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Outstanding Victory in the Excellence Strategy

Outstanding Victory in the Excellence Strategy

Press release from
Copyright: Thomas Damm / LUH
Copyright: Thomas Damm / LUH

Leibniz University Hannover (LUH) awarded funding for two independent research projects, as well as for a joint project

Tremendous success for Leibniz University Hannover in the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments: The independent research projects QuantumFrontiers (Light and Matter at the Quantum Frontier: Foundations of and Applications in Metrology) and PhoenixD (Photonics, Optics, and Engineering - Innovation Across Disciplines) were confirmed as Clusters of Excellence and have been awarded funding worth several million euros, starting on 1 January 2019 for an initial period of seven years. The clusters will receive between 3 and 10 million euros of funding per year. The existing Cluster of Excellence Hearing4all was also awarded funding. The cluster focuses on "Research for personalised treatment of hearing deficits" and is led by Oldenburg University, in close cooperation with LUH and Hannover Medical School (MHH). Furthermore, Leibniz University Hannover congratulates MHH on the award of the Cluster of Excellence RESIST (Resolving Infection Susceptibility). Unfortunately, the Cluster of Excellence REBIRTH on regenerative medicine was not reconfirmed after two funding periods. It will now be essential to pool resources in this cutting-edge research area and find other means to ensure the success of the outstanding projects in this cluster. LUH is particularly appreciative of the outstanding achievements of the involved researchers and of the effort they have put into the cluster over the past years. Four out of five clusters in Hannover were awarded funding. Today, the commission of experts announced its final decision.

This paves the way for a joint proposal of LUH and MHH as an Excellence Consortium. An essential prerequisite for this is the approval of at least three Clusters of Excellence at the participating universities. With today's decision of the expert commission, LUH overcame this obstacle, exceeding all expectations. Further information will be provided during a press conference on Friday 28 September 2018 at 11 am in the main building of Leibniz University Hannover (invitations will be issued shortly).

"We are very pleased about this enormous success", says Professor Volker Epping, President of Leibniz University Hannover. "It is a great day for Leibniz University Hannover! A fantastic success! The award for the projects PhoenixD and QuantumFrontiers will increase the international visibility of our key research areas and demonstrates that we are on the right track regarding the interdisciplinary consolidation of outstanding individual performance. I would like to thank all participating researchers and the staff who supported them for their outstanding commitment under an extremely tight schedule during the application phase and for their courage to enter this competition full of enthusiasm for their university." The next vital step will be to prepare a conclusive joint proposal in collaboration with MHH. The proposal must be submitted in December 2018 and will enable both universities to strengthen their cooperation in future research fields, as well as to increase the appeal of Hannover as a research location. Both universities are currently working on the proposal. Among other things, it consists of an extensive data section (i.a. organisational structures in research, teaching, and transfer; research infrastructures, illustration of processes and structures at both universities), as well as an analysis of strengths and weaknesses in research, teaching, and transfer. Additionally, an overall strategy must be developed by the consortium, including aims, objectives, as well as measures for joint governance and administrative structures.

Professor Jürgen Mlynek, chairperson of the University Council at LUH, is enthusiastic about the outcome: "On behalf of the University Council, I would like to congratulate the researchers who put their whole heart into this competition and succeeded. With this, Leibniz University Hannover proved once again that it has developed into an institution with cutting-edge research and occupies top-class, innovative research fields. The University Council is delighted to contribute to this development and explicitly supports the upcoming joint proposal of LUH and MHH."

"The success in the Excellence Strategy is a fantastic recognition of our previous work, as well as for future projects", says Professor Uwe Morgner, spokesperson of the new Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD (alongside Professor Ludger Overmeyer and Professor Wolfgang Kowalsky). The research collaboration aims at developing optical precision instruments in a quick and cost-efficient manner by using additive manufacturing technology. Researchers from the fields mechanical engineering, physics, electrical engineering, computer science, and chemistry are working together on the simulation, manufacture, and implementation of optical systems. To date, optical glass lenses and the housing surrounding them are produced in several steps - often crafted by hand. In the research collaboration, experts across disciplines are collaborating to develop a digitised manufacturing system that produces customised products.

The system is exceptionally versatile and could be used in various scenarios. In agriculture, the use of chemicals against weeds could be reduced. Through precision optics, a sensor registers plants and detects weeds, which can then be destroyed systematically using a laser. Until now, manufacturing optical components for this purpose was too expensive. Manufacturing customised optics for medical devices is another area of application. For example, blood tests for diagnosing diseases could be carried out quicker. PhoenixD was initiated by the Hannover Centre for Optical Technologies (HOT). The project is led by Leibniz University Hannover, in collaboration with TU Braunschweig, Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V., and Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute).

The Cluster of Excellence QuantumFrontiers, which was also confirmed, deals with light and matter at the quantum frontier. "We are exceptionally pleased with this success", says Professor Karsten Danzmann, spokesperson of the cluster (alongside Professor Piet O. Schmidt and Professor Andreas Waag). "The funding from the Excellence Strategy will provide us with an ideal framework for advancing our application-oriented fundamental research projects." The members of the research collaboration are developing new measurement technologies at nano-level. Basic physical quantities, such as mass, length, and time could be measured more precisely by using this extremely small scale. Researchers use quantum mechanical effects in order to improve the exactness of the measurements. To achieve this, experts from various fields, such as physics, astronomy, geodesy and geoinformatics, semiconductor research, as well as circuits and integrated systems contribute their know-how.

This fundamental research forms the basis for various innovations, such as improved earth observation and navigation. Additionally, the project will enable material development at nano-level and will foster progress in semiconductor technology, which is a vital part of most electronic devices. QuantumFrontiers is a joint project of Leibniz University Hannover, TU Braunschweig, Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt in Braunschweig (Germany's national metrology institute), Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V., the Center of Applied Space Technology and Microgravity (ZARM) in Bremen, and Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute).

Furthermore, Leibniz University Hannover is a collaboration partner in the existing Cluster of Excellence Hearing4all, which started in 2012. The project is led by the University of Oldenburg, in collaboration with Leibniz University Hannover and Hannover Medical School (MHH). The cluster aims at providing "hearing for all". By improving audiological diagnostics and by providing customised hearing instruments, researchers want to make a significant change regarding the communication situation of affected persons. Their work focusses on fundamental, model-based research for diagnostics and auditory profiling of normal hearing or severely impaired patients, in order to gain a better understanding of the individual sense of hearing. Additionally, researchers use these models to optimise the individualised treatment of hearing loss with adequate hearing instruments adapted to individual requirements.

Leibniz University Hannover also congratulates MHH on the award of the Cluster of Excellence RESIST (Resolving Infection Susceptibility). The joint project investigates molecular basics of immune deficiency towards pathogens, in order to prevent, diagnose, and treat infections in a more efficient manner.

Further information on the Excellence Strategy can be found at: http://www.dfg.de/foerderung/exzellenzstrategie/index.html

Captions for the attached photographs:

PhoenixD01 and PhoenixD02: Research on optical precision instruments in the new Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD.

QuantumFrontiers01 and QuantumFrontiers02: The new Cluster of Excellence QuantumFrontiers deals with light and matter at the quantum frontier.

Copyright for all pictures: Leibniz University Hannover

 

Note to editors:

For further information, please contact Mechtild Freiin v. Münchhausen, spokesperson of Leibniz University Hannover and head of Communications and Marketing (Tel. +49 511 762 5342, Email: vonMuenchhausen@zuv.uni-hannover.de) or Stefan Zorn.