Science and research ‘made in Germany’
As part of its research programmes, the German Federal Government provides funding for basic technologies that drive forward developments in central fields of application and thus serve to encourage growth in several sectors. Research funding provided by the German government seeks to find solutions to global challenges, increase Germany’s competitiveness and secure sustainable jobs.
Project applications are selected and approved in a competitive procedure on the basis of specific calls for applications from various Federal Ministries.
FAU receives the most funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as well as from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
Some of the most significant projects are listed and described briefly below:
The International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF) ‘Fate, Freedom and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe’ is one of ten Käte Hamburger research consortia in Germany funded by the BMBF as part of an initiative to strengthen research in the humanities and international networking in this area.
A team of local researchers at FAU is supported every year by 10-12 different international visiting fellows who research how notions of individual and collective fate are viewed in the daily life and ideology of traditional, modern and present-day China (or East Asia), Medieval Europe and other cultures.
Their findings on attitudes towards fate and prognosis should give answers to the question of the place freedom takes in various cultures.
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, funding references 01UK0904 and 01UK1504, from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2021.
In November 2015, the funding programme ‘Medical Informatics Initiative (MI-I)’ was launched to promote IT innovations for health research and medical care. The aim is to improve patient care in Germany. The advantages of digitalisation in medicine should be used to connect data and generate medical knowledge, whilst developing and applying innovative IT solutions for an improved healthcare system based on data.
The MIRACUM Consortium (Medical Informatics in Research and Care in University Medicine) is one of the four funded consortia. The consortium is led by Prof. Dr. Hans-Ulrich Prokosch, Chair of Medical Informatics, FAU.
MIRACUM is a consortium of ten universities with ten university hospitals, two universities of applied sciences and one industrial partner in seven of the states within Germany and a total funding volume of 37 million euros. The focus is creating data integration centres and integrating them into the hospital’s IT infrastructure over the coming years, with the aim of making it easier to collect and share data within the consortium.
The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, funding references 01ZZ1606H and 01ZZ1801A, from 1 August 2016 to 31 December 2021.
The acronym PRO PRICARE stands for Preventing Overdiagnosis in Primary Care. It focuses on preventing outpatients from being given excessive medical care, or, conversely, not enough medical care. Unnecessary or incorrect treatment is not only an issue faced by elderly people, it can affect all age groups. As general practitioners are generalists and the patients’ first point of call, they have a key role to play in preventing unnecessary treatment.
Overdiagnosis is defined as ‘treatment without a clear medical indication or if the risks of treatment outweigh the benefits.’ The boundaries between age, risk-factors, early stages of illness and the actual disease are becoming increasingly blurred. Advances in medical engineering, an increasingly entrepreneurial attitude among doctors and an excessive awareness of health issues all increase the risk of a ‘disease inflation’. Patients at risk of over-diagnosis and medical interventions which are of little or no benefit should be identified and ways found to reduce unnecessary treatment or medication. As a generalist and initial point of contact, the general practitioner is normally the entry point for most patients into the healthcare system and the one providing the long-term supervision of the patient’s health. Avoiding overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment is one of their key responsibilities.
Together with other research institutes, networks of doctors, service providers and health insurance companies, the Institute of General Practice at Universitätsklinikum Erlangen offers a broad cooperation network. The PRO PRICARE network and three related research projects are being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, funding reference 01GY1605, from 1 February 2017 to 31 January 2020. Funding is planned to continue until 2023.
Children are at a disadvantage when being given medication, as not enough attention is paid to safety and there is often a lack of data on the effectiveness of the medicine. Medicines are often used off-label for children, placing children at a far greater risk. The aim of the KIDSafe project is to make it easier to take an evidence-based approach to treating children with medicine by introducing Paedpharm, improving the safety of pharmacotherapy in children and adolescents. The effectiveness of PaedPharm is being tested in 12 cluster regions in Germany.
The project is being funded by the Innovation Committee of the Federal Joint Committee, funding reference 01NVF16021, from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020.
Software Campus is a training programme from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, tailored for managers in the IT sector. It is aimed at students studying for a Master’s degree and doctoral candidates in computer science from Germany and abroad, who have demonstrated outstanding academic success and an innovative entrepreneurial spirit. Within the framework of the programme, Master’s students or doctoral candidates can develop and manage their own IT idea as part of a project together with an industrial partner. BMBF has provided funding of up to 100,000 euros for the project for a maximum of two years. Those participating in the programme have the opportunity to attend special training courses aimed at improving their methodological and management skills, as well as other valuable soft skills.
The project is being funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, reference number 01IS17045, from 1 November 2017 to 31 October 2023.