The University of Cologne has won funding for a new Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) from the German Research Foundation (DFG) and three existing CRCs have been granted follow-up funding. Researchers from the neurosciences and other disciplines will collaborate in the new Collaborative Research Centre ‘Key mechanisms of motor control in health and disease’. They will investigate the genetic factors as well as cellular, synaptic, and neural processes underlying motor control in animals and humans. Their results are expected to expand our knowledge of motor control in both healthy individuals and in neuropsychiatric diseases, and to allow for the development of more targeted therapeutic strategies. The new CRC will be funded for an initial period of four years with a total of approximately 13 million euros including overhead funding.
The spokesperson for the new CRC is the neurologist and neuroscientist Professor Dr Gereon Rudolf Fink, who is also the director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Neurology and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Cologne. He remarked: ‘Many neurological or mental illnesses are accompanied by paralysis or disturbed movement sequences. The aim of the CRC is to provide new insights into which genetic, cellular, and systemic mechanisms contribute to the control of motor behaviour in healthy people and patients with neurological and psychiatric diseases. These findings may help to develop new treatment options.’
In addition, the German Research Foundation has granted three Collaborative Research Centres at the University of Cologne a second funding period:
CRC/TRR ‘Symplectic Structures in Geometry, Algebra and Dynamics’:
Research at CRC/TRR 191 focuses on so-called symplectic structures, which are based on the dynamic systems of classical mechanics. One of the goals of CRC/Transregio 191 is to bring together mathematicians from symplectic geometry with scientists from fields that have proven to be important for symplectic geometry, including, in particular, dynamics and algebra.
The University of Bochum and the University of Heidelberg are cooperation partners. Speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre is the mathematician Professor Dr Hansjörg Geiges from the University of Cologne. He said: ‘In the first funding period, we have successfully worked on developing a common symplectic language to overcome the apparent boundaries between sub-areas of geometry, algebra, and dynamics. In the second funding period, in which the University of Heidelberg will join Cologne and Bochum as a new research location, we will expand the range of topics to include not only projects on mathematical billiards, but also a visualization project on dynamics. This will be done in cooperation with the Visual Computing Group of IWR Heidelberg, which will also provide valuable impetus for public relations work.’
More information: https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/281071066
CRC ‘Control and Dynamics of Quantum Materials’:
CRC 1238 brings together a team of experimental and theoretical physicists and crystallographers in Cologne with excellent groups at the University of Bonn and Forschungszentrum Jülich. The vision of the CRC is to discover, understand and control new collective phenomena and new functionalities in quantum materials that arise from the interaction of spin-orbit coupling, correlations, and topology. Speaker of the CRC is Professor Dr Achim Rosch from the Institute of Theoretical Physics at the University of Cologne.
Rosch remarks on the research of the CRC and its goals: ‘In our Collaborative Research Centre “Control and Dynamics of Quantum Materials”, physicists and crystallographers study materials whose properties are determined by the laws of quantum mechanics. After a successful first funding period, we have set ourselves new goals. We want to equip materials consisting of a few atomic layers with new properties in a controlled manner, and investigate components that may one day be used in quantum computers.’
More information: https://gepris.dfg.de/gepris/projekt/277146847
CRC ‘Prominence in Language’
Over the next four years, twenty subprojects will continue linguistic research at the University of Cologne. The CRC ‘Prominence in Language’ is working on a comprehensive description and modelling of prominence in language. It examines this linguistic organizational principle with regard to prosody, morphosyntax, and semantics as well as text and discourse structure in a variety of languages. It thereby makes important contributions to basic research for a better understanding of language as a system between communication and cognition.
Professor Dr Klaus von Heusinger, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre, is pleased with the new grant: ‘The entire CRC is overjoyed about the follow-up funding – a recognition of the successful work of the first four years at the highest scientific level.’ Von Heusinger outlines the Collaborative Research Centre’s past achievements and future tasks: ‘In the first funding phase, we were able to demonstrate in particular that the principle of prominence, which we were investigating intensively for the first time, has an effect on central levels of grammar. We define prominence as the relationship between linguistic units – e.g. words – so that one unit stands out (for example, a stressed word). In the next funding phase, we will extend our successful research to dialogues in order to investigate the role of prominence in linguistic interaction in more detail.
More information: https://CRC1252.uni-koeln.de/
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