Success for Two Collaborative Research Centers

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved a renewal proposal for a University of Freiburg collaborative research center (SFB) and a new proposal for an SFB/Transregio (TRR) that will be based in Freiburg. The university will receive a total of around eleven million euros for the projects from 1 January 2017 to 31 December 2020. “This outstanding result provides more evidence of our research strength in the humanities, social sciences, and medicine, three of our key focus areas,” says Rector Prof. Dr. Hans-Jochen Schiewer. “I would like to congratulate and thank our researchers for making this success possible with their outstanding research and their dedication.”

SFB 1015: “Muße (Otiose Leisure): Borders, Temporal and Spatial Character, Practices”
Amount of funding: just under 6.5 million euros
The SFB “Muße (Otiose Leisure): Borders, Temporal and Spatial Character, Practices” is an existing interdisciplinary joint research project that conducts systematic, historical, and empirical research on cultures of leisure. In the second funding period, special emphasis will be placed on the societal and sociopolitical significance of leisure. “With this orientation, the SFB aims to do its part to sharpen the public debate over the availability and use of time resources,” explains project manager Prof. Dr. Peter Philipp Riedl from the University of Freiburg’s Department of German. The SFB is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Cheauré from Freiburg’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures.

The SFB will be expanded in the second funding period to include six faculties: Philology; Humanities; Theology; Economics and Behavioral Sciences; Environment and Natural Resources; and Medicine, as well as the University Medical Center. Subprojects will be conducted in the fields of theology, Slavic studies, English studies, medieval German studies, modern German literature, art history, musicology, forest science, cultural anthropology, ethnology, psychology, and human geography, as well as at the IT Services Department and the University Library. Moreover, there will be a transfer project involving the establishment of a museum for leisure and literature in Baden-Baden.

SFB/TRR 167: “Development, Function, and Potential of Myeloid Cells in the Central Nervous System” (NeuroMac)
Amount of funding: approx. 10.9 million euros, including approx. 4.5 million euros for the University of Freiburg
The SFB/TRR “NeuroMac” will study special white blood cells in the central nervous system (CNS), so-called myeloid cells or macrophages, which make up the immune system of the human brain. These cells are involved in nearly every disease event that transpires in the CNS. The brain may contain varies types of them, including both cells that originated there and cells that have migrated there on account of a disease. “It wasn’t clear until recently that the sessile myeloid cells play a key role in processes like the formation and maintenance of neural networks even in the healthy brain,” reports SFB coordinator Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz, medical director of the Institute of Neuropathology at the Freiburg University Medical Center. “Dysfunctions in these highly complex processes are associated with many diseases, and we currently only have a rudimentary understanding of them.”

The long-term goal of the SFB/TRR is to gain new insight into the origin and function of these specific immune cells of the brain. The researchers aim to lay the foundations for an improved treatment of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, stroke, and multiple sclerosis, as well as psychiatric illnesses like schizophrenia, autism, and depression. In addition to the university and the medical center, the project also includes researchers from Charité – University Medicine Berlin, the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

Prof. Dr. Peter Philipp Riedl
Department of German
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-67707

Prof. Dr. Marco Prinz
Institute of Neuropathology
Medical Center – University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761/270-51050

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