Two projects judged ‘excellent’

FAU’s Graduate School and Cluster successful in Excellence Competition

Huge success for Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) in the second round of the Excellence Initiative: both the Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ (EAM) and the Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT) will be funded for another five years, the funding committee of the Excellence Initiative announced on Friday afternoon. This means that FAU will receive up to 61.5 million euros in the years to come.

‘We see the positive vote of the Joint Commission of the DFG and the German Council of Science and Humanities as an enormous success for FAU that acknowledges the efforts we have made over the past few years’, FAU’s President Prof. Dr. Karl-Dieter Grüske commented on the decision of the funding commission. He went on to thank all participating FAU researchers for their extraordinary commitment. ‘The funding from the first round allowed us to bring together the outstanding levels of competence at FAU in two key technologies for the future and to establish two leading and internationally recognised research centres. Now our goal consists in increasing FAU’s strength in research even further. We do hope to achieve path-breaking scientific results and to develop innovative research-based teaching concepts.’

For almost five years, FAU has been in a position to attract numerous excellent researchers – both established academics and young scientists – from all over the world to the University within the framework of scientific work at the Graduate School and the Cluster of Excellence. Moreover, strategic alliances with high-ranking partners in academia and industry could be strengthened. The funding of the Excellence Initiative likewise has positive effects on teaching and studying: so far, 65 and 30 doctoral theses have been completed in the Cluster of Excellence and in the Graduate School respectively. A further 155 doctoral theses in the Cluster of Excellence and approximately 150 doctoral theses in the Graduate School are currently in progress. FAU applied for funding to the volume of 48 million euros for the Cluster and 13.5 million euros for the Graduate School. The University will only be informed about the exact extent of the funding at a later point.

Erlangen Graduate School in Advanced Optical Technologies (SAOT)
SAOT offers an excellent interdisciplinary research and training programme with a broad international network of renowned experts. Its aim is to promote innovation and leadership skills in the fields of optical metrology, optical materials processing, optics in medicine, optics in communication and information technology, optical materials and systems, and computer-aided optics. In the coming five-year funding period, efforts will focus on structural improvements, the extension of international collaborations, research and training in optical technologies with a special focus on possible interfaces with life sciences. It is the latter field in particular which presents a cutting-edge area of application with great potential for interdisciplinary work.

Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM)
The Cluster of Excellence ‘Engineering of Advanced Materials’ (EAM) researches and develops high-performance materials for future areas of application. The development of new, hierarchically structured materials requires a comprehensive scientific approach starting from the nano scale and reaching up to macroscopic components. EAM thus combines expertise in fundamental research and process technology from eight FAU departments, the two Erlangen Fraunhofer Institutes, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light and select industry partners. In the first five years, EAM succeeded in attracting funding to the volume of 40 million euros from the Excellence Initiative as well as a further 41 million euros from the German Federal State, the Free State of Bavaria, FAU and industry.

Research activities at EAM are divided into seven areas: four application-oriented research areas, i. e. nano electronics, optics and photonics, catalysis, and light-weight construction, which are structured in the form of process chains. These are supplemented by the three cross-section areas functional particle systems, nanoanalysis & microscopy, and multi-scale modelling & simulation. The second funding period builds on established structures and complements them by comprehensive demonstrators as well as new, innovative research foci. These will be strengthened by four new professorships. Moreover, aspects from the field of nanotoxicology will be included and industry collaborations will be intensified.

During its first funding period, EAM also exerted a lasting structural influence on FAU. Accordingly, the new infrastructure in the field of new materials and processes (five new EAM buildings, investment in large-scale equipment to the volume of 12.8 million euros) and the establishment of twelve new professorships have significantly strengthened Erlangen’s position as a location for cutting-edge research. Moreover, young researchers have profited from the new opportunities, and new teaching concepts and degree programmes have been developed.

Further information for the press:

Prof. Dr. Karl-Dieter Grüske
Tel.: 09131/85-26605

uni | mediendienst | news No. 138/2012 on 15.6.2012

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