Creating water smart landscapes

As the global population grows, agricultural activities intensify, leading to increased fertiliser use and diffuse nutrient emissions. This escalating trend poses a significant threat to water bodies, as nutrient run-off from intensive farming practices degrades water quality. Traditional land and water management approaches often lack the precision needed to identify high-priority areas or offer spatially explicit solutions.

In this context, the ERC-funded WaterSmartLand project will pinpoint high-risk areas and propose targeted solutions. Using advanced analysis, modelling and machine learning, the project identifies optimal land management strategies, such as using wetlands and riparian buffer strips, to mitigate nutrient run-off.

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The project will result in global map layers that will allow the identification of critical nutrient run-off sites and carry out the related planning. All the analysis will take place on a global scale, and the results will be tested on pilot sites in Europe and elsewhere. The project will be based on open-source software, so that the resulting data cube solution and machine learning models will be accessible and available for further development by all.

Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology & Centre for Innovative Biomedicine and Biotechnology

CiBB – Centre for Innovative Biomedicine and Biotechnology, is a Research Center of excellence in the domains of Biomedicine and Biotechnology, which results from a consortium joining CNC-UC — Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology and iCBR – Coimbra Institute for Clinical and Biomedical Research. In 2024, the Teaming projects MIA-Portugal: Multidisciplinary Institute of Ageing and GeneT – Gene Therapy Center of Excellence have integrated the CiBB multidisciplinary structure.
With the largest critical mass of researchers in the Centre Region of Portugal, internationally recognized and linked to the Faculties of Pharmacy, Medicine, Sciences and Technology and Economics, as well as to the Institute of Interdisciplinary Research and to the Coimbra University Hospital, CiBB has a high-level of scientific production and attracts talent and funding at national and international levels.

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The CiBB stands as the flagship of Biomedical and Biotechnology Sciences at the University of Coimbra (UC). It is the largest R&D Unit in the center region of Portugal and the sole UC-coordinated Associate Laboratory (top 100% evaluation), welcoming circa 700 members.
CiBB comprises 37 dynamic and multidisciplinary research groups, dedicated to understanding how and why diseases develop, particularly those associated with aging, and translating this understanding into clinical applications and technological breakthroughs.
Structured around four thematic pillars, CIBB’s mission spans diverse areas:
1. Neuroscience and Disease: Delving into brain function and dysfunction in disorders such as neurodegenerative diseases, neuropsychiatric conditions, and vision impairments.
2. Metabolism, Aging, and Disease: Investigating the cellular and molecular underpinnings of metabolic dysfunction and aging, and their impact on age-related diseases.
3. Innovative Therapies: Harnessing the potential of stem cells, genetic interventions, and pharmaceuticals to pioneer new treatments for neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, oncological, and infectious conditions.
4. Healthcare Challenges: Tackling healthcare challenges by promoting evidence-based decision-making, engaging citizens, and finding innovative solutions for aging-related questions.
CiBB is committed to nurturing talent, through robust international training programs at the master’s and doctoral levels. Additionally, CiBB bridges the gap between research and society through effective communication and public engagement initiatives.
In collaboration with the Coimbra University Hospital and its Clinical Academic Center, CiBB leverages its strong ties to clinical practice, facilitating the translation of fundamental research findings into clinical benefits. Moreover, CiBB invests on the transformation of scientific breakthroughs into intellectual property, fostering technology transfer and the creation of economic value.

Leibniz Institute of European History

The Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG) in Mainz is an independent research institute. Its purpose is to conduct academic research on European history. The Institute fulfils this purpose through the individual and joint research efforts of its staff and through the research scholarships and fellowships that it awards to academics both from Germany and abroad.

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In 2024, it started its new IEG Research Agenda: “Society”, “religion” together with “digitality” – and, in perspective, “environment” – will form the principal foci of the IEG’s research. The connection between these areas is maintained above all by the Europe Forum. Historical research on Europe in its cross-border and global interdependencies thus captures key processes that have had an impact in the past and continue to do so today. With a view to questions of social cohesion, religious plurality, climate change and digital transformation, they bring the insights of rigorous historical scholarship to bear on European options for action and their limits as well as suggesting alternative paths.
The research projects at the IEG jointly illuminate enduring issues from a long-term perspective. They deal with changes, ruptures and continuities and address memory and the use to which pasts are put. They are organised on a European basis, taking into account relationships and taking a comparative view of interactions on a local, regional, national, international and global level. By incorporating digital processes, historical methods are continuously expanded and conceptually developed. Scholars working at the IEG draw on their projects to contribute to the fields of society, religion and digitality. They also participate in the overarching activities and debates in the Europe Forum.

Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology

We dedicate our research to natural products from micro-organisms and the infection biology of pathogenic fungi. Microbial natural products serving as mediators in the biological communication are essential for our lives. However, they play an ambivalent role in this process: On the one hand, they are involved in the emergence of numerous infectious diseases; on the other hand, they belong to the most important sources of medicinal products like antibiotics.

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In order to examine microbial natural products and to understand infectious diseases better, we combine both areas of research. We aim to elucidate how microorganisms produce both pathogenic substances and pharmacologically relevant components. Beyond that, these substances of micro-organisms serve as instruments of communication among themselves. Another module of our research is the interaction of pathogenic microorganisms with their host. We are interested in investigating the methods and tricks that both parties use in this process.

Numerous individual joint projects enable us to acquire new knowledge in the field of biosynthesis and the function of natural products. We use this knowledge to develop innovative ingredients for the diagnosis and therapy of illnesses, including new anti-infectives. Implementing our research results and the models derived thereof, we contribute to the development of a systems biology of infections.

Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS

The Leibniz Institute for Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS develops effective strategies for the prevention of chronic, non-communicable diseases. Supporting a healthy life-course early on is our primary goal. The focus of our research is therefore on factors beyond individual diseases, such as lifestyle and environment, biological and social factors, as well as early detection and drug safety. Our research spectrum covers methodological development, the identification of the causes of diseases, and intervention and implementation research. We also offer information to politicians and the general population and provide academic qualification to young scientists. BIPS thus covers the entire cycle of epidemiological research.

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Under the central theme of “population-based prevention research in the life-course,” the institute conducts interdisciplinary epidemiological health research on the national and international level. It develops innovative methods and utilizes diverse data sources to study significant health disorders and to evaluate preventive measures and strategies. In addition, BIPS significantly contributes to the establishment of research infrastructures of national and international importance. To this end, BIPS is also committed to the expansion of research data management and the FAIRification of research data as an important basis of Open Science and Open Data.

For many years, strengthening prevention has been a key scientific, social, and political objective. BIPS is dedicated to achieve this goal with high-quality research based upon methodological research investigating epidemiological questions with a focus on the development of epidemiological and statistical methods. The institute emphasizes the particular importance of the life-course perspective for the health of individuals and the population as a whole with its focus on long-term studies. Research at the institute provides important insights to ensure and improve health and well-being with measures that begin early and are related to transition periods within the life-course.

Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe

The Herder Institute supports a wide range of scientific activities on the historical and cultural development of East Central Europe through its research, knowledge transfer, documentation and digitalization departments. The focus of interest is on Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad. An important concern is the joint exploration of the interrelation of this core region with its neighbors (above all Germany, Austria, Hungary, Ukraine, Belarus and Russia) in a comparative pan-European context. For several years now, the Digital Humanities have been a major focus of the institute’s work, both in the area of digital and social infrastructure development as well as in research and career development.

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The unique collections consist of a research library on the history and culture of East Central Europe, which now contains more than half a million media units, including a music collection, a samizdat collection and a press collection. Daily and weekly newspapers from East Central Europe have been archived since 1952 and have been evaluated for the period up to 1999 in a systematic collection of more than 5 million clippings. In addition, the Institute also has one of the best image archives with image carriers of all kinds, especially on the art and cultural history of East Central Europe (currently about 700,000 units), a map collection with about 45,000 map sheets, about 1,200 old maps and slightly more than 6,300 aerial photographs from the years between 1942 and 1945. Finally, the document collection focuses on the history of the Baltic
States and continuously collects estates, family archives, individual archival documents as well as photographed archival records (about 1,300 running meters of shelving). The materials held in stock are the starting point for our own research, close cooperation with the two universities in Giessen and Marburg in research and teaching, and close networking with numerous other Leibniz institutions (Leibniz Research Associations).

Current project-leading perspectives

Collecting, preserving, indexing and communicating
Visual history and art history
Reflection and design of digital change
Space – City – Environment
Political orders – conflict – security

Peace Research Institute Frankfurt

The Peace Research Institute Frankfurt is one of Europe’s leading peace and conflict research institutes, and the largest of its kind in Germany. We analyze the causes and patterns of conflict from the global to the local level, attempts to build and sustain peace,
and make practical recommendations on peace and conflict-related issues. We combine basic research with knowledge transfer for policy, the media, and society. To achieve this mission and as a member of the Leibniz Association, we are funded by the German federal government, the state of Hesse, and the city of Frankfurt, and also receive third-party funds.

