Innovation Award for Startup of the University of Bonn

The start-up "Murmuras" of the University of Bonn has won a prize for its software solution in the "Digital Innovation" competition of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. The new app and platform solution offers psychologists, sociologists and other human scientists new possibilities for conducting smartphones-based studies. The startup is an outcome of the Menthal Project of the University of Bonn, in which the mobile phone usage data of more than 700,000 participants have been examined for scientific purposes since 2014. The founding team of Ionut Andone, Konrad Blaszkiewicz, Qais Kasem and Alexander Markowetz will receive a prize money of 7,000 euros as well as coaching and webinar offers.

Mysterious climate change

New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past. An international team of scientists with the participation of the University of Bonn has shown that the seasonal growth and destruction of sea ice in a warming world increases the biological productivity of the seas around Antarctica by extracting carbon from the atmosphere and storing it in the deep ocean. This process helps to explain a long-standing question about an apparent 1,900-year pause in CO2 growth during a period known as the Antarctic cold reversal. The research results have now been published in "Nature Geoscience".

Tuberculosis vaccine strengthens immune system

A tuberculosis vaccine developed 100 years ago also makes vaccinated persons less susceptible to other infections. While this effect has been recognized for a long time, it is not known what causes it. Together with colleagues from Australia and Denmark, researchers from Radboud university medical center the universities of Nijmegen and Bonn have now presented a possible answer to this question. Their results are also interesting against the background of the Covid-19 pandemic: several studies are currently testing the use of the vaccine in preventing severe disease progression in populations at risk such as hospital staff and elderly individuals. The study is published in the journal "Cell Host & Microbe".

Corona pandemic poses new challenges

Schools and daycare facilities have been closed for weeks and the economy is slowly being revived. This creates a dilemma: the revival goes hand in hand with more presence at the workplace, which working parents cannot afford. Moritz Kuhn, Professor of Macroeconomics at the University of Bonn and member of the Cluster of Excellence ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy, is investigating the impact of a lack of childcare on the available working hours of working parents together with his colleagues Prof. Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln (Goethe University Frankfurt) and Prof. Michèle Tertilt (University of Mannheim). Result: The proportion of parents affected by closed schools and daycare facilities is twice as high as the total number of unemployed people in Germany.

Trump and the WHO: Why "soft power" is important

Actors on the international stage try to assert their interests and resolve conflicts with military force or economic sanctions - in other words, with "hard power". But the breakthrough is often achieved with "soft power": China is courting sympathy with its panda diplomacy, the Fridays for Future movement has received a huge response, and joint action is needed in the coronavirus pandemic. In his doctoral thesis, the political scientist Dr. Hendrik W. Ohnesorge from the Center for Global Studies (CGS) at the University of Bonn examined how soft power is used as a strategic means to achieve own objectives in the global competition for power and influence.

Inexpensive retinal diagnostics via smartphone

Retinal damage due to diabetes is now considered the most common cause of blindness in working-age adults. In low- and middle-income countries, an eye examination via smartphone could help to detect changes at an early stage. This is shown by a new study carried out by scientists from the University of Bonn together with colleagues from Sankara Eye Hospital Bangalore (India). The results are published in the journal "Ophthalmology".

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