More than 935,000 Euros funding for the FH Aachen project "NanoHyb"

picture: FH Aachen (Arnd Gottschalk)

Smaller than small: Nanoparticles are tiny particles, not visible to the human eye. The development and combination of new functional elements and structures of such nanoparticles is the research focus of two institutes at the FH Aachen: For the joint project "NanoHyb", the Institute of Nanotechnology and Biotechnology (INB) as well as the Institute for Applied Polymer Chemistry (IAP) on Campus Jülich will receive funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia (MIWF). Within the funding measure FHInvest of the "Forschung an Fachhochschulen" programme (Research at Universities of Applied Sciences), the joint research activities will be provided with a project total of more than 935,000 Euros which will be used for the acquisition of a scanning electron microscope. Recently, Thomas Rachel, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Education and Research, presented Prof. Dr. Michael J. Schöning, NanoHyb project leader and head of the INB, with the official funding document, with the BMBF funding amount of almost 774,000 Euros.

During the formal presentation of the notification of approval on Campus Jülich, Rachel commended the research activities at the FH Aachen. "Under the funding programme "Forschung an Fachhochschulen", the Federal Government has invested 46 million Euros to support application-oriented research at universities of applied sciences in their cooperation with the industry. Within this programme, the FH Aachen was particularly successful, and since 2006 it has been granted a total of 13.8 million Euros. Campus Jülich alone accounts for 30 projects with a total funding amount of more than 8.1 million Euros. This is a success story we can all be proud of! " he declares. "Besides universities and non-university research institutions, universities of applied sciences have become an essential player in research within the German scientific system," Rachel emphasises. "The acquisition of such a microscope does not simply advance the research of these two institutes," adds Prof. Dr. Christiane Vaeßen, Vice Rector for Research, Development and Technology Transfer, "but the cooperation with local businesses as well. " Prof. Schöning considers the funding measure a big opportunity, too: "Not only can we deepen our research expertise, we can also provide our PhD candidates and our students with direct insights into the latest experimental techniques," he explains. For Prof. Dr. Thomas Mang, head of IAP, the acquisition of the scanning electron microscope represents improved access to structural elucidation on the nanometre scale which would make innovative developments in materials science possible.

Within the project "NanoHyb", so-called nano-hybrid systems are explored which consist of inorganic and organic components. This combination of inorganic and organic units leads to completely new materials with novel properties – which, in turn, provide new opportunities in nano research. In "NanoHyb", the two FH institutes work hand in hand: While the INB is developing functional inorganic-organic hybrid systems, using their properties for novel sensor tools, the IAP’s focus is on the production and application of these nanomaterials for engineering and medicine. The scanning electron microscope serves the characterisation of nanostructures and is therefore essential for the research of both institutes.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) supports projects which are, for the most part, characterised by investing in research equipment with innovative technology. Universities of applied sciences, with their practical orientation, like the FH Aachen, are in close contact with business enterprises and, as a result, advance knowledge and technology transfer. Through the provision and utilisation of innovative research equipment, projects providing structural frameworks can be supported and cooperations with businesses intensified.