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Division Leibniz Competition
Leibniz Association
Chausseestraße 111
10115 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 / 20 60 49 - 33 or -32

Funding Line 1: Innovative projects

Development of professional competence in science and mathematics preservice teachers (KeiLa)

Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), Kiel

The project addresses the question how core dimensions of science and mathematics teachers’ competence develop during university studies, and which conditions foster that development. The focus is on teacher knowledge, i.e. content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, and generic pedagogical knowledge. About 1,800 preservice teachers in two cohorts participate in this longitudinal study. Participants repeatedly complete tests on teacher knowledge and questionnaires. The tests had been constructed in a previous project (KiL) that was also funded by the Leibniz Association.

Period: 1. January 2014 - 31. December 2017

Final report (in German only) (PDF)


The rise of the digital society. Computerisation in the Federal Republic and the GDR

Centre for Contemporary History Potsdam (ZZF)

The establishment of computer use led to massive changes in society in the 1970s and 1980s. Especially the working environments of large companies and administrations were transformed. At the same time computers allowed for a new level of monitoring, which in turn sparked great fears particularly in west Germany. This project will analyse - from an East and West German perspective – the effects increasing computer use had on working practices, society’s control mechanisms, and how it affected the rivalry of the two German states between the Cold War and the Reunification. Computer use in the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office), the MfS (Ministry for State Security, Stasi), the German Pension Fund, in savings banks, but also the environment of hackers and gamblers will be some of the key aspects, complemented by cooperation projects on industry, film and military. Thus, the project will develop new fields of research in contemporary history and promises paradigmatic impulses for future historiography.

Period: 1. May 2014 - 30. April 2018
Final report (in German only) (PDF)


Management practices, organisational behaviour and firm performance in Germany

Institute for the World Economy (IfW), Kiel

This is the first large-scale study conducted in Germany on the role of management and organisation for various aspects of firm performance such as productivity, innovation, employment and exports. Another novel contribution is a comparison of the importance of management and organisational behaviour for firms in the US and Germany. This will allow us to draw important conclusions as to the role of management for explaining differences between these two countries’ aggregate productivity and to determine the role of competitiveness levels, the degree of labor market regulation and education and training systems in explaining these differences. Lastly, we look at how workers of different skill groups adjust to management practices within a firm. This project will be jointly carried out with IAB (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung), Stanford University, the London School of Economics and Infas (Institut für angewandte Sozialwissenschaft).

Period: 1. January 2014 - 31. July 2017

Final report (PDF)


Neuro-optogenetics

German Primate Center – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research (DPZ) Goettingen

The goal of this research project is to establish and explore the novel technique of optogenetics in non-human primates, which has been originally developed in rodents. Optogenetics is a powerful tool to help find new causal relationships in central research topics of systems neuroscience, which previously could have been studied only with correlative methods. In close collaboration of several research groups at the DPZ, the virus-based transfection method of optogenetics shall be adapted and advanced for its application in non-human primates, and then explored in various research topics, such as visual attention, decision-making, and neuroprosthetics. Important advances are expected in the understanding of fundamental brain functions that define the cognitive capabilities of primates, and therefore also of humans.

Period: 1. July 2014 - 30. June 2018


TSPIG THz Sensors with Plasmonic Integrated GaN Components

Ferdinand-Braun-Institut, Leibniz-Institut für Höchstfrequenztechnik (FBH), Berlin

Spectroscopic analysis is the method of choice for a variety of detection purposes, which includes monitoring food quality as well as detection of drugs or hazardous substances. The THz frequency range is particularly suited for this purpose, allowing non-destructive testing based on the spectral fingerprints of the materials under investigation. So far, however, THz spectroscopy requires expensive equipment of large size and limited mobility, and it needs long measurement cycles. The objective of the TSPIG project is to develop new plasmonic THz detectors of compact size and with high sensitivity, using the gallium-nitrid (GaN) technology. This approach offers the potential to realise scalable focal-plane arrays which operate almost in real time and should be much less expensive than existing technologies. The THz detectors target the frequency range 0.5 - 4 THz, but they should be applicable also at higher frequencies.

Period: 1. January 2014 – 30. April 2017

Final report (in German only) (PDF)


MaTMeLT: Mixing and Transport in the Mesosphere/Lower Thermosphere

Leibniz Institute of Atmospheric Physics at the Rostock University (IAP), Kühlungsborn

This project aims to assess the mixing of trace gases by transient motions in the mesosphere/lower thermosphere (MLT, 50 to 110 km height) in relation to large-scale transport. Understanding the underlying processes is also important for the lower atmosphere where the global relevance of small-scale motions is less obvious. To address the subject we shall use a nudged version of a mechanistic climate model (including radiation, moisture, and a simple ocean model) that is coupled to a chemistry-transport model, as well as a regional non-hydrostatic model. The concept of stratified turbulence, which implies a specific ratio of horizontal and vertical scales, will be tested for gravity waves and related tracer fluctuations on the basis of high-resolution measurements in the MLT. Corresponding to these results, an anisotropic and scale-invariant Smagorinsky-type turbulence model for the macroturbulent inertia range associated with the atmospheric mesoscales shall be developed.

