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TUM-IAS Fellowships for the cooperative development of high risk new fields in technology and science

Final Report Summary - RISKINGCREATIVITY (TUM-IAS Fellowships for the cooperative development of high risk new fields in technology and science)

The essential concept of the Institute for Advanced Study of Technical University of Munich (TUM-IAS) is to promote excellent research in fields ranging from natural and applied sciences, life sciences and medicine to all areas of engineering. TUM-IAS implements this idea primarily via its Fellowship program. The institute awards Fellowships to distinguished researchers and gives them the necessary time and financial support to develop novel research areas, especially at the border between classical disciplines. The international Fellowships (incoming mobility) offered by TUM-IAS are subdivided into four categories (Hans Fischer, Hans Fischer Senior and Rudolf Diesel Industry Fellowships as well as Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Professorships) and have a duration of 3-6 years. With these programs, TUM-IAS seeks to attract researchers from industry as well as scholarly talent on senior- and early career-level from around the globe to establish intense international collaborations.
TUM-IAS’ main goal is to bolster its role as a flagship for top-level international research at TUM. It aims at assembling a pool of highly competitive, aspiring early-career researchers, giving outstanding researchers the freedom to develop new areas of research and to have major scientific breakthroughs, becoming an intellectual center for multidisciplinary scientific dialogue at TUM, and enhancing the collaboration with institutes abroad.

Significant Results and Successes
The Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Professorship program was introduced with the beginning of the funding period and has proven to be a valuable tool to attract outstanding, high-potential early-career scientists to TUM, or, in a few cases, keep them at TUM. This program offers merit-based academic career options that progress from the appointment as an assistant professor for six years through a permanent position as associate professor and on to full professor. Five calls for applications relevant for the funding period were published from 2012-2017, resulting in a total of more than 800 applications and 19 appointments. The Rudolf Mößbauer Tenure Track Professors were placed in eight different TUM departments; several of them hold joint appointments with a second TUM department due to their highly interdisciplinary research focus. A first candidate (appointed in 2013) is awaiting his final evaluation in 2019.
Furthermore, international teams were formed combining TUM competences (TUM Hosts) with external, international expertise (Hans Fischer (Senior) Fellows), and industry knowledge (Rudolf Diesel Industry Fellows). Within the reporting period, six calls for applications were published, attracting a total of more than 150 applications and resulting in the appointment of 51 Fellows. These Fellows are hosted by 11 TUM departments and come from home institutions in 11 countries in Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and North America, thus distinctively adding to the internationalization of TUM.

To ensure scientific excellence, applications were as usual reviewed by at least three international experts from the field of the candidate.
The newly appointed Fellows have not only strengthened the research efforts of already existing research topics at the institute, but also established new fields of research such as genomics, environmental sensing and modeling, multi-messenger astrophysics, biomarkers for pre-natal stress, or data-driven dynamical systems analysis in fluid mechanics.
The number of scientific publications in high-impact international journals as well as contributions to conferences is often used as a measurement for the performance of an institute. In our Annual Reports for the years 2013-2017 ( we presented a comprehensive and impressive list of all the TUM-IAS-related publications of the respective year. A high number of publications (more than 1500 for the years 2013-2017) has been published in high impact journals such as Science, Nature, as well as various journals from the Science and Nature families, Cell, Advanced Materials, ACS Nano, Angewandte Chemie Int. Ed. and many others.

In addition, TUM-IAS organized exploratory workshops, international conferences, and summer schools, such as the yearly “Munich Battery Discussions” (in cooperation with the BMW Group, and about 150 participants each year), or various workshops on topics such as “Big Data and Predictive Computational Modeling” (2015), “Quantum Control Theory” (2017), “Rethinking Soil Carbon Modeling” (2018), or “Smart Skins” (2018), just to mention a few of the about 400 events organized by the different TUM-IAS Focus Groups within the COFUND funding period. A complete list of all institute activities and events is available in our Annual Reports.

The TUM-IAS building offered a platform for scientific exchange and networking, serving as an intellectual center for TUM-IAS members organizing top-class scientific events. The TUM-IAS management team also organized regular international and interdisciplinary events such as the weekly Wednesday Coffee Talks, monthly Fellows’ lunches or the yearly General Assembly presenting TUM-IAS’ current research projects. To reach out to a broader audience and to generate a better understanding of science and its importance for society, a public lecture series called “Was machen eigentlich unsere Nachbarn, die Forscher, in Garching” took place on four Sundays per year on average, and attracted an audience of all ages and backgrounds. With the program Focal Periods, introduced in 2015, TUM-IAS aimed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration between Focus Groups working on different research areas and also to promote collaboration between active and Alumni Fellows. Four proposals for Focal Periods have been successful so far, covering the topics Clinical Cell and Tissue Engineering (two Focus Groups), Predicting Macroscopic Behavior from Microscopic Simulators (three Focus Groups), Advanced Computational Modeling for Tumor Growth Prediction (four Focus Groups), and Advanced Concepts for Ultrahigh-Efficiency Solar Cells (three Focus Groups). The Annual Report was published once a year; the community was also updated via e-mail, e.g. event invitations, calls etc.

Technical University of Munich
Institute for Advanced Study
Lichtenbergstrasse 2 a
85748 Garching, Germany
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