Sonderforschungsbereiche SFB Beteiligungen alte Bücher (EN)
Old books

Collaborative Research Centres with RUB participation

Researchers from Bochum are involved in these Collaborative Research Centres applied for by other universities.

SFB 1461

Neuroelectronics: Biologically inspired information processing

  • Coordination: Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • Other partners: Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU), Technische Universität Ilmenau (TUIL), Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik Frankfurt/Oder (IHP), Leibniz-Institut für die Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik Kiel (IPN), Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Technische Hochschule Lübeck (THL) sowie das University College Cork (UCC), Irland, als internationaler Partner.
  • Funded since 2021

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The Collaborative Research Center addresses the question of how information processing in biological nervous systems can be realized with novel electrical circuits.

The goal is to develop a dymorphic processor whose topology adapts to external stimuli in a self-organizing manner. Insights into such basic evolutionary principles could, on the one hand, provide impulses for the development of dynamic technical and high-performance networks and, on the other hand, clarify how the nervous system was able to develop into an increasingly complex high-performance network despite different environmental influences.

SFB 1461

SFB 1439

Multilevel response to stressor increase and release in stream ecosystems

  • Coordination: University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Other partners: University of Cologne, Kiel University, University of Koblenz-Landau, Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (Berlin), Centre for Environmental Research Halle-Leipzig
  • Funding since 2021

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SFB 1439 RESIST Fluss

Rivers and streams are centres of biodiversity and are vitally important for humans. Due to human actions, waters are impaired in various ways, which does not fail to leave a mark on plants and animals. The Collaborative Research Centre “Multilevel response to stressor increase and release in stream ecosystems” aims to understand how different stressors individually and in combination affect the biodiversity and functions of flowing waters, and how previously stressed ecosystems recover again. Models to predict the effects are also set to be developed. Experts in a wide range of stressors and a variety of organism groups are cooperating in SFB 1439, which has the short title “RESIST”.

SFB 1439

SFB 1372

Magnetoreception and navigation in vertebrates: from biophysics to brain and behavior

  • Coordination: University of Oldenburg
  • Other partners: Institute of Avian Research „Vogelwarte Helgoland“ Wilhelmshaven, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology Plön, University of Cologne, Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot/Israel
  • Funded since 2019

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Sonderforschungsbereich Beteiligungen SFB 1372 Taube (EN)

Animals frequently cover long distances on their migration routes. Birds in particular sometimes travel more than ten thousand kilometres and land at high precision within a few dozen metres of their destination. To date, it has not been understood in detail how they accomplish this incredible feat of navigation. The team at the Collaborative Research Centre 1372 intends to find out. Specifically, the researchers are interested in the magnetoreception and navigation systems of vertebrates and will be looking into the underlying biophysical principles as well as the animals’ behaviour. Thus, they intend to determine how animals perceive magnetic signals, how such information is transported to the brain, and how it is processed and cross-referenced with other information that is relevant for navigation. The genetic basis of animal migration is likewise of interest to the researchers.

The team headed by Professor Onur Güntürkün at RUB addresses two sub-aspects of this comprehensive issue in two projects. The first project aims at identifying the visual, magnetic, olfactory, and auditory senses in terms of their anatomical structures, their projections within the avian forebrain, and their synaptic junctions. The goal is to draw up an anatomical map that shows how stimuli that are relevant for navigation are processed. The research focuses primarily on brain areas responsible for the processing of spatial memory and of decisions to fly in certain directions.

The second project researches how different spatial aspects are coded by individual neural cells in the hippocampus of pigeons. To this end, birds will be foraging for food in a large room; they will be continuously in motion or in flight, while numerous neural cells in the hippocampus will be monitored. Together, both projects are supposed to provide a neuronal inside view of the capabilities birds use to cover thousands of kilometres above mountains, seas, cities, and deserts to reach that one meadow where they successfully bred the previous year.

SFB 1372

SFB 1287

Limits of Variability in Language: Cognitive, Grammatical, and Social Aspects

  • Coordination: Universität Potsdam
  • Other Partners: Universität des Saarlandes
  • Fundes since 2017

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The language faculty forms part of the cognitive system, and as such the use of language is constrained by cognitive limitations of the individual language user. At the same time, language is a tool for social interaction and communication, and as such must provide flexible but efficient mechanisms which enable the language users to achieve communicative success with a variety of interlocutors. The way people use language therefore exhibits a high degree of variability at all levels of linguistic description. At the same time, some linguistic features seem to be more stable, or robust, than others. By exploring the systematicity and the limits of variability in linguistic behaviours, the main focus of the CRC will lie on identifying the constraints of the underlying linguistic system.

SFB 1287

SFB 1167

Macht and Herrschaft – Pre-modern configurations in a transcultural perspective

  • Coordination: University of Bonn
  • Funded since 2016

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Sonderforschungsbereiche SFB Beteiligungen alte Bücher (EN)
Old books

The processes that have been bundled under the umbrella term “globalisation” cannot be understood without prior analysis of the overcome political and social organisational structures.

