Marburg Achieves Milestone in Excellence Strategy

“M4C" receives call for full proposal

February 05, 2024

Together with the University of Marburg, the Max Planck Institute has reached an important milestone on the way to securing federal and state funding for a Cluster of Excellence. The project outline for the "Microbes4Climate" Cluster of Excellence convinced the panel of scientific experts in the review process and will now be invited to submit a full proposal.

The selection of future Clusters of Excellence will take place in May 2025, when it will be decided which Clusters of Excellence will receive millions in funding for an initial period of seven years. In the Cluster of Excellence "Microbes for Climate (M4C)", the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology and other institutions will investigate the key role of microbes for a sustainable carbon cycle.

The Philipps University of Marburg and the Max Planck Institute, with their joint Center for Synthetic Microbiology SYNMIKRO and the Center Microcosm Earth, want to create the scientific basis for a balanced carbon cycle in the future. In M4C, researchers aim to elucidate the fundamental mechanisms of microbial contributions to climate change and to reconstruct how they have evolved over Earth's history. Synthetic biology is used to develop more efficient biological pathways for the sustainable conversion of greenhouse gases.

The climate crisis is essentially caused by a man-made imbalance in the carbon cycle. Microorganisms play a key role in the formation and conversion of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. At the same time, microbes offer new ways to convert these greenhouse gases into molecules that are harmful to the climate. "Microbes have not only had a decisive impact on the global carbon cycle, their unique metabolic capabilities also offer unique opportunities to utilize CO2 in a sustainable way. With the Cluster of Excellence, we and our team not only want to create new knowledge, but also develop new approaches to tackle the climate crisis with the help of the still young research field of synthetic biology," said the speaker duo Prof. Dr. Anke Becker (University of Marburg) and Prof. Dr. Tobias Erb (Max Planck Institute).

The Excellence Strategy aims to strengthen top-level university research and support outstanding, internationally renowned university locations. "The calls for full proposals show that the University of Marburg stands for top international research," emphasizes Prof. Dr. Thomas Nauss, President of the Philipps-Universität Marburg. He adds: "The clusters seek pioneering answers to the most pressing challenges of our time and form the basis for solutions for the world of tomorrow. They are therefore representative of Marburg as a vibrant science location with its diversity of knowledge, where we want to provide people and society with inspiration through inquisitive and responsible science in order to positively shape the world of tomorrow."

"In recent years, we at the University of Marburg have created the basis for excellent research performance and success by focusing on our profile areas in research, establishing scientific centers and promoting young scientists," said Prof. Dr. Gert Bange, Vice President for Research at the Philipps University of Marburg.

Source: Press Office University of Marburg

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