Potsdam, Germany

University of Potsdam

Potsdam, Germany

Not to be confused with the American university SUNY Potsdam at the State University of New YorkThe University of Potsdam is a German public university in the Berlin-Brandenburg region of Germany. It is situated across four campuses in Potsdam, Brandenburg, including the New Palace of Sanssouci and Babelsberg Park.The University of Potsdam is Brandenburg's largest university and with its numerous extramural institutes, the Potsdam and Berlin area is known as one of the most densely settled research landscapes in Germany. As for the University of Potsdam, more than 8,000 people are working in scholarship and science. As a winner in the competition "Excellence in Teaching" of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft and the standing conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany , the University of Potsdam is rigorously implementing its plan to further improve teaching. Wikipedia.

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Engbert R.,University of Potsdam
Journal of Neuroscience | Year: 2012

During visual fixation on a target object, our eyes are not motionless but generate slow fixational eye movements and microsaccades. Effects of visual attention have been observed in both microsaccade rates and spatial directions. Experimental results, however, range from early (<200 ms) to late (>600 ms) effects combined with cue-congruent as well as cue-incongruent microsaccade directions.Onthe basis of well characterized neural circuitry in superior colliculus, we construct a dynamical model of neural activation that is modulated by perceptual input and visual attention. Our results show that additive integration of low-level perceptual responses and visual attention can explain microsaccade rate and direction effects across a range of visual cueing tasks. These findings suggest that the patterns of microsaccade direction observed in experiments are compatible with a single dynamical mechanism. The basic principles of the model are highly relevant to the general problem of integration of low-level perception and top-down selective attention. © 2012 the authors.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: SC5-16-2014 | Award Amount: 15.99M | Year: 2015

Terrestrial and marine ecosystems provide essential services to human societies. Anthropogenic pressures, however, cause serious threat to ecosystems, leading to habitat degradation, increased risk of collapse and loss of ecosystem services. Knowledge-based conservation, management and restoration policies are needed to improve ecosystem benefits in face of increasing pressures. ECOPOTENTIAL makes significant progress beyond the state-of-the-art and creates a unified framework for ecosystem studies and management of protected areas (PA). ECOPOTENTIAL focuses on internationally recognized PAs in Europe and beyond in a wide range of biogeographic regions, and it includes UNESCO, Natura2000 and LTER sites and Large Marine Ecosystems. Best use of Earth Observation (EO) and monitoring data is enabled by new EO open-access ecosystem data services (ECOPERNICUS). Modelling approaches including information from EO data are devised, ecosystem services in current and future conditions are assessed and the requirements of future protected areas are defined. Conceptual approaches based on Essential Variables, Macrosystem Ecology and cross-scale interactions allow for a deeper understanding of the Earths Critical Zone. Open and interoperable access to data and knowledge is assured by a GEO Ecosystem Virtual Laboratory Platform, fully integrated in GEOSS. Support to transparent and knowledge-based conservation and management policies, able to include information from EO data, is developed. Knowledge gained in the PAs is upscaled to pan-European conditions and used for planning and management of future PAs. A permanent stakeholder consultancy group (GEO Ecosystem Community of Practice) will be created. Capacity building is pursued at all levels. SMEs are involved to create expertise leading to new job opportunities, ensuring long-term continuation of services. In summary, ECOPOTENTIAL uses the most advanced technologies to improve future ecosystem benefits for humankind.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: EINFRA-5-2015 | Award Amount: 4.47M | Year: 2015

Global Systems Science GSS is an emerging research field focused on the risks and opportunities involved in global coordination problems. Examples of global systems include the internet, financial markets, intellectual property rights, global energy use and others. Developing evidence and understanding in view of such systems and of related policies is rapidly becoming a vital challenge for modern societies. It requires capabilities for transdisciplinary work that cannot be mastered without massive use of ICT. By the nature of the problem, the relevant datasets are mostly very big, including data streams from social medi. To make things more complicated, the relevant algorithms do require the power of high-performance computing. High Performance Data Analysis (HPDA) is the key to success for GSS! A key contribution of the Center of Excellence for Global Systems Science COEGSS will be the development of an HPC-based framework to generate customized synthetic populations for GSS applications. By blending GSS and HPC, we will be able to provide decision makers and civil society with real-time assessments of global risks and opportunities as well as with essential background knowledge about them. This will enable the HPC industry to supply hard- and software for applications well beyond the issues to which HPC has been dedicated so far.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: RIA | Phase: MG-8.1a-2014 | Award Amount: 3.88M | Year: 2015