Accordingly, members of Collaborative Research Centre 1167 research into premodern configurations of power and sovereignty in Asia, Europe, and northern Africa in a transcultural perspective. An integral element of the description is revealing the interdependencies of lived, established order on the one hand and the way they are perceived, presented, and commented on the other hand. In the process, the researchers intend to break down the traditional Europe-centric perspective and develop a transcultural approach.

The cultural areas that are subject to research are regarded as hybrid structures that are affected by diverse factors and that also trigger changes themselves. The Collaborative Research Centre aims at compiling a comprehensive phenomenology of premodern power and sovereignty.

SFB 1167 (German)

SFB/TR 160

Coherent manipulation of interacting spin excitations in tailored semiconductors

  • Coordination: TU Dortmund University
  • Other partners: Paderborn University, St. Petersburg University, Ioffe Institute St. Petersburg
  • Funded since 2015

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Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 160 Halbleiter (EN)

Researchers worldwide are attempting to render quantum-physical effects usable for energy-saving and rapid information technology. Semiconductors might constitute the foundation therefor. The objective is to manipulate not only the optical and electrical properties of semiconductors, but also their magnetic properties. This can be achieved by controlling the spin of electrons in the semiconductor; through the direction of this intrinsic spin, information can be encoded in a system.

Quantum effects typically only occur on the atomic level. Under certain conditions, however, they can also have an impact on the macroscopic level, namely in case of a coherent overlap of multiple states. In a coherent system, the phases of different spin waves are interconnected in a certain way. However, due to external influences, the phases may shift and the coherence that gives meaning to the stored information may be disrupted.

The Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 160 team is striving to manipulate not only individual coherent spins, but also interacting spins. In order to achieve this objective, high-purity semiconductors are necessary; the group is designing new material concepts for this purpose. Moreover, the collaboration partners are developing sophisticated theoretical models for spin interactions.

The interactions between the spins are tailor-cut, either to suppress harmful interactions with the environment and to maintain spin coherence, or in order to reinforce the interactions between the spins. Thus, the researchers have established overlaps and entanglements of quantum states, in order to achieve functionalities that cannot be realised in incoherent systems.

SFB/TR 160

SFB 1101

Molecular Encoding of Specificity in Plant Processes

  • Coordination: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • Other partners: Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg
  • Funded since 2014

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Within the recent year many key player proteins have been identified in plant organisms, which play a crucial role in the plant’s physiology, growth and development and adaptation to environmental cues. The determination of the molecular-mechanistic function of these key players has to be next step in plant molecular biology. A very important but often unsolved scientific question is of how these key players exert their specific activity inside the nucleus, the cytoplasm, in the membrane and the endomembrane system and by cell-cell communication.

Therefore, the central interest of the CRC 1101 is the “Molecular Encoding of Specificity in Plant Processes” is of how specificity of biological processes is achieved on the molecular-mechanistic level. The encoding of specificity can, thereby, be realized on different level: from structural changes of single molecules and proteins, over the specific and dynamic interaction of molecules to higher order complexes and the intracellular trafficking and sorting of molecules up to the systemic distribution of specificity-mediating factors over cell borders.

SFB 1101

SFB 1102

Information Density and Linguistic Encoding

  • Coordination: Saarland University
  • Further partner: Göttingen University
  • Funding since 2014

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SFB-Beteiligungen-Mund (EN)
A mouth talking

Language provides not only the expressiveness needed to communicate, but also offers speakers a multitude of choices regarding how they may encode their messages – from the choice of words, structuring of syntactic elements, and arranging sentences in discourse.

The SFB addresses the hypothesis that language variation and language use can be better understood in terms of the goal of speakers to modulate the amount of information conveyed in an utterance. While previous efforts have sought to understand language systems and their use in terms of complexity, the definition of this notion is often imprecise and specific to particular linguistic levels.

Recently, however, there is evidence that the ease of processing linguistic material is correlated with its contextually determined predictability. This has lead to the hypothesis that complexity may be appropriately indexed by Shannon’s notion of information, referred to in recent linguistic work as surprisal.

SFB 1102

SFB/TR 128

Initiating/effector versus regulatory mechanisms in Multiple Sclerosis – progress towards tackling the disease

  • Coordination: Münster University
  • Other partners: Mainz University, LMU Munich, Technical University of Munich, Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research, W.G. Kerckhoff Institute in Bad Nauheim, Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology Planegg
  • Funded since 2012

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Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 128 Rollstühle (EN)

What causes multiple sclerosis (MS)? This question is investigated by members of the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 128, which is hosted by the universities in Munic, Münster, and Mainz.

Despite considerable research progress, many questions into the causes of MS remain open. While genetics plays a fairly secondary role, environmental risk factors increase the risk of MS. In order to analyse such MS risk factors in greater detail, RUB neurologists at St. Josef-Hospital have been conducting research into intestines and diet and are involved in the Collaborative Research Centre with their project.

