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Bavarian Research Associations

Strong research collaborations with experts from politics and industry

Bavarian Research Associations (Bayerische Foschungsverbünde) are research projects which involve researchers at several locations in Bavaria and usually last for three or six years. Research Associations are set up in response to contemporary affairs or as a direct investment in the future to secure Bavaria’s strength in research and industry. They also involve partners from industry who are actively involved in research in addition to providing funding. The private public partnership ensures that the results of the research are quickly put into practice. Public funding is provided by the Bavarian Research Foundation and the Bavarian Ministries, in particular the Bavarian Ministry for Education, Science and the Arts.

Current Research Associations

Care is a challenging sociopolitical topic in times of increasing globalisation and demographic change. Changing gender roles and the question of who provides care for whom are increasingly at the forefront of social debate.

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The Free State of Bavaria has been focusing its research for several years on the conservation of raw materials that are becoming scarce and on reducing the consumption of natural resources in order to secure a basis for long-term economic growth in the state. Protecting the environment is not only a question of global and intergenerational justice, but also an ecological necessity. It is therefore especially important for Bavaria as a centre for business and industry to establish innovative and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.

Biotechnology processes provide enormous potential for promoting the biologisation of industry. In particular, industrial (white) biotechnology (IBT), which is a dynamic key technology, has great potential to significantly contribute to conserving resources and protecting the environment. The collaboration project Resource-efficient biotechnology in Bavaria – BayBiotech is pushing forward the conservation of resources with the help of six application-related projects and one coordination project. This is making a significant contribution to the Bavarian sustainability strategy and is creating ecological value.

The aim of the first key topic is conserving resources in general. Approaches applicable in various sectors of industry are being examined in three specialist projects, and in the long term, these could offer economic and ecological benefits for a wide range of products compared with traditional chemical manufacturing methods.

Mineral-oil based plastics are an indispensable part of our everyday lives and can be found in all areas of life. Food packaging, carrier bags, plastics in toys and almost all the things we use in our daily lives contain plastics. This causes problems for the environment due to the poor biodegradability and high durability of the material. Vast amounts of plastic waste are a threat not only to ecosystems but also to the health of humans and animals. The Biopolymers key topic examines the manufacture of biodegradable ‘bio plastics’ using bio technologies in three specialist projects.

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Climate change is one of the most significant challenges faced by the human race – a global phenomenon with consequences on a regional level, also for Bavaria. Mitigation measures and adaptation strategies are required to minimise the consequences. This is where applied research can develop solutions. The Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection is currently financing the BayKlimaFit – Strategies for the adaptation of crop plants to climate change collaboration project.

The effects of climate change are already a reality in Bavaria. The last few years have shown that our crop plants are subjected in some cases to extreme stress, having to withstand strongly varying environmental conditions. The aim of the collaboration project is to gain important insights into the adaptation of crop plants to the effects of climate change and to contribute to the Bavarian climate adaptation strategy.

The relevance and timeliness of the topic as well as the expertise of Bavarian research institutions in the field of plant research is documented by the involvement of excellent researchers and working groups from all over the state. The collaboration project is to provide solutions as to which mechanisms allow plants to adapt to climate change and the new environmental conditions arising from it.

If it succeeds in understanding the molecular mechanisms that plants use to prepare themselves for abiotic stress such as soil wetness, cold, drought or hot weather, it will be possible to develop efficient strategies for strengthening their resistance to these stresses. The research findings of BayKlimaFit aim to make important native agricultural and crop plants more resistant to extreme weather and thus improve their adaptability to the inevitable consequences of climate change.

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Digitalisation is fundamentally changing our society and our individual lives and involves both opportunities and risks for our health. In some cases, how we use digital technologies and media leads to negative stress (distress), burnout, depression and other health risks. On the other hand, stress can also have a positive and constructive effect (eustress), which should be promoted. Technology is now so far advanced that digital technologies and media can keep track of and promote the health of their users thanks to increasing levels of artificial intelligence, adaptivity and interactivity.

The aim of the ForDigitHealth research association is to analyse the health effects of the increased presence and intense use of digital technologies and media in their many forms – in particular how digital distress and eustress arise and their implications – as well as to develop and evaluate options for prevention and intervention. In doing so, the research association will contribute to appropriate, conscious, individual and collective use of digital technology and media that promotes health.

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The human brain has a complicated architecture of diverse and specialised cells, like neurons, glial and microglial cells. These cells form functional and dynamic circuits and their interaction is of fundamental importance for the various functions of the human brain.
Many questions about the role of various cells for the function of the brain both in healthy individuals and during illness still remain unanswered. The Bavarian Research Association ForInter aims to investigate the interaction of various types of cells in the human brain in multi-dimensional cell culture systems based on the following hypothesis.

Defined human cell-cell systems are capable of modelling physiological and pathological interactions in the human brain.
The achievements in biology and stem cell research of the last few years have laid the foundation for the generation of multidimensional cell-culture systems and 3D brain organoids (mini-brains) that promise new insights into structural and dynamic interactions. As a model, they allow the investigation of normal human physiology in brain development and pathological processes.

ForInter brings together researchers in neurology with expertise in fundamental biology and human stem cell biology, neuropathologists, and translational neurologists. Additionally, researchers in bioinformatics as well as in the field of ethics and law contribute their expertise in this interdisciplinary network.

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