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PRIF has built up an extensive body of knowledge on key aspects that are critical to the state and future of peace in the world. These topics, which we continuously address, include: arms control and disarmament; international norms, regimes, and organizations; armed conflict and organized violence; military and nonmilitary interventions; peacebuilding and democratization; as well as nonviolent social conflict and societal peace. These topics are investigated in PRIF’s five Research Departments (RD), which are the main research units of the institute. They represent key research fields in peace and conflict studies, dealing with questions of international security (RD I), the role of international institutions (RD II), transnational politics (RD III), peace and conflict at the intrastate level (RD IV), as well as the interaction between political globalization and local lifeworlds (RD V).

The Research Departments also host smaller Research Groups. These groups pool the expertise and coordinate research on a specific topic. Currently, Research Groups deal with emerging technologies as well as biological and chemical weapons (RD I), public international law (RD II), terrorism and radicalization (RD III), regime competition (RD IV) and African intervention politics (RD V). In contrast to the RDs, which are the key administrative research units at PRIF, these groups are smaller and more flexible – they can be established, adjusted and dissolved more easily. While embedded in individual RDs, the groups can also include members from other departments. In addition, Research Groups and individual researchers can join forces in what we call cross-cutting research areas, which address ongoing political developments and academic debates, and facilitate collaboration across the Research Departments as well as with our national and international partners.

PRIF emphasizes the dissemination of practically relevant findings to society at large. As part of our knowledge transfer strategy, we provide background information on current events and analysis for ministries, parties, NGOs, and corporations. We conceive knowledge transfer as a dialogical exchange between science and society, which also engages with ideas and inspiration from society and integrates these into scientific work.

Paul Drude Institute for Solid State Electronics

The Paul-Drude-Institut für Festkörperelektronik (PDI) is a research institute in Berlin, Germany. We perform basic and applied research at the nexus of materials science, condensed matter physics, and device engineering. The institute is part of the Forschungsverbund Berlin and a member of the Leibniz Association.

At PDI, we focus on the fabrication and analysis of nanomaterials for semiconductor technology. Since our foundation in 1992, we have been dedicated to the advancement of materials science, particularly in the development and application of molecular beam epitaxy (MBE). We have the expertise and facilities in-house to manage the entire process from growth of materials, to microstructural characterization, spectroscopic analysis, and theoretical modeling. PDI works closely with partners from science, industry and academia, and actively engages in the transfer of knowledge and technologies to the public. The institute is committed to advancing science through the training and education of young researchers.

Cavendish Laboratory

For 150 years, the Cavendish Laboratory has been at the forefront of scientific discovery. Our researchers work at the frontier of physics, from experimental and theoretical through to applied physics in biology, biomedicine and the life sciences, and the physics of sustainability.
The core of the Laboratory’s programme has been, and continues to be, experimental physics, supported by excellence in theory. Much of our research and teaching has been driven by the desire to understand physics at its most basic level and to answer many of the ‘big questions’ in physics.

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We work across ten key research themes: Astrophysics, Physics of Soft Matter and NanoSystems, Energy Materials, Applied Quantum Physics and Devices, Physics of Life, High Energy Physics, Theory of Condensed Matter, Synthetic Quantum Systems, Fundamental Physics of Quantum Matter and Quantum Information and Control.
These fields encompass a variety of research groups, eachin with its own scientific aims and ambitions but united by two common goals:
– the search for a fundamental understanding of the Universe and the laws that govern it
– seeking new ways to apply the laws of nature.

Leibniz Institute for Immunotherapy (LIT)

The Leibniz Institute for Immunotherapy (LIT) develops innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer, autoimmunity, and chronic inflammation. By reprogramming immune cells through synthetic and pharmacologic intervention, we build cells that save lives.

Our scientific activities are structured into three Research Areas: Discovery, Translation, and Clinical Application. All three work in synergy with one another. Our work starts with basic research into the areas of immune regulation, immune metabolism, cancer, and tissue homeostasis. It carries on with a focus on therapy development—spanning the creation of new formats of genetic and pharmacologic cell manipulation and drug-compliant manufacturing processes. Finally, we seek to apply our discoveries in early clinical trials on patients themselves.

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Discovery: This branch of research investigates the highly complex interactions of different immune cells—with each other and with the organism’s cells—to understand how the immune system maintains the health of the organism.
Translation: This area focuses specifically on the preclinical development of immune-cell therapeutics. This includes the identification, differentiation, expansion, and preclinical testing of therapeutically relevant immune cell populations.
Clinical Application: At the LIT, our core focus is on the clinical translation of scientific findings: We therefore place significant emphasis on the development and roll out of clinical trials and focus on the clinical implementation of the results.