In the intestine, food, intestinal bacteria – the so-called microbiome –, their metabolic products, and the immune systems come together. The researchers initially investigated in what way the fat contained in food, which is a mixture of different fatty acids, can affect the autoimmune disease of the brain. The result: the longer the fatty acids, the more pro-inflammatory immune cells form in the intestinal walls, which can lead to a severe progression of the disease. The opposite effect is caused by short-chain fatty acids, such as propionate, that is gained with bacterial help from high-fibre foods in the intestines. Propionate leads to a significant increase of regulatory immune cells and a decline of inflammatory cells.

SFB/TR 128

SFB 1044

The low-energy frontier of the standard model: from quarks and gluons to hadrons and nuclei

  • Coordination: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
  • Other partners: Helmholtz-Institut Mainz, Stony Brook University, Mount Allison University (USA)
  • Funded since 2012

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Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 1044 Sensor (EN)

The Collaborative Research Centre 1044 focuses on hadron physics. Hadrons are subatomic particles which are built up from quarks and are bound together by the strong interaction. Many questions of particle physics up to atomic physics or even astrophysics have not as yet been answered. In nearly all questions at the forefront of the mentioned research fields, the progress is limited by a missing quantitative knowledge of the strong interaction in the light quarks sector. In quantum chromodynamics (QCD), which describes the strong interaction as a field theory, this sector cannot be accessed using the perturbative approach. Perturbation theory constitutes a strategy where complex problems are initially idealised and then reduced to problems the solutions of which are known. Subsequently, the factors that had been left out are then added as minor perturbations. However, not all problems can be solved using this method. The team of Collaborative Research Centre 1044 is striving to close this knowledge gap.

The researchers are operating at the low-energy frontier of the Standard Model of particle physics. This means on the one hand, they use extremely low-energetic electron beams, in order to measure parameters of the Standard Model of particle physics directly. On the other hand, they attempt to gain deep insight into the structure and dynamics of hadrons and answer the question of how, exactly, these particles are composed of their components, the quarks and gluons. To reach this goal they evaluate data recorded with the BESIII detector in Beijing and the A2 detector at the MAMI accelerator in Mainz.

The Bochum-based team focuses on hadron spectroscopy, and more specifically on the search for and characterisation of so-called exotic states.

SFB 1044


Cooperative Effects in Homo- and Heterometallic Complexes (3MET)

  • Coordination: Technical University of Kaiserslautern
  • Other partners: Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Funding since 2011

More about the research topic of SFB/TR 88

Under the umbrella of Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 88, researchers from the fields of chemistry and physics study the fundamental relationships connecting interactions between atomic metal centres in large molecular complexes – within individual molecules as well as between the molecules and their environment. Their objective is to manufacture molecules with customised properties and to optimise them for future applications.

The interaction between several metal centres may result in the development of new properties. In the field of magnetism, gigantic information densities can be generated by interlinking metal centres, which are crucial for quantum computing. Novel luminescent materials might be used to create high-brilliancy displays of the new generation that don’t require any rare earth elements. Moreover, multimetal complexes facilitate new chemical reactions, for example for the production of energy. These catalysts may thus help optimise the efficiency and selectivity of reactions.

As part of the research project, RUB Professor Lukas Gooßen is developing new catalysts that contain two or three metallic nuclei. His research focuses on activating the carbon-hydrogen bonds that usually don’t react. This stable bond is to be broken down by having one metal interact with the carbon, the other one with the hydrogen. Subsequently, the hydrogen is to be replaced by a functional group, e.g. an aryl group, an alcohol or an amine group. The metallic catalysts are supposed to regenerate in the process and, consequently, to repeatedly transform new molecules in the same way.

SFB/TR 88 (German)

SFB 823

Statistics of nonlinear dynamic processes

  • Coordination: TU Dortmund University
  • Other partners: University of Duisburg-Essen
  • Funded since 2009

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Sonderforschungsbereich SFB 823 Formeln Whiteboard (EN)
Mathematical formulas on a whiteboard

Statistical modelling in economics and engineering science is confronted with diverse intervening variables and complex processes – often with confusing dependences – that cannot be described with conventional models.

An example: during the most recent financial crisis, almost all economic models have failed to provide the correct diagnoses and prognoses. While development and trends at stock markets vary during calm periods, their behaviour is very similar during crises, with losses of almost equal percentage. Why do international capital market dependences increase drastically during economic downturn? And how can it be explained that the respective markets do not present the same simultaneous breaks during economic upswing? The main objective pursued by the researchers of Collaborative Research Centre 823 is to identify and quantify these abrupt and/or gradual changes – so-called structural breaks.

These problems are by no means limited to economics. Similar problems also occur in engineering sciences. When processing concrete, for example, it must not be assumed that the influences exerted by process variables remain constant; rather, structural breaks do occur that must be factored in statistical modelling.

Consequently, the Collaborative Research Centre is highly interdisciplinary, manned by researchers from the fields of economics, social sciences, mechanical engineering, statistics, mathematics, electrical engineering, and information technology.

SFB 823

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