05. July 2023

First-Ever “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize Awarded First-Ever “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize Awarded

Funding granted to a pair of researchers combining computer science and medicine

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz from the Institute for Computer Science II at the University of Bonn and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Theodor Rüber from the Clinic and Polyclinic for Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn are the first winners of the “Modelling for Life and Health” Transdisciplinary Research Prize, which is presented by the Modelling and Life & Health Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) at the University of Bonn. The €120,000 award funds highly innovative research projects at the interface between mathematics or computer science on the one hand and the topics covered by the TRA Life & Health on the other.

TRA award
TRA award - Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz (left) und Privatdozent Dr. Theodor Rüber. © Photos: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn and Johann Saba/UKB
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The innovative and interdisciplinary nature of the project that is now to be supported was what secured it its groundbreaking funding. Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Theodor Rüber will use the prize money to work on improved approaches to diagnosis prior to epilepsy surgery, something that encapsulates perfectly the successful strategy being pursued by the six TRAs at the University of Bonn. They are spaces for innovation and exploration in research and teaching where researchers work across discipline and faculty boundaries and also with non-academic partners to tackle key scientific, technological and societal questions of great future relevance in order to find solutions and insights that none of them could have managed on their own.

The TRA Modelling aims to help us understand the functioning of complex systems that are made up of many different components and that all interact with one another. To do so, it employs creative combinations of traditional observational methods and computer-aided simulations. With mathematical modeling being increasingly required in the life sciences as one way of analyzing complex structures and datasets, there are numerous overlaps between the TRA Life and Health and the subjects covered by the TRA Modelling. This was what prompted the idea of a joint research prize to encourage collaborative research where mathematics and computer science meet medicine and the life sciences.

The award comes with up to €120,000 in funding, which the winners can use more or less as they see fit over a period of up to two years. Pairs of researchers who are members of the TRA Modelling and TRA Life and Health were eligible to put their names forward. The final decision was made jointly by the steering committees of the two TRAs based on criteria including innovativeness, transdisciplinarity, academic/scientific quality and qualifications of the applicants as well as the potential for future collaborative research offered by the project being proposed.

About the winners

Thomas Schultz is Professor for Life Science Informatics and Visualization at the Institute for Computer Science II and at the Bonn-Aachen International Center for Information Technology (b-it). He focuses mainly on the processing, mathematical modeling, analysis and visual representation of biomedical image data and heads up the Visualization and Medical Image Analysis working group (https://cg.cs.uni-bonn.de/person/1143).

Theodor Rüber is a specialist in neurology at the Clinic and Polyclinic for Epileptology at the University Hospital Bonn and head of the working groups for Translational Neuroimaging (https://www.translationalneuroimaging.de) and—together with Prof. Dr. Walter Bruchhausen—Global Epileptology (https://www.global-epileptology.com).

Award winner
Award winner - Prof. Dr. Thomas Schultz © Photo: Barbara Frommann/Uni Bonn
Preisträger - PD Dr. Theodor Rüber © Foto: Johann Saba/Universitätsklinikum Bonn (UKB)
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