Research Groups


Excellence Strategy: SCALE cluster proposal successful in first competition phase

6th February 2024.The SCALE cluster initiative has been invited to submit a full proposal for the Excellence competition of the German federal and state governments.

On 2 February 2024, the German Research Foundation [DFG] announced that the SCALE cluster initiative may in August 2024 submit a full proposal for funding as a Cluster of Excellence starting in 2026.

Several research groups in BMLS participate in SCALE, which is short for “Subcellular Architecture of Life”. Cells consist of billions of molecules that are organized from single molecules to large molecular complexes to organelles. Although the functions of many individual molecules are known, it often remains unclear how the architecture inside a cell develops and functions, and how the parts interact. In addition to uncovering the cell’s self-organization principles, the scientists of SCALE also want to create a simulation of the cell with high spatial and temporal resolution. This, they hope, will lead to a better understanding of how cells really function and how their various molecular “machines” interact.

Goethe University President Professor Enrico Schleiff congratulated the researchers on their success: “We knew this would be a very tough competition, which is why I am all the more pleased that one of the interdisciplinary projects proposed by us and our partners has been asked to submit a full proposal. This decision enables us to apply for funding for research on biological cell structures. The fact that we were able to convince the international advisory groups as well as the panel of experts from the German Research Foundation and the German Science and Humanities Council [Wissenschaftsrat] at this first competition stage is evidence of the good starting position we have earned for the next phase of the Excellence Strategy, where the projects will once again be assessed. The same is true with regard to the cooperation with our non-university partners.”

This makes for good starting conditions for the second phase of the clusters of excellence competition, says Goethe University Vice President Research, Early Career Researchers and Transfer, Professor Bernhard Brüne. As a result, all celebration notwithstanding, there is no time for pause: “We will start work on the full proposals today.”

A total of 143 cluster of excellence draft proposals were submitted to the German Research Foundation in summer 2023. Of these, 41 (28%) have now been invited to submit full proposals in the competition for funding as Clusters of Excellence.

Find out more here.
SCALE Website
GU press release
DFG press release