TUM – Latest news https://www.tum.de Latest news of TUM en TUM Wed, 28 Oct 2020 23:56:34 +0100 Wed, 28 Oct 2020 23:56:34 +0100 TUM among global top 50 in four subject areas https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36272/ For the rankings compiled by the UK publication Times Higher Education, scientists around the world are surveyed on the reputation of universities in research and teaching. In addition, the rankings incorporate data such as the number of publications per researcher, citations per publication, the teacher-student ratio, third-party funding raised from the private sector and the degree of internationalization. These indicators are weighted according to the prevailing culture in the various subject areas.

In computer science, TUM is ranked 14th worldwide and 5th in Europe. In engineering and physical sciences, it ranks 24th and 25th worldwide, respectively, and among the top 10 in Europe in both of these subject areas. The physical sciences include chemistry, physics, mathematics, astronomy and geology, among other areas. In the life sciences – comprising such disciplines as biology, agriculture and sport science – TUM ranks 46th. In the recently published main edition of the THE World University Rankings, based on overall assessments of universities, TUM moved up to the number 41 position.

Other rankings confirm these outstanding results. In the QS World University Rankings by Subject, for example, TUM is number 25 in engineering and technology and number 28 in the natural sciences, and counts among the top 50 universities worldwide in 11 fields.

TUM in Rankings klaus.becker@tum.de news-36272 Wed, 28 Oct 2020 11:05:07 +0100
On the way to fish-friendly hydropower https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36270/ Hydropower is one of the most important and widely used renewable energy sources. The big advantage: it is far less weather-dependent than wind power and solar energy. However, the use of hydropower plants also involves major interventions in the environment, including the damming of rivers, changes in aquatic habitats, and fish mortality through turbines, spillways or screens.

Reducing these negative ecological effects is one of the objectives of the European Water Framework Directive. However, older hydropower plants in particular often fail to meet these new requirements and need to be retrofitted before their certification can be renewed. The decision on economically viable measures for implementing these changes have to be made individually for every hydropower plant. “It is important to tailor existing solutions to the site-specific factors of each plant,” explains Prof. Peter Rutschmann of the Chair of Hydraulic and Water Resources Engineering at TUM.

Research news news-36269 Tue, 27 Oct 2020 11:32:00 +0100
A molecular break for root growth https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36257/ Roots are essential for reaching water and nutrients, for anchorage to the ground, but also for interacting and communicating with microorganisms in the soil. A long root enables the plant to reach deeper, more humid layers of soil, for example during drought. A shallower root with many root hairs is good for phosphate uptake, as phosphate is mostly found in the upper soil layers.

Caroline Gutjahr, Professor of Plant Genetics at the TUM School of Life Sciences in Weihenstephan, and her team discovered new hormone interactions which influence the growth of plant roots.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36256 Mon, 26 Oct 2020 04:39:00 +0100
Well informed, less involved https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36266/ How intensively do youth deal with global topics such as poverty, climate change and migration? Do they understand and appreciate other cultural points of view? Do they take action on behalf of collective well-being?

For the first time, the latest PISA study included an additional questionnaire on the topic of "Global Competence" in order to assess attitudes and interests among youth regarding these questions, and to ascertain how they assess their own knowledge and ability to change things. Approximately 3,800 15-year-old secondary school students in Germany responded in spring of 2018. Teachers received an additional questionnaire. The questions were analyzed in a total of 66 countries, including 27 members states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which coordinates the study.

Research news klaus.becker@tum.de news-36266 Thu, 22 Oct 2020 11:00:00 +0200
Strengthening of neutron research in Garching https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36267/ Thanks to their unique properties, neutrons provide important insights for many scientific fields, from biology, chemistry and physics to geosciences, engineering or material science. In this way neutron research contributes directly to the solution of fundamental problems of our society. The FRM II belongs to the few high flux neutron sources for research purposes and radioisotope production in Europe.

Led by the Technical University Munich, Forschungszentrum Jülich and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, neutron research institutions have joined forces under the organizational umbrella of the Heinz Maier-Leibnitz Zentrum (MLZ) to further expand research and education opportunities in Garching, so that Germany will continue to be one of the world's leading nations in neutron research.

