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Excellent research projects

Alexander von Humboldt Professorship

The research group "Behavioral Economics for the Environment" of the Alexander-von-Humboldt (AvH) professorship for Environmental Economics of the University of Osnabrück (UOS) is working on behavioral aspects of environmental policies. It is part of the Institute for Environmental Systems Research. We are particularly interested in two types of modern policy approaches and the ways to combine them: economic incentives, in particular payments for ecosystem services (PES), and cooperative approaches based on self-regulation. These two approaches have developed independently and are based on apparently contradicting assumptions about what drives human behavior, namely (i) self-interest, requiring material motivations, or (ii) social and environmental preferences providing intrinsic motivations for sustainable action.

However, individuals are more likely to have a mix of these motivations and to weigh them differently in contexts with strong or weak social norms. It is thus increasingly clear that neither approach alone will effectively address contemporary environmental challenges.

Research Training Group in Combinatorial Structures in Geometry

The central idea behind this research training group is the interpenetration of combinatorics and geometry. The research results of all scientists involved have been strongly influenced by these crosslinks for quite some time as they enable extremely precise structure related conclusions. This particularly applies for objects of algebraic geometry, as e.g. affine and projective varieties, and for objects of discrete geometry, as e.g. cones or polytopes. These common questions of mathematical disciplines, which often work isolated, shall be connected by a cross-linkage of different approaches and questions. The research programme of this training group therefore focuses on projects of at least two fields of interest so that – on one hand – new tools are provided for every individual field and – on the other hand – the examination of new theoretical questions is stimulated.

European Research Council - Consolidator Grant: Mesoscopic structure formation in Nanopores


Abb.: Mesokopische Strukturbildung in Nanoporen. Institut für Chemie neuer Materialien

Using self-ordered anodic aluminum oxide as inorganic model matrix, the research Group of Prof. Dr.  Steinhart investigates in tight collaboration with various other groups: Kinetics of the infiltration of polymers into nanopores, dynamics and elastic properties of polymers in AAO, crystallization in nanopores, microphase separation of block copolymers in nanopores and structure formation in block copolymer nanorods and functional nanostructured and microstructured surfaces.

The group also investigates, together with their collaborators, nanostructured and microstructured surfaces consisting of block copolymers, nanorod arrays and microsphere arrays. The following aspects are addressed: Patterned polymeric surfaces with specific adhesive properties, applications of block copolymer lithography and nanorod arrays as sensor element, substrate for tissue engineering etc.

Collaborative Research Center 944: Physiology and dynamics of cellular microcompartments


Abb.: Collaborative Research Center 944: Physiology and dynamics of cellular microcompartments

Groups from the University of Osnabrück and Münster share a common interest in the physiology and dynamics of the sub-organellar organization (microcompartmentation) of proteins and lipids. Technical expertise of the groups extends from cell biology to developmental genetics, biophysics and membrane/cell biology. The Z-project provides access to high/super-resolution and time-resolved live cell microscopy, and will provide training for students of the international research training group. The SFB 944 started its work in January 2011 and is now in its second funding period (2015-2018). 

The SFB 944 aims to unravel the general principles underlying the suborganellar organization into microcompartments, to study their constituents (proteome), regulation (dynamics), and turn-over, in order to reveal their physiological importance. Our particular focus is on microcompartments, which form only transiently in the context of membranes or other dynamic subcellular structures, often depending on the specific microenvironment (pH, redox).

Participation in European Consolidator Grant: Multisense


European Consolidator Grant "Multisense". Foto: Fiedels/Fotolia

The goal of this project is to contribute to a new emerging framework for understanding multisensory experience that emphasizes the role of dynamic interactions, views multisensory integration as an active perceptual process, takes into account the modulation of multisensory experience by topdown influences and considers adaptivity of multisensory processing on different time scales.

In this project, the researchers pursue a coherent set of highly innovative approaches to elucidate cognitive and neural basis of multisensory experience. Their approach opens up new possibilities for therapeutic approaches and clinical training procedures, for manipulating multisensory experience, for the modeling of multisensory interactions and for new application scenarios.

Participation in research training group: Situated cognition

Im interdisziplinär ausgerichteten Graduiertenkolleg "Situierte Kognition" arbeiten Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler der Ruhr-Universität Bochum und der Universität Osnabrück gemeinsam an der Frage, wie kognitive Prozesse mit externen Einflüssen zusammenspielen, um die geistigen Fähigkeiten des Menschen hervorzubringen. Das Kolleg soll methodisch die Philosophie des Geistes und der Kognition mit der Psychologie und den Neurowissenschaften verknüpfen, dabei steht die philosophische Theoriebildung im Zentrum.

Eine Grundannahme der Forschungsarbeit im Kolleg ist, dass sich die geistigen Fähigkeiten des Menschen nicht allein als Hirnaktivitäten beschreiben lassen. Auch äußere Faktoren spielen eine Rolle: So bestimmt zum Beispiel die Gesichtsmuskulatur mit, wie ein Mensch sich fühlt – nicht nur umgekehrt. Auch das Erinnerungsvermögen ist vom Kontext abhängig.

All research institutions at Osnabrück University (Information in German)