Structural Health Monitoring (SHM) is expected to play a predominant role in the management of the transport infrastructure. Yet, SHM techniques continue to rely on point-based, as opposed to spatial, sensing requiring a dense network of these point-sensors increasing considerably the monitoring cost. Additionally, commercially available, strain sensors cannot measure strains beyond 1% to 2% and, thus, are not able to provide an alarm for an imminent catastrophe. SENSKIN aims to: (a) develop a dielectric-elastomer and micro-electronics-based skin-like sensing solution for the structural monitoring of the transport infrastructure that will offer spatial sensing of reversible (repeated) strains in the range of 0.012% to more than 10%, that requires little power to operate, is easy to install on an irregular surface, is low cost compared to existing sensors, allows simple signal processing and includes the ability of self-monitoring and self-reporting. (b) use the new and emerging technology of Delay Tolerant Network to secure that strain measurements acquired through the sensing skin will reach the base station even under extreme environmental conditions and natural disaster events such as, high winds or an earthquake, where some communication networks could become inoperable. (c) develop a Decision-Support-System for proactive condition-based structural intervention under operating loads and intervention after extreme events. It will be based on an accurate structural assessment based on input from the strain sensors in (a) above and will examine the life-cycle economic, social and environmental implications of the feasible rehabilitation options and the resilience of the infrastructure to future changes in traffic demand that these options offer. (d) implement the above in the case of bridges and test, refine, evaluate and benchmark the monitoring system (integrated a and b) and package (integrated a, b and c) on actual bridges.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EJD | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-EJD | Award Amount: 3.88M | Year: 2015

Many natural and artificial systems are often composed of oscillatory elements which, besides evolving according to their own non-trivial internal dynamics, mutually interact. As a result, many temporal and spatial scales are typically present, often accompanied by the spontaneous emergence of collective properties. Altogether, such features make the task of understanding the resulting evolution a challenging interdisciplinary problem. Zero-knowledge methods do generally require too large amount of data to allow drawing meaningful conclusions. In order to overcome this limitation, it is necessary to add skilful hypotheses about the structure of the underlying model and, thereby, on the relevant variables. This task is often tackled in an ad hoc way and the approach is based rather on personal preferences than on objective elements. The goal of this project is to fill the gap, by developing a general and coherent set of tools for the system identification and control, as well as to improve our ability to make predictions. The task will be pursued by combining top-down with bottom-up approaches which will be used to identify the most appropriate variables. Such analysis will be integrated by performing suitable case studies and mutually validating the various techniques to test the correctness of the underlying assumptions (both in the context of theoretical models as well as in experimental time series, such as physiological and neural data). A user-friendly software package will be ultimately developed to make the methods accessible to a broad set of potential users, including those with minimal theoretical competences. Furthermore, we will train a new generation of scientists able to implement a broad range of interdisciplinary approaches to the multivariate time signals that may be generated by the evolution of complex systems.

Korup O.,University of Potsdam
Earth-Science Reviews | Year: 2012

Quantitative estimates of sediment flux and the global cycling of sediments from hillslopes to rivers, estuaries, deltas, continental shelves, and deep-sea basins have a long research tradition. In this context, extremely large and commensurately rare sediment transport events have so far eluded a systematic analysis. To start filling this knowledge gap I review some of the highest reported sediment yields in mountain rivers impacted by volcanic eruptions, earthquake- and storm-triggered landslide episodes, and catastrophic dam breaks. Extreme specific yields, defined here as those exceeding the 95th percentile of compiled data, are ~10 4tkm -2yr -1 if averaged over 1yr. These extreme yields vary by eight orders of magnitude, but systematically decay with reference intervals from minutes to millennia such that yields vary by three orders of magnitude for a given reference interval. Sediment delivery from natural dam breaks and pyroclastic eruptions dominate these yields for a given reference interval. Even if averaged over 10 2-10 3yr, the contribution of individual disturbances may remain elevated above corresponding catchment denudation rates. I further estimate rates of sediment (re-)mobilisation by individual giant terrestrial and submarine mass movements. Less than 50 postglacial submarine mass movements have involved an equivalent of ~10% of the contemporary annual global flux of fluvial sediment to Earth's oceans, while mobilisation rates by individual events rival the decadal-scale sediment discharge from tectonically active orogens such as Taiwan or New Zealand. Sediment flushing associated with catastrophic natural dam breaks is non-stationary and shows a distinct kink at the last glacial-interglacial transition, owing to the drainage of very large late Pleistocene ice-marginal lakes. Besides emphasising the contribution of high-magnitude and low-frequency events to the global sediment cascade, these findings stress the importance of sediment storage for fuelling rather than buffering high sediment transport rates. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-COG | Phase: ERC-CoG-2014 | Award Amount: 2.00M | Year: 2015

Unraveling the cause for Cenozoic global climate cooling is one of the most important unresolved questions challenging the Earth and Environmental sciences community today. Increased erosion and weathering of the uplifted Tibetan Plateau and Himalayas, is advocated as the primary cause for the enigmatic pCO2 drawdown, that led to global cooling 50 to 34 Myrs ago from the warm ice-free Greenhouse world to the bi-polar Icehouse conditions still prevailing today. Asian Monsoons are genetically linked to high orography associated with the India-Asia collision starting ca. 50 Myrs ago, however, the relation between Greenhouse to Icehouse cooling and Asian Monsoons remains to be explore as they were previously thought to intensify only much later ca. 25 Myrs ago. Our recent findings of monsoonal activity in Asia since at least 45 Myrs ago raises the fascinating possibility that Asian Monsoons may have triggered global cooling from Greenhouse to Icehouse conditions. Testing this novel hypothesis and exploring its implications on feedback mechanisms between regional environments, Asian Monsoons and global climate, will constitute the stimulating objectives of MAGIC. 3 PhDs will provide end-member monsoonal archives well-dated during greenhouse to icehouse cooling from 3 key locations (NE Tibet, SE Asia and Paratethys Sea). These will be analyzed by three postdocs expert in novel proxy methods tailored for MAGIC to infer temperatures, precipitation, salinity, seasonality, paleoaltimetry, wind-patterns, paleoecology and paleogeography at infra-annual, orbital and tectonic time scales. Ultimately, these records and boundary conditions will be integrated into climate models by a dedicated postdoc to unravel the role and behavior of Asian Monsoons with respect to long-term Greenhouse to Icehouse cooling, pCO2 levels as well as global hyperthermal and cooling event such as the PETM, MECO and EOT.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-EID | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-EID | Award Amount: 1.27M | Year: 2015