Currently over 400 people work at MLZ and FRM II. They use 27 scientific instruments, six more are under construction. Since the instruments can only be operated by competent scientists, the number of employees is also growing continuously. In addition, there are up to 1,200 guest scientists every year, over 50 percent come from abroad, who also require experimental and office space.

The two new buildings now meet the increased space requirements. The southern building was commissioned by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for scientists from Forschungszentrum Jülich and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht. The northern building was commissioned by the Free State of Bavaria for the TUM. The total construction costs amount to around 38 million Euro. The project was managed by the State Building Authority Rosenheim.

Campus news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36265 Thu, 22 Oct 2020 13:58:00 +0200
Building Europe’s leading innovation hub https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36262/ TUM and the affiliated Center for Innovation and Start-ups, UnternehmerTUM, can already look back on an unparalleled success story: More than 70 technology-based start-ups are founded at TUM every year. Now the partners are ready to take their entrepreneurship activities to a new level and promote entire deep-tech families of high-potential start-ups in the fields of the future.

With the TUM Venture Labs, they will create innovation centers offering entrepreneurs world-class conditions, with each lab dedicated to a specific interdisciplinary field. The TUM Venture Labs will pool outstanding expertise in top-flight research, start-up funding and management. The entrepreneurial talents will work in close proximity to researchers and have the opportunity to tap into specialized knowledge, networks and infrastructure on the campus in order to prepare the launch of their companies.

Entrepreneurship news-36262 Wed, 21 Oct 2020 11:30:00 +0200
How the virus enters the cell https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36263/ The degree to which a virus spreads depends on its infectivity. While the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has led to severe pandemic, a related virus, SARS-CoV, led to a much smaller outbreak in 2003, possibly because the infection was limited to the lower respiratory system. SARS-CoV-2, in contrast, infects the upper portions of the respiratory tract, including the nasal mucous membrane and, in consequence, spreads rapidly through active viral shedding. Researchers at TUM, the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), the University Clinic Universitätsmedizin Göttingen and the University of Helsinki have investigated the nature of SARS-CoV-2 infectivity.

Covid-19 Research news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-36258 Tue, 20 Oct 2020 16:00:00 +0200
New edition of the eGovernment MONITOR https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36260/ One of the greatest barriers to use from the past has almost been overcome: Awareness of digital administrative services is increasing continuously, almost all Internet users are aware of at least one service (DE: 97% / AT: 99% / CH: 96%).

The most well-known are searching for information, downloading forms to prepare/complete administrative procedures, arranging appointments and handling electronic tax returns.

These are results of "eGovernment MONITOR 2020", a joint study by Initiative D21 and the Technical University of Munich. It was carried out by Kantar as an online survey (computer-aided web interview (CAWI)) from 9 to 17 June 2020 with 1,005 interviews in Germany (DE), 1,008 in Austria (AT) and 1,002 in Switzerland (CH).

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36259 Tue, 20 Oct 2020 08:46:08 +0200
Healthy eating - despite Corona https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36255/ Since the beginning of the Corona pandemic, children have been eating more sweets, such as chocolate, gummy bears, cookies, and ice cream, but also more fruit. This is one of the results of a survey conducted by the EKFZ in conjunction with the opinion research institute Forsa. According to the survey, boys in particular have been consuming snacks more frequently than before the pandemic, with 22 percent of boys consuming more sweets, 20 percent consuming more snack food, and 12 percent more soft drinks. Ten to twelve-year-old children in particular were less likely to resist sweet or salty foods (23 percent and 28 percent respectively).

For the study, the research team interviewed one-thousand parents of children up to 14 years of age in September 2020. 38 percent of them stated that their children have been less physically active than before the pandemic started. This is particularly true among ten to twelve-year-olds, with 57 percent of parents stating that their children’s physical activity has reduced. At the same time, an increase in body weight has been particularly noticeable in ten to twelve-year-old children, with boys (27 percent) being affected nearly twice as often as girls (14 percent).

Covid-19 Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36255 Fri, 16 Oct 2020 08:37:56 +0200
Fighting corona with machine learning https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36254/ With their own funding focus, the Bavarian Research Foundation wants to accelerate research on the novel coronavirus in the state of Bavaria and contribute to the containment and fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Five interdisciplinary TUM project proposals passed the application procedure with success and will now be funded.

