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Two New Collaborative Research Centres at the University of Cologne

The Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 1310 ‘Predictability in Evolution’ and the Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio 228 ‘Future in Rural Africa’, both newly established at the University of Cologne, will be funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a period of four years.

Evolutionary biology traditionally deals with the reconstruction of past processes and the kinship relations between species over long periods of time. SFB 1310 ‘Predictability in Evolution’ explores how future evolutionary processes can be predicted at least in the short term. It investigates systems that develop particularly rapidly, such as microbes, viruses, immune systems, and cancer cells. Ultimately, the scientists want to develop methods of prediction for important processes in these systems, including the evolution of drug resistance, the evolution of antibodies in immune systems, and the co-evolution of pathogens and their host organisms. The Collaborative Research Centre will be funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft) with approximately 8 million euros over the next four years.

The managing university is the University of Cologne, with Professor Dr. Michael Lässig acting as spokesperson. In addition to the University of Cologne and Cologne University Hospital, the University of Düsseldorf, the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne, and partner institutions in Göttingen, Wageningen (Netherlands), Paris (France), and Lisbon (Portugal) are also involved.
Against the backdrop of rapidly advancing globalization, the CRC/Transregio 228 ‘Future in Rural Africa’ investigates how agricultural intensification processes and the expansion of nature conservation will affect rural areas of Africa. What impact do the seemingly contradictory, but often interwoven processes of increased land use by humans and the expansion of nature reserves have on socio-ecological change in rural Africa?

Researchers from the fields of geography, ethnology, agricultural sciences, and other disciplines analyse how different ideas of the future affect changes in land use. In this context, they pay particular attention to unforeseeable developments such as crop failures, droughts, and violent conflicts, which are characteristic of rural Africa. The focus is on areas in Eastern and Southern Africa.

The German Research Foundation will fund the CRC/Transregio with a total of approximately 10 million euros over the next four years. The CRC's managing university is the University of Bonn, with Professor Dr. Detlef Müller-Mahn acting as spokesperson. The University of Cologne is a co-applicant. The Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC), the University of Münster, Charité (the university hospital of Humboldt-Universität Berlin), and numerous cooperation partners in Africa are also involved in this joint project.

Media Enquiries CRC 1310:   
Professor Dr. Michael Lässig
Institute of Theoretical Physics and Quantitative Biology
lassig(at)thp.uni-koeln.de
+49 221 470 4309

Media Enquiries CRC/Transregio 228:
Professor Dr. Michael Bollig
Institute for Ethnology
Michael.bollig(at)uni-koeln.de
+49 221 470 3501

Press and Communications Team:

Robert Hahn
r.hahn(at)verw.uni-koeln.de
+49 221 470 2396