The next step towards implementing the university’s future strategy: “RUB Research Campus”
Ruhr-University founds Research Departments
20 M Euro funding for two Clusters of Excellence
In the implementation of its “RUB Research Campus” strategy the Ruhr-University Bochum is taking a big step forward: supported by a generous 20M Euros from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), it today founded the first three Research Departments. Within the next two years, these interdisciplinary Research Departments shall develop into two even larger Clusters of Excellence through extensive scientific networking building new or extending existing international co-operations. The Research Departments – as well as the resulting two Clusters of Excellence – are focussing on life and material science. The Head of the Ruhr-University, Prof. Dr. Elmar Weiler and the Speakers of the three Research Departments signed comprehensive agreements on objectives today.
Objective: Implementation of the future strategy of the Ruhr-University
Setting up respectively developing two Clusters of Excellence from these Research Department is achieved by focussing on already established research areas of the Ruhr-University Bochum: Today the Research Departments “Integrity of Small Scale Systems” (Speaker Prof. Dr.-Ing. Alfred Ludwig), “Interfacial Systems Chemistry” (Speaker Prof. Dr. Nils Metzler-Nolte) and the Protein Research Department (Speaker Prof. Dr. Klaus Gerwert) were founded. In the coming months, the Research Departments “Neuroscience” and “Plasma” are to follow. From within the humanities, the formation of a further Research Department – the Centre for Religious Studies (CERES) – is planned for the near future.
Tangible milestones defined
For each Research Department objectives and milestones are agreed The objectives include - amongst others -, measures to enhance the number of collaborative research projects at the Ruhr-University, to expand international collaboration, to improve gender equality, to develop new and extent existing cooperations, to improve research-orientated teaching and to promote the autonomy of young scientists. One of the preconditions for establishing a Research Department is the existence of at least one large research projects such as the national funded Collaborative Research Centres (DFG CRC) and at least three other collaborative research projects such as the national funded Research Units (DFG RU) or University Graduate Training Programmes (DFG GTP). In order to secure sponsorship from the 20 M Euro state funds of North Rhine-Westphalia, Research Departments additionally have to be peer-reviewed as part of the Ruhr-University’s application for the first national excellence initiative.
Signal processing in cells
Merging Research Departments in order to form large Clusters of Excellence is taking place in two scientific fields: Within the Life Science Cluster researchers from the areas of biology, chemistry, medicine, computer science and psychology are investigating the mechanisms of signal processing in living cells. The goal is to decipher the molecular chain reactions and the resulting system’s behaviour right up to high levels of cognitive performance such as memory functions. A central issue in the life sciences is therefore to be explored through an interdisciplinary approach by looking from the molecule to the whole organism, especially in human beings.
Research in Materials Science at the highest level
In the Materials Science Cluster pioneering research is being carried out in many faculties of the Ruhr-University, particularly in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and information technology, chemistry, physics and geosciences. The research priorities take into account both fundamental and application-oriented issues, such as the design and lifespan of micro- and nanoscale machines and materials, thin film materials, interfacial catalysis, plasma technology for surfaces, development and applications of terahertz spectroscopy and ab initio simulation of materials.
The pillars of the Ruhr-University’s future strategy
In addition to establishing and extending Clusters of Excellence, the Ruhr-University’s concept for the future rests on further pillars: on the one hand, two Mercator Research Groups are being set up at the moment. First to start will be the “Structure of Memory” Research Group. The Mercator Foundation sponsors the Research Group to the tune of around 10 M Euros. On the other hand, the Ruhr-University’s governance body has set up an additional research fund sponsoring projects that are not already receiving funds from the state of NRW or the Mercator Foundation. This additional programme is divided into five different lines of funding at a total of 4 M Euros. “In this way, every good idea and each innovative project is enabled to receive funding” says Prof. Weiler.
Die Sprecher der drei neu gegründeten Research Departments mit Rektor Weiler (2. v.r.).