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Excellence Strategy: University of Bremen Successful

Sep 27, 2018
New Cluster "The Ocean Floor - Earth's Uncharted Interface" at MARUM
The manipulator of the diving robot MARUM-QUEST takes a geological sample at a depth of 530 metres northwest of the Azores island of São Miguel. Photo: MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen
The manipulator of the diving robot MARUM-QUEST takes a geological sample at a depth of 530 meters northwest of the Azores island of São Miguel. Photo: MARUM - Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen

The University of Bremen is successful in the Excellence Strategy. An international commission of experts chose its cluster application and others from 88 applications. A total of 195 draft proposals were submitted in advance. The new cluster will be funded for seven years from 2019 onward. The research project is housed at the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences of the University of Bremen, where excellent marine and deep-sea research has been carried out for almost 20 years.

“This is a great success. We are grateful for the repeated recognition and distinction of the University of Bremen,” says President Bernd Scholz-Reiter. “This decision acknowledges the outstanding work of our scientists, the excellent framework conditions of the University of Bremen for marine sciences, and the excellent collaboration with our partner institutions.” MARUM is one of the world’s most important research institutes in the marine sciences. An Excellence Cluster has been funded there since 2007. Over 350 people in science and technology are working on exploring the oceans and the deep sea. “We are delighted that we can open a new chapter in ocean floor research with the new approved cluster,” says MARUM Director Professor Michael Schulz, who is also the cluster’s spokesperson. “Over the next seven years, we will explore exchange processes on the ocean floor that play a key role in the Earth’s systems. The focus of our activities will be on the deep sea,” says Professor Schulz.

Exploring the Ocean Floor

The ocean floor accounts for about two-thirds of the Earth’s solid surface. What processes take place there and how they affect all of the Earth’s systems is still not understood. Nevertheless, the researchers are certain that it is an important interface for the climate system and the global carbon cycle. The seabed is also like an archive that has recorded the environmental conditions of bygone times. Research will also focus on how the sensitive ecosystems in the deep sea react to a changing environment and rising temperatures. The unique fleet of equipment operated at MARUM will be used for the research, with advanced devices include diving robots, drilling rigs, and autonomous underwater vehicles.

Close Collaboration with Partner Institutions

As part of the cluster, the researchers at MARUM will work closely with partner institutions in the region. These include the University of Oldenburg, Jacobs University, the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Senckenberg am Meer, and the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT). Together, the scientists hope to exploit the full potential of ocean floor research in the region.

Additional Funding for U Bremen Excellence Chairs

In addition to the funding for the Excellence Cluster, the University of Bremen also receives funds from the Excellence Strategy of the German federal and state governments for a university lump sum of one million euros. The state of Bremen provides for an increase of this amount. Starting in 2019/20, up to eight so-called U Bremen Excellence Chairs are to be financed with the funds. Three additional chairs will be financed through the MARUM cluster application. The Excellence Chairs offer internationally outstanding scientists the opportunity to conduct research at the University of Bremen over a period of several years in addition to their home institution and to establish their own working group there. At the same time, they are intended to strengthen the university’s partnerships with leading institutions worldwide.

Senator Congratulates

Senator of Science Eva Quante-Brandt congratulates the University of Bremen along with MARUM and the marine scientists from Bremen on this success: “Bremen’s marine research has prevailed in a scientific showdown with great competition. I would like to congratulate all those involved from the University of Bremen and the nonuniversity partners in Bremen as well as the University of Oldenburg. Of course, I am particularly pleased that the panel of experts not only emphasized the outstanding research, but also the good infrastructure that has been built up thanks to the strong support of the state of Bremen. The fact that the university’s concept for the university lump sum also convinced the international experts demonstrates that the University of Bremen has taken the right path with its strategy for the further development of excellent research.”

Contact:

President Bernd Scholz-Reiter
University of Bremen
Tel.: +49 421 218-66010
E-mail: [Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]

Professor Michael Schulz
Director of the MARUM Center for Marine Environmental Sciences
University of Bremen
Tel.: +49 421 218-65540
E-mail: [Bitte aktivieren Sie Javascript]

MARUM aims at understanding the role of the oceans in the Earth’s system by employing state-of-the-art methods. It examines the significance of the oceans within the framework of global change, quantifies interactions between the marine geosphere and biosphere, and provides information for sustainable use of the ocean.