The Einstein Foundation announced plans to fund two additional Einstein Centres: the Einstein Centre for Neurosciences and the Einstein Centre for Catalysis. Funding will begin in January 2016 and will total approximately €16 million spread out over five years. The proposals for the two new Einstein Centres were submitted jointly by the Charité-Universitätsmedizin, Technische Universität Berlin, Freie Universität and Humboldt-Universität.
“The external evaluators from abroad were unanimous: In both cases, the applicants demonstrated top-level work and the evaluators viewed the establishment of an Einstein Centre as the next logical step to strengthen these endeavours and promote recognition of the respective fields of research beyond their current institutional boundaries ”, reports Martin Grötschel, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Einstein Foundation.
The Einstein Centre for Neurosciences is an initiative of the Berlin School of Mind and Brain, the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, the Center for Stroke Research Berlin and the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence. Non-university partners include the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association and the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP). The new centre will bring together the different research groupings under one roof, strengthen collaborative ties between the neurosciences and neighbouring disciplines, and promote further networking activities. It is also intended to help bridge the distance between basic and clinical research and speed up the development of various therapies. One central component of the initiative is a standardised modular curriculum for training neuroscientists. New doctoral researchers will be accepted and funded each year as part of the Einstein Training Program. The candidates will receive an individualised interdisciplinary PhD programme as well as support and advising up until the completion of their respective projects.
The Einstein Centre for Catalysis (EC2) expands on the interdisciplinary and inter-institutional research of the Cluster of Excellence “Unifying Concepts in Catalysis” (UniCat). Basic research in the Einstein Centre for Catalysis focusses on the activation of key micromolecules as base materials that are indispensable for value-adding activities, for the transition to renewable energy and for the conversion of raw materials. By researching the dynamic behaviour of the required chemical and biological catalysers, new and more efficient pathways for creating raw materials or drugs can be developed. The centre’s scientific and methodological potential is also meant to serve as a catalyst for new activities in molecular research at the disciplinary boundaries of chemistry, biology, physics and medicine in Berlin. The main non-university partners are the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society, the Leibniz-Institut für Molekulare Pharmakologie Berlin (FMP), the Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften Berlin, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the UniCat BASF Joint Lab.
Coming together to form Einstein Centres promotes the long-term international prominence of Berlin as a research location for the respective disciplines. To this end, it is planned to recruit additional outstanding international researchers and acquire further research funding.
“It is wonderful to see our research institutions joining forces and collaborating so successfully. This is going to pay off for everyone involved. Both centres are working in areas that are highly relevant to society. It is essential for Berlin to be playing in the top league of internationally renowned research locations”, states Senator Sandra Scheeres.
In addition to catalysis research and neurosciences, there is already an Einstein Centre for Mathematics (ECMath). Top research institutions in Berlin have also joined forces in the field of antiquity studies to establish an Einstein Centre. For these types of research groups that already receive third-party funding – for example, through the German Universities Excellence Initiative or as DFG Research Centres – Einstein Centres make it possible to establish research and teaching networks that transcend institutional boundaries. The Einstein Foundation’s primary aim is to make Berlin a strong location for internationally competitive research.
The Einstein Foundation Berlin was founded in 2009 by the State of Berlin. The Foundation funds cutting-edge science and research in Berlin, helping to strengthen the city’s reputation as one the world’s foremost research hotspots.