Period:1. July 2014 - 30. June 2018

Final report (PDF)


Tailored manipulation of fluids in functionalised highly integrated micro- and nanoscale fluidic systems

Leibniz Institute for Solid State and Materials Research Dresden (IFW)

New technologies based on transport, actuation and manipulation of fluids and objects in the micro- and nanometer scale are rapidly developing. Downscaling of conventional fluidic systems and miniaturised highly integrated devices approaches physical limitations. External driving forces based on electrical, thermal, magnetic and microacoustic fields and field gradients are promising tools to overcome problems affecting certain aspects of transport processes and may be tailored for specific tasks in micro- and nanoscaled systems. New interesting fundamental effects also with regard to future application are expected on the nanoscale when classical fluid dynamic approaches are reduced to the molecular scale. The project aims for this sophisticated topic and enables unique possibilities to combine theoretical and experimental approaches to cover both the engineering and manufacturing of micro- and nanoscaled fluidic systems and the fundamental understanding of fluid flow.

Period: 1. April 2014 - 31. March 2017

Final report (PDF)


Electron microscopy of labeled protein complex subunits in whole cells in aqueous environment

INM – Leibniz-Institute for New Materials (INM), Saarbrücken

A central challenge of the life sciences is to understand the organisation of protein complexes driving cellular function. This knowledge is needed to effectively fight diseases, such as cancer, and virus infections. Understanding how protein complexes are organised and interact at the nanoscale within the crowded and compartmentalised volume of the cell is presently limited by the available microscopy techniques. We aim to establish a novel technology for research on protein localisation in whole eukaryotic cells in liquid, and to apply this technology to the study of an important ion channel in the plasma membrane. Nanoparticles will be used to specifically label membrane proteins assembling into protein complexes. Cells with labelled proteins will then be enclosed in a microfluidic chamber with electron transparent windows and studied with scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM).

Period: 1. March 2014 - 28. February 2017

Project Website

Final report (PDF)


Mapping non-equilibrium electron density distributions in space and time by femtosecond x-ray diffraction

Max-Born-Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI), Berlin

The structure and function of crystalline matter are determined by the spatial arrangement of electrons in chemical bonds. Electron distributions in time-independent structures have been derived from x-ray diffraction data acquired under stationary conditions. This project aims at mapping electron distributions during structure-changing processes which occur on the length scale of chemical bonds and the femtosecond (1 fs = 10-15 s) time scale of atomic motions in crystals. Such snapshots combined into ‘x-ray movies’ provide direct insight into the character of and mechanisms behind elementary structure changes in physics, chemistry and biology. A key goal of the project is the development and implementation of a novel laser-driven table-top x-ray source providing hard x-ray pulses of 100 fs duration with an unprecedented photon flux of the order of 109 photons per pulse. This design includes a new optical driver generating intense sub-100 fs pulses at a mid-infrared wavelength of 5 µm.

Period: 1. January 2014 - 31. December 2016

Project Website
Final report (PDF)


Probabilistic methods for communication networks with mobile relays

Weierstrass Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics (WIAS), Berlin

We study a new concept for extending mobile communication networks, namely augmentation by mobile relays. This will decrease the need for (expensive) base stations and should improve service quality. To perform detailed analysis, we will make substantial extensions to existing probabilistic methods and provide complex developments of simulation tools. The new LTE-Advanced standard (for mobile communication networks) introduces fixed relays to help satisfy rapidly increasing demand for high quality services in an affordable way. We extend the relay concept to include users' devices, which by their nature are mobile. However, the benefits of mobile relays depend on the environment, for instance, on the number of users and their mobility. We propose to use a combination of rigorous probability and simulation based systems engineering to discover potential benefits for network operators. The project will be carried out in collaboration with the Department System Design of the IHP (Innovations for High Performance Microelectronics) Frankfurt / Oder.

Period: 1. July 2014 - 30. June 2018

Project Website
Final report (PDF)


Linking aquatic mycodiversity to ecosystem function (MycoLink)

Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Berlin

The project examines the links between phylogeny, genomics, physiology, and ecology of aquatic fungi. We combine the expertise of four Leibniz institutes (IGB, IZW, ZALF, DSMZ) with the aim of developing methods for phylogenetic and biodiversity research, establishing databases and cultures, and understanding their ecological role in natural and experimental ecosystems.

Period: 1. June 2014 - 28. February 2018

Project Website
Final report (PDF)


Greenland glacial system and future sea-level rise

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

The mass loss of the Greenland ice sheet is expected to make a major contribution to future sea-level rise due to increasing global temperatures. However, current ice sheet models still poorly represent important processes like the mass loss of the ice sheet via numerous small outlet glaciers and the transport of oceanic heat through the fjords to the termini of the outlet glaciers. We move Greenland ice sheet modelling forward by introducing a novel representation of fast flow processes, together with several other improvements to treatment of basal water fluxes. The central innovation is the development and use of simplified models of outlet glaciers and fjords, in order to understand impact of oceanic changes on the ice sheet. Large ensembles of model runs will help to improve predictions of future mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet.

Period: 1. January 2014 - 31. December 2017

Final report (PDF)


Contributing to coral commons (Triple C)

Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT), Bremen

Tropical coral reefs provide substantial ecosystem services on a global and local scale: they produce fish, protect shore lines, provide tourism recreation, and host a huge biodiversity. Coral reefs face unprecedented degradation that stems from various drivers operating at multiple levels: for example, ocean acidification, eutrophication or overfishing. For economists coral reefs are common pool resources, meaning that all would benefit from halting degradation. However, the pursuit of individual benefits creates incentives to continue destruction. This project contributes to resolving this dilemma by employing different methods from economics, ethnography, and ecology to investigate the factors that determine people’s willingness to contribute to solving the coral commons dilemma. Results will help to find institutional mechanisms to address the crisis. The project focuses on an ecological resource, but puts the emphasis on the analysis of humans as the primary ecosystem engineer.

Period:1. Mai 2014 - 30. April 2018

Project Website
Final report (PDF)