DFG to fund three Collaborative Research Centres at TU Dresden
The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding three Collaborative Research Centres (CRC) at TU Dresden with a total of around 29 million euros over the next four years. There will be two new CRCs in the research areas carbon concrete and 2D materials. One CRC in the field of psychology is being extended for the second time. „This is excellent news for TU Dresden and supports the continued development of our university”, says Prof. Hans Müller-Steinhagen, Rector of TU Dresden. „I would like to congratulate the three speakers and their teams from the bottom of my heart and wish them every success in their ambitious endeavours.“
New nanomaterials: CRC 1415 “Chemistry of Synthetic Two-Dimensional Materials”
The economy of the 21st century is enabled and fuelled by advanced materials for electronics and technologies. In this respect, the arena of two-dimensional materials (2DMs) became popular over the last decade, because 2DMs offer great promise in applications ranging from electronic devices to catalysis, and from information technology to medicine. 2DMs represent a class of nanomaterials with single- to few-layers thickness (≤ 10 layers) and high structural definition at the atomic/molecular level.
The Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) 1415 “Chemistry of Synthetic Two-Dimensional Materials” will aim at the controlled bottom-up synthesis and the development of novel classes of synthetic 2DMs with high structural definition. Moreover, the development of in-situ and ex-situ spectroscopic, microscopic and diffraction characterization methods plays a key role. The third focal point of the research initiative is to theoretically tackle the chemical and physical phenomena of 2DMs using advanced theoretical methods and models, and to predict the 2DM’s formation and their physical and chemical properties.
Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Xinliang Feng, Deputy spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Thomas Heine
Partners: TU Dresden, (cfaed, Chair of Molecular Functional Materials), Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Leibniz Institute of Polymer Research Dresden, Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden, Ulm University
Funding: ca 7.7 million EUR
Construction for the future: CRC/TR 280 Design strategies for carbon concrete structures using a minimal of material – Fundamentals for a new way of constructing.
Novel materials allow for new designs and new methods of construction. It sounds quite simple, but in reality there is often a long way to go. In architectural engineering, innovation processes take a particularly long time due to high demands on safety and durability as well as complex standardisation and approval procedures. This holds true even more so for high-performance building material combinations such as textile-reinforced concrete and carbon concrete, which will bring about a paradigm shift if not a revolution in building with concrete, the most important building material worldwide in terms of volume. Using carbon concrete can significantly reduce both the enormous consumption of resources and the CO2 emissions of the construction industry, at the same time giving access to additional functions. However, first construction projects have demonstrated that despite the novel possibilities, traditional construction principles based on reinforced concrete continue to be used, i.e. the conventional materials are simply being substituted. The full potential of the innovative carbon concrete composite material will only be realised in the future if it will be combined with intelligent design strategies.
Previous research projects investigated the fundamentals and the usability of the new carbon concrete material. The new Collaborative Research Centre/TRR with a total of 26 researchers will explore new construction strategies to be used with carbon concrete. The objective for the new carbon concrete composite is to not only replace the previous reinforced concrete material, but to find new ways of designing that are specifically tailored to the properties of carbon concrete in order to exploit its full performance potential.
Profound fundamental research as well as a holistic approach are the prerequisites for finding suitable methods for designing, modelling and projecting with novel construction materials. For carbon concrete composite, this implies lightweight construction principles adapted to the material. The key sources of inspiration for innovative components that transmit forces primarily through stress include botany as well as other disciplines far beyond construction, such as mathematics and art. The development of novel structures is closely linked to issues of manufacturability, taking into account both an accompanying product-related sustainability assessment and an adequate refinement of the composite itself. The construction strategies that will prove to be effective will allow for completely different shapes. The new design strategies and material combinations reduce resource and energy consumption due to previously unknown lightweight construction principles, while at the same time offering high suitability for use, structural safety and durability. Additionally, these new strategies and composites are reflected in ambitious aesthetics, which may develop into a new ‚art of constructing‘. The research alliance between TUD and RWTH has been cooperating for many years and combines the existing excellent competences. Conducting research into construction with a minimum of material using mineral composites, the alliance will be an internationally visible lighthouse.
Spokesperson: Prof. Manfred Curbach, TU Dresden
Partners: TU Dresden, RWTH Aachen University, IPF Dresden
Funding: ca 12 million EUR
Uncovering the mechanisms of volition: CRC 940 „Volition and Cognitive Control: Mechanisms, Modulators, Dysfunctions“
The team of more than 60 psychologists and neuroscientists from the TU Dresden, together with cooperation partners from the Charité Berlin, will continue their effort to elucidate the mechanisms underlying human volition and self-control for another four years.
In the past eight years, CRC researchers have already made substantial progress with respect to their overall goal to elucidate the cognitive and neural mechanisms, which underlie the ability to exert volitional control over one’s actions and emotions and to understand determinants of impaired self-control. By combining psychological experiments with advanced functional neuroimaging methods, CRC researchers were able to identify regions of the prefrontal cortex, which mediate the maintenance of intentions and the ability to shield intentions against distracting stimuli or undesired impulsive responses. Moreover, major advances were made in uncovering the neuronal circuits underlying the control of voluntary goal-directed actions as opposed to automated habits. The newly gained insights about the mechanisms of human decision-making and action control have substantially contributed to a better understanding of why individuals often exhibit impaired self-control and make shortsighted decisions in their daily life, which are associated with adverse personal consequences and great societal costs. The spokesperson of the SFB, Prof. Thomas Goschke, attributes the success of the CRC to the fact that it „combines in innovative ways interdisciplinary basic research on neurocognitive mechanisms of volition and self-control with applied themes of high clinical and societal relevance”.
In the third funding period, the researchers will investigate whether dysfunctions of neurocognitive processes underlying impaired self-control predict the long-term risk of addiction and other mental disorders, why self-control is specifically impaired under severe stress, and how such impairments affect social interactions. According to Goschke, the long-term vision is to lay foundations for improved prevention and therapy of disorders of self-control based on insights into the neurocognitive mechanisms of voluntary action control and thereby to provide new impulses for the social and philosophical discourse on freedom of will.
Spokesperson: Prof. Thomas Goschke, TU Dresden
Partners: TU Dresden, Charité Berlin
Funding: ca 10 million EUR
CFC 1415: 2D Materials
Prof. Xinliang Feng (Spokesperson)
Tel.: +49 351 463-43251
Prof. Thomas Heine (Deputy spokesperson)
Tel.: +49 351 463-37637
CFC/TR 280: Carbon Concrete
Prof. Manfred Curbach
Tel.: +49 351 463- 37660
SFB 940: Volition and Cognitive Control
Prof. Thomas Goschke,
Tel.: +49 351 463-34695 oder +49 172 3554785