Potsdam, Germany
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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News Article | May 1, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Global warming is a concept very well-known to people today, even those who are not particularly invested in such matters. However, this knowledge becomes obsolete very quickly. Take the greenhouse effect. We all have heard about the 2 emissions and their detrimental effect on our planet. According to the US EPA data, 76% of all greenhouse gas emissions are carbon dioxide, and 16% -- methane (??4). However, despite this great differential, methane is actually much more dangerous. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives a good insight into that. As per their research, the greenhouse activity of methane is 28 times higher than that of carbon dioxide in the timeframe of 100 years and 80 times higher if the next 20 years are taken into account. Moreover, methane concentration in the atmosphere grows exponentially. And the explanation for that may be derived from our distant past. Vice-Rector Danis Nurgaliev explains, «The turnover of carbon on our planet is a very interesting problem. This element has much to do with most of the processes on Earth, and that includes global warming. But it's very difficult, almost impossible, to follow its turnover retrospectively. We are talking about not mere dozens or even hundreds of thousands of years. These timeframes have already been tackled by us - for instance, by studying gas bubbles in Antarctic ice. Hypothetically, we can also find bubbles in amber. But there has not yet been reliable data in this matter. And talking about more prolonged eons, there are much more blind spots and unexplained events there». Filling these gaps is one of the tasks posed within a project called "Petroleum bearing beds, shales and hydrocarbon deposits as underestimated sources of greenhouse methane emissions". This and its sister project (in ecobiotechnologies) have been named breakthrough projects for SAU EcoOil. The expected breakthrough is in reevaluating methane as a driver of climate change. Scientists have to determine methane concentration during earlier geological eons. The task is actually much more complicated than just finding the ratios of oxygen, nitrogen, or carbon dioxide. It becomes even more challenging because methane doesn't stay long in the atmosphere. On average, it oxidizes in 8 - 12 years and breaks up into water and carbon dioxide. However, SAU EcoOil is eager to find the solution. Dr. Nurgaliev adds, «We plan to research in three time scales using different objects. Firstly, we have data for the last dozens and hundreds of years. For example, we are very interested in finding how petroleum extraction projects influence hydrocarbon emission from deposits. Here we are helped by Romashkino Field, the one that has been in operation for over 70 years. We want to obtain data about hydrocarbon gas emissions after the work started from tree rings within the field zone and outside of it. Secondly, there are objects that allow to collect data from historical times (thousands of years) -- these are lake sediments. Thirdly, as I have mentioned, we can use ice bubbles. And fourthly, we have older objects -- minerals, rocks, and even whole sedimentary formations. The concentration of different carbon compounds in them can give us information about emissions into the atmosphere». This very complicated task warrants combined efforts of a big team. That's why a formidable array of experts is engaged - both inside and outside KFU. Universities of the USA, Germany, and Switzerland have joined in, and the relevant research is conducted in the Arctic, Siberia, and Latin America. Head of SAU EcoOil Mikhail Varfolomeev gives details, «We actively attract our experienced colleagues from Europe into the project. They are Roland Oberhansli (University of Potsdam), Mustafa Koc (Middle East Technical University), and many others. And what I would like to emphasize -- young researchers also join in. There are about 50 right now, and there will be more in the future. I think this is a very positive trend». By the way, KFU employees are also very skilled in climate reconstruction - Paleoclimatology, Paleoecology and Paleomagnetism Lab has for some time now studied lake sediments. However, this new project brings change in methods and timeframes. This is how it goes, according to Junior Research Associate Dilyara Kuzina's words, «Contemporary methane emission volumes will be studied by satellite and on-the-ground observation. Mathematical modelling on supercomputers will be utilized for evaluating emission volumes. Hydrocarbon dating of tree rings will be used for the insight into the past. And forecasts will be made thanks to satellites and on-the-ground observation». All this work is to answer the question - how will the climate change in the future? Concurrently, SAU EcoOil also pursues other objectives -- working out a technology of evaluating the maturity of oil source beds in a basin and deposit prospecting. Source rock maturation and deposit formation is accompanied by methane emissions. In short, if today you have to drill test wells, in the future such necessity may not be present -- methane emissions will tell everything. And, what is more, this may also be organized automatically.


Grant
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.


Grant
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.


Grant
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.


Grant
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.


Grant
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.


Grant
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.


Grant
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.


Grant
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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