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Excellence Strategy

The University of Bonn is one of the eminent research universities in Germany and has an excellent international reputation. Since 2006, it has been successful in gaining funding through the Excellence Initiative set out by the federal government and state and the German Research Foundation (DFG - Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft), aquiring two Clusters of Excellence and two Graduate Schools.

In October 2017, the University of Bonn achieved success in the first leg of the new Excellence Strategy competition. The joint commission of the DFG and the Science Council have invited the University of Bonn to submit seven full Cluster of Excellence proposals, the most out of all universities in Germany. 

The University of Bonn is preparing these seven full Cluster of Excellence proposals. Full application will be submitted by February 21, 2018. The decision on funding will be announced on September 27, 2018. 

Hausdorff Center for Mathematics: Foundations, Models, Applications

With newly focused research objectives and new appointments, the Cluster Hausdorff Center for Mathematics: Foundations, Models, Applications will build on the success of the current cluster and establish a worldwide leading institute for cutting-edge mathematical research in Germany. The goal is to identify and address mathematical challenges of the 21st century, to advance groundbreaking fundamental mathematical research worldwide, and to develop the mathematical methods and tools required by science and society. Supported by a team of internationally distinguished scientists with highest honors and awards, such as the youngest winner ever of the Leibniz Prize, this Cluster is at the forefront of advancing young mathematicians and building a global network, together with the world's best research and education centers for mathematics.

Prof. Dr. Karl-Theodor Sturm

ImmunoSensation2: the immune sensory system

The identification of important players and functions of the immune system and two extremely successful biotech spin-offs are among the outstanding achievements of the current funding phase for this Cluster. With ImmunoSensation2 - the immunosensory system, Bonn researchers want to continue the success story of the existing Cluster of Excellence, "ImmunoSensation". While the emphasis so far has been on fundamental research in particular of the innate immune system, now the mechanisms of immune intelligence are to be uncovered, i.e. the question of how the body succeeds in adapting immune responses to specific situations and then remembering this in order to be optimally prepared for similar challenges in the future. This can help predict and treat autoimmune diseases as well as chronic infections, atherosclerosis, diabetes, tumors and Alzheimer's disease.

Prof. Dr. Gunther Hartmann
Prof. Dr. Eicke Latz
Prof. Dr. Joachim L. Schultze

Beyond Slavery and Freedom: Asymmetrical Dependencies in Pre-Modern Societies

Dependency research has almost exclusively dealt with slavery on the American continent or in antiquity. The Cluster Beyond Slavery and Freedom. Agency within Asymmetrical Structures of Individual and Group Dependencies in Premodern Societies seeks to broaden this perspective in terms of content, space and time. The Cluster strives to become an internationally visible and renowned center for dependency and slavery research. Its main contribution will be to bring together an extraordinary network of academic disciplines. The University of Bonn is ideally suited for this endeavor with its wide range of so-called small subjects. A fellow program, a graduate school, a postdoctoral program, the establishment of an international master's program and a global research network will provide a new generation of researchers. Anyone who wants to do research in this field in the future should first think of Bonn.

Prof. Dr. Stephan Conermann
Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack
Prof. Dr. Konrad Vössing

PhenoRob - Robotics and Phenotyping for Sustainable Crop Production

One of the big goals of our society is to fight hunger, improve agriculture and make it more sustainable. One of the major challenges is to increase crop production despite limited land use and while reducing the environmental footprint. In order to achieve this, the University of Bonn together with Forschungszentrum Jülich are conducting research to develop methods and new technologies that observe, analyze, better understand and specifically treat plants. Fields are monitored from the air as well as from the ground. Computers process this sensory data so that robots can automatically treat individual plants. The aim is to make agriculture more efficient, to gain new knowledge about plant growth and to avoid the use of chemical aids. The concentration and network of internationally renowned researchers in agriculture, geodesy, economics and computer science in Bonn is unique and in this form not available at any other location.

Prof. Dr. Cyrill Stachniss
Prof. Dr. Heiner Kuhlmann

Computational Science for Complex Systems - CASCADE

The aim of the cluster CASCADE - Computational Science for Complex Systems is to solve problems in the natural sciences with new computational methods and tools. The central question behind the cluster is: How do complex systems develop across the entire length scale from elementary particles to neurons to stars? To answer this question, interdisciplinary working groups are investigating, for example, highly interactive quantum systems, developing simulations in computational neurosciences for the analysis of medical conditions or dealing with high-performance computing, large amounts of data and visualization. But the cluster is not only researching topics on the ravages of time, at the Center for Science and Thought emerging philosophical questions are also discussed.

Prof. Dr. Ulf-G. Meißner

ECONtribute: Markets and Public Policy (together with the University of Cologne)

With this cluster proposal, the University of Bonn together with its colleagues from Cologne, is submitting the only predominantly economics focused application into the second round of the Excellence Strategy. Researchers want to analyze the causes of market failure and resulting policy measures. Unlike traditional analyzes of economic policy, researchers systematically combine model-based theoretical approaches and behavioral explanatory models, incorporating legal and political framework conditions. Thus, the interdisciplinary working groups include new societal challenges and goals and offer solutions using new instruments that have so far barely found their way into economics and economic policy. How do you measure and deal with market power in the digital age, when many offers are virtually free of charge and instead are paid for by the provision of data? What are the consequences for consumer protection? What influence do preferences for fairness or justice have on the design of minimum wages or inheritance taxes? Can and should individual behavior be controlled by instruments such as nudging, if this seems to be for the benefit of the individual? These are just a few of countless questions being raised in this cluster.

Prof. Dr. Isabel Schnabel
Prof. Dr. Felix Bierbrauer

ML4Q – Matter and Light for Quantum Computing (together with RWTH Aachen and the University of Cologne)

Over the last few decades, computer hardware has become smaller and smaller, but their technology remains more or less the same. Slowly, this development is reaching its limits. Thus, we need new technologies that satisfy our growing hunger for even more powerful hardware. Quantum physics could be a solution. Together with the University of Cologne and the RWTH Aachen, Bonn researchers want to work on making this new technology usable. This achive this, quantum bits or even qubits - the quantum counterpart to our previous bits - quantum communication channels that build networks and error correction methods have to be explored from the ground up.

Prof. Dr. Yoichi Ando

Cluster of Excellence as part of the Excellence Initiative

 Mathematics: Foundations, Models, Applications

The Cluster of Excellence Hausdorff Center for Mathematics capitalizes on a broad and dynamic vision of mathematics, ranging from the famous and fruitful conjectures in its classical core, to its successful contributions to quantitative modeling in the natural and social sciences, and to industrial applications such as chip design.

 ImmunoSensation: the immune sensory system

Innate immunity has become one of the most dynamic fields in life sciences. Recent discoveries led to shifts in paradigms and extend the previous concept of innate immunity. Evidence that the immune system is connected to other systems - such as the metabolic and nervous systems - has led the ImmunoSensation Cluster to the concept of the immune sensory system.

Graduate Schools 

Bonn-Cologne Graduate School of Physics and Astronomy

By joining the expertises of two physics departments, the Bonn-Cologne Graduate School promotes a high-level graduate education program and a challenging research environment on the forefront of modern physics.

 Bonn Graduate School of Economics (funded 2006 – 2011)

The BGSE is one of the leading research institutions in Europe. The main research fields of faculty members include game theory, experimental economics, monetary and international macroeconomics, contract theory, labour economics and finance.

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