful collaboration which evolved over the past ten years. The programme will enable us to strengthen the partnership between our two universities", said Professor Udo Nackenhorst, spokesperson of the new research training group.

Their research focuses on model reduction procedures for non-linear and high-dimensional problems in order to run real-time simulations or fast parametric surveys for optimisation tasks, based on physical principles. Possible applications include fatigue prognoses for engineering structures, stochastic evaluations of processes taking place beneath the surface of the Earth or tools for planning individual surgeries on tablet computers.

The programme is led by a team comprising seven renowned international professors from each partner university. The topics of the individual research projects have been developed together, therefore allowing each doctoral candidate to be supported by at least two supervisors, one in Germany and one in France. Therefore, doctoral candidates benefit from the complementary scientific expertise of both partner universities.

The programme focuses on collaborative teamwork in an international and interdisciplinary environment. A minimum period abroad of at least six months spent at the respective partner university is compulsory for all doctoral candidates, while double degrees are particularly encouraged. In addition, postdoctoral researchers and students currently enrolled in master's degree programmes are involved in CoMeTeNd. Moreover, there are customised training opportunities for postdoctoral researchers in order to prepare them for their future career - both in academia and in the industry.

Furthermore, the successful research training group i.c.sens has been extended. Within the scope of i.c.sens, junior researchers conduct research on safety standards for intelligent systems used in autonomous driving.

Automated vehicle systems, robot vacuum cleaners, robotic lawn mowers, intelligent assistants in production - over the past years, autonomous systems became a part of our lives and their number and complexity will increase in the future. These systems no longer operate in shielded areas, but interact directly with people, therefore presenting a potential hazard. Since 2016, the LUH research training group i.c.sens has been conducting successful research on how to control such systems in a safe manner. The German Research Foundation (DFG) has now approved a second funding period for the programme. Between 2021 and 2025, additional positions for nine doctoral candidates and one postdoc will be created.

The team of the research training group uses autonomous driving as an exemplary system for developing integrity concepts. Integrity is defined as a unit for determining the reliability of a system. Such concepts have already been established in the field of aviation. However, there is still much to learn. Moreover, the group investigates collaborations between multiple systems. How can autonomous systems be connected in order to achieve shared goals within a network? For example, the group intends to determine how the reliability, and thus the integrity, of all vehicles can be improved if individual autonomous vehicles exchange ambient data. For this, the researchers aim to develop basic methods to guarantee integrity as well as to use data of collaborating systems in a beneficial manner. The group focuses on various issues, such as determining states, investigating how these systems perceive their environments or visualising data in digital maps.

"Currently, there are many research activities in the field of autonomous vehicles and there is a broad spectrum of possible applications. We are delighted that i.c.sens will be able to make a substantial contribution to this highly relevant topic over the next four and a half years", said Professor Steffen Schön from the Institute of Geodesy and spokesperson of the research training group.

In addition to conducting research, research training groups aim to qualify doctoral candidates. In the years to come, the demand for research and development in autonomous driving will increase even further, resulting in an equally increased demand for highly qualified personnel. The structured qualification and supervising concept of i.c.sens therefore provides excellent opportunities for doctoral researchers, while preparing them for the national and international employment market, both for academic and non-academic positions.

The research training group 2159: "Integrity and Collaboration in Dynamic Sensor Networks" (i.c.sens) is a structured doctoral programme that has been in receipt of DFG funding since December 2016. Five LUH Institutes with nine doctoral candidates, as well as one postdoc and nine researchers are involved in the project. Professor Steffen Schön from the Institute of Geodesy acts as spokesperson. The second funding period is scheduled to end in November 2025.

Note to editors

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr. Udo Nackenhorst, Institute of Mechanics and Computational Mechanics (Tel. +49 511 762 3560, Email nackenhorst@ibnm.uni-hannover.de) and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Schön, Institute of Geodesy (Tel. +49 511 762 3397, Email schoen@ife.uni-hannover.de).