Collective behaviour research scored a major win yesterday when it was announced that the cluster initiative “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour” will receive funding through the German Excellence Strategy starting 1 January 2019.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities (WR) announced late on Thursday afternoon that the application to create a global hotspot for the study of collective behaviour at the University of Konstanz was successful in winning funding as a Cluster of Excellence.
In total, two Clusters of Excellence were awarded to the University of Konstanz, the other supporting the research concept titled "The Politics of Inequality: Perceptions, Participation and Policies”.
Professor Dr Kerstin Krieglstein, University of Konstanz rector since August 2018, reacts to the news: “I am delighted to see what the University of Konstanz has achieved. Two of the three cluster applications were successful. My heartfelt congratulations to all the researchers involved. This means we can continue to compete for a place among the best universities in Germany, in a competition we, among only six universities, have already been successful in since 2007”.
The Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour” is dedicated to data-based research on collective behaviour, from swarm intelligence of animal groups and human decision-making processes to economic networks. It is a collaboration between the University of Konstanz and the two units of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology based at the University of Konstanz and in Radolfzell respectively. The research cluster utilizes state-of-the-art sensor systems such as the space-based ICARUS module for tracking animal movements and will be located in the cutting-edge “Centre for Visual Computing of Collectives” (VCC) that is currently being built in Konstanz. The cluster draws on expertise from the fields of biology, psychology, physics, economics as well as computer science.
The Cluster of Excellence “Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour” is coordinated by the three co-speakers Professor Iain Couzin, Department of Biology, Professor Oliver Deussen, Department of Computer and Information Science as well as Professor Urs Fischbacher, Department of Economics.
“The research that is conducted in these two Clusters of Excellence at the University of Konstanz is highly relevant to society: Answers to questions about political inequality and complex collective processes will shape the future of our society”, says Rector Kerstin Krieglstein.
About the Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments
The Excellence Strategy is the follow-up programme to the Excellence Initiative and is coordinated by both the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities (WR). The goal of the Excellence Strategy is to continue to develop and enhance Germany as an international research location and to strengthen its international competitiveness. Furthermore, successful projects initiated during the Excellence Initiative are to be provided a long-term perspective.The Excellence Strategy includes two funding lines: The funding line Clusters of Excellence to promote special research projects in internationally competitive research fields and the funding line Universities of Excellence for the sustained support of universities as they continue to develop top-level international research. The pre-requisite for a possible “University of Excellence” status is having at least two Clusters of Excellence funded through the Excellence Strategy.
The Excellence Initiative at the University of Konstanz
The University of Konstanz was successful in the first year of the Excellence Initiative when its Cluster of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Social Integration” was recognized in 2006. This was followed by the recognition of its Institutional Strategy “Modell Konstanz – Towards a Culture of Creativity” as well as its Konstanz Research School Chemical Biology in 2007. In the second round of the Excellence Initiative in 2012, the university could extend all previously accepted programmes, including its Institutional Strategy, and even add another graduate school, the Graduate School of Decision Sciences, thus further strengthening its position as a top-level research institution.