The project provides advanced systems biology training for 5 ESRs who will develop novel methods for increasing crop strength and resistance to stress by alternative genetic and genomic, non-GMO, technologies: (1) Selecting allelic variants of a novel gene identified by members of the consortium which regulates oxidative and abiotic stress tolerance and (2) Molecular priming by biostimulants or low doses of H2O2 to induce stress-protective mechanisms in crops. This dual approach will meet the growing EU push towards secure, sustainable and safe means of food production (Dir.2009/128/EC & EU Reg. EC/178/2002). The genetic approaches are combined with high-throughput technologies for transcriptome, metabolome, and phenotypic analyses, combined with advanced bioinformatics. Both approaches to increasing crop yield are growing in importance, with the biostimulants industry expected to reach $2.2B globally by 2018. Equipping ESRs with these skills will enable them to develop their research careers in academia or industry. Training will be conducted at the University of Potsdam (UP, Coordinator), Germany, and two companies: BioAtlantis (BA), Ireland, and Enza Zaden (EZ), The Netherlands. Prof. B. Mueller-Roeber (UP) has extensive research management and teaching experience and will supervise the ESRs as PhD students. BA is internationally recognized for producing innovative biostimulants and has 3 patents filed, while EZ is among the top ten in vegetable breeding worldwide. All partners have experience in coordination and participation in EU FP7 projects. The expected results will increase our understanding of the molecular basis of stress tolerance and provide two alternative strategies for crop improvement and increasing food production. BA and EZ will ensure rapid dissemination of applied research to end users.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: ERC-ADG | Phase: ERC-ADG-2014 | Award Amount: 2.50M | Year: 2016

The key to move from a mere description of static materials properties to the determination and control of functionality and chemistry lies in understanding dynamic pathways through multidimensional energy landscapes. Through my efforts over the last decade my group accomplished breakthroughs towards the required excited states selectivity and to follow dynamic pathways with resonant inelastic soft x-ray scattering (RIXS) in three aspects: Non-linear RIXS for materials science to boost scattering efficiency. Time resolved and Anti-Stokes RIXS for back-ground free detection of excited states. Sub-natural line width RIXS to map out potential energy surfaces at selected atoms. In the ERC research I link these unfolding fields and combine them with ab-initio treatment of excited states to create unprecedented back-ground free X-ray probes of excited states of matter and their dynamics. This will be femtosecond time resolved Anti-Stokes RIXS for excited state selectivity with transform limited pulses and doubly resonant soft X-ray 4 wave mixing to determine multi-center dynamics on atomic scales. The ERC grant will answer long standing questions on the governing principles of functionality, regarding chemical pathways and energy landscapes in molecules as well as phase transitions, driven phases and emergence in functional materials. These novel approaches become only now feasible through the unprecedented brilliance of Free-Electron Lasers and the efforts of my group over the last decade. The ERC grant will establish proof-of-principle at brilliant soft X-ray Free-Electron Lasers that will be followed by world leading, ideal conditions implemented at the European XFEL.

Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2014-ETN | Award Amount: 3.85M | Year: 2015

PredictAble aims to train a new generation of young scientists at the crossroads between academic research, technological development in the private sector and clinical practice to pioneer an interdisciplinary approach to language related developmental disorders, like specific language impairment (SLI) and developmental dyslexia (DD). The innovative and timely research program will enhance the understanding of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie developmental disorders of spoken and written language by pooling international experts from academia and the private sector. For the first time, PredictAble applies a truly multidisciplinary and cross-linguistic perspective with a unique and novel combination of cutting-edge approaches and techniques for studying mono- and bilingual children. Thus, PredictAble will provide young researchers with an excellent foundation for making scientific progress in this area, in collaboration with technology development and the transfer of research outcomes to applicants in the private sector and the health sector/clinical practice. Highly recognized experts in the area of language acquisition in very young mono- and bilingual children will work together on the acquisition of spoken and written language in a cross-linguistic approach. The complementarity of the different languages in PredictAble will make it possible to identify language-specific and cross-linguistically valid effects. In cooperation with technological partners from the private sector, PredictAble will optimize recently developed technologies in the area of developmental cognitive neuroscience to render them suitable for use with very young children and as diagnostic tools to detect early risks for language-related impairments.

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