Excellence Initiative: Two New Creative Units

Altogether, seven top-rate project proposals were in the running, but only two of them could be supported. The University of Bremen finally had to choose which would be the last two Creative Units to receive funding within the context of the Excellence Initiative. The lucky winners were the interdisciplinary research groups led by Professor SabineDoff (Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies) and computer scientist, Professor Ron Kikinis. The idea behind this type of funding measure is to promote new lines of research. Creative Units are interdisciplinary research groups that enjoy high levels of freedom to develop and explore innovative research topics. There are now six such groups at the University of Bremen. Each of them has been granted funding in an amount of 750,000 euros over a period of three-years.

Working with Bremen schools to develop new ways of teaching specialized subjects

The Creative Unit led by Professor SabineDoff will focus on how to design the teaching of specialized subjects in order to take account of the growing heterogeneity of school pupils. How can teaching and learning processes be further developed and adapted to deal with the situation? A special feature of the planned project is that it combines the expertise of didactic experts coming from different disciplines – studies in English language and literature, Spanish, French, Art, Mathematics and Music. The project has a strong orientation to the practice. The researchers will work closely together with Bremen schools, which will also ensure they are the first to benefit from the results.

New techniques available to surgeons

How can surgeons be fed with targeted information while in the midst of carrying out operations: During the process of removing a tumor, for instance: How can they receive information about the position of blood vessels they cannot see? This is the research topic occupying the attention of the Creative Unit led by Professor Ron Kikinis, a collaborative research project in cooperation with the Bremen Fraunhofer Institute for Medical Image Computing (MEVIS). In this case, too, the project is characterized by a mixture of disciplines and cooperation with practicing surgeons. It will entail intensive exchange between surgeons in the operating room, and experts from the fields of radiology, computer science, cognitive systems, digital media, and computer imaging.

Unusual selection procedure involving international workshops and symposia

The selection procedure leading to the granting of the Creative Units was itself marked by a distinctive feature: The applicants for funding were given the opportunity to present their project proposals to an audience of international experts at workshops and symposia paid for by funds from the Excellence Initiative. Especially the symposia provided all seven of the Bremen research teams with a welcome additional source of international visibility, encouraging many of them to continue working together although they were not actually awarded a Creative Unit. “I know just how much effort, innovation and time goes into submitting this type of proposal”, says the University’s Vice Rector for Research and Young Academics, Professor Kurosch Rezwan, who is particularly pleased that everyone was able to profit from the workshops and symposia. According to Rezwan “One has to seize the opportunity to take advantage of such meetings involving so many international experts. It was also interesting to see how the international experts were impressed by our innovative funding format.” He hopes that all the applicants were able to benefit from this contact and exchange of views.

You can find information about the four existing Creative Units under (go to M5 Creative Units); and on Youtube there is a film about the Creative Unit “Homo Debilis”:

For more information, please contact:
University of Bremen
Academic Affairs Department
Frank Stengel
Phone: +49 421 218-60318
email: stengelprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de


Die interdisziplinären Forschergruppen von Professorin Sabine Doff und Informatikprofessor Ron Kikinis konnte sich gegen die Mitbewerber durchsetzen. Foto: Harald Rehling/Universität Bremen.