Covid-19 Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36253 Thu, 15 Oct 2020 05:45:00 +0200
An alternative to animal experiments https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36252/ The human intestine is vital for both digestion and absorbing nutrients as well as drugs. For any type of research that involves intestines, scientists require research models that reflect the physiological situation inside human beings with the highest possible accuracy.

Standard cell lines and animal experiments have certain disadvantages. One main issue is the lack of applicability of the results to humans. Now, a multidisciplinary research team covering the areas of nutritional science, general medicine, and chemistry has demonstrated how a modern in vitro model – made from human intestinal biopsies – can answer various questions regarding the molecular processes inside the human gut.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36251 Tue, 13 Oct 2020 17:46:34 +0200
TUM and Tsinghua University sign flagship partnership agreement https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36249/ Researchers at TUM and Tsinghua University have been working together for more than 30 years. At the same time, lively student exchange activities have given many young talents access to fresh perspectives in their fields and exposed them to enriching cultural experiences. Founded in Beijing in 1911, Tsinghua University is not only regarded as the leading technical university in China. It also ranks among the most prestigious academic institutions worldwide. In the latest QS World University Ranking, it placed 15th.

The partners have now agreed to intensify their working relationship, which will cover all areas of university activities. In research, they will cooperate more closely on future-oriented fields such as mobility, environmental science, machine intelligence, aerospace and intelligent manufacturing. Double degree master's programs and joint activities in life-long learning and support for entrepreneurship will be established. The long-term German-Chinese cooperation will also have a special focus on the Tsinghua University campus in Shenzhen in southern China – one of the most important Chinese innovation hubs.

news-36249 Fri, 09 Oct 2020 12:10:16 +0200
Are there hydroelectric power plants that are fish-friendly? https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36248/ Hydroelectric power plants contribute to a sustainable energy supply, and in the sense that they are low emission, they are also climate-friendly. However, they significantly influence the habitat of fish and other creatures in flowing waters. Jürgen Geist, Professor of Aquatic Systems Biology at the TUM, and his team have been investigating the effects of hydroelectric power plants on downstream-moving fish as well as their impact on aquatic habitats since 2014.

So far, the research team has analyzed seven power plants in Bavaria, which utilize four different technologies, both modern and traditional.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36247 Wed, 07 Oct 2020 11:42:56 +0200
Premiere for TUM Talk https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36244/ How can business and society shape the far-reaching technological transformation? How will digital technologies change how people work together and how companies are managed? How can the current crisis be used as an opportunity to promote collaborative innovation? President Hofmann discussed these issues with CEOs, HR managers, scientists and other experts at the first TUM Talk.

The new event series takes place at the TUM Campus Heilbronn, where TUM conducts research into how companies can shape the digital transformation, with a focus on mid-sized family-owned companies and start-ups.

Campus news news-36244 Fri, 02 Oct 2020 18:16:12 +0200
Exploring biodiversity and climate change in the Alps https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36243/ Today, Rupert Seidl, Professor for Ecosystem dynamics and Forest management in Mountain landscapes at TUM and Head of the Department of Research and Monitoring at National Park Management Berchtesgaden, as well as his colleague Dr. Sebastian Seibold presented the long term biodiversity monitoring project at the alpine lake Königssee. This project will generate reliable data about various species stocks ranging from fungi and plants to insects and even birds or bats.

“The loss of biodiversity is a global phenomenon. It has grown to a point at which we not only have to question traditional nature protection approaches, but also have to worry about sharp declines in the efficiency of ecosystems,” Seidl stated. He added that decreasing numbers of species across all levels of the food chain were an observable fact.

Bavarian State Minister of the Environment Thorsten Glauber, TUM President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann and Head of the National Park Dr. Roland Baier today affirmed their cooperation, which is to be expanded with additional personnel. 

All participants agreed to form this partnership in 2018 in order to examine the alpine ecosystems as well as the effects of climate change. The results are to be made applicable to ecosystems in other mountain regions as well. Prof. Seidl is both Chair of the newly created Professorship at TUM and Head of Research at the National Park.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36242 Fri, 02 Oct 2020 08:48:09 +0200
TUM embarks on structural reform https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36240/ It was exactly 20 years ago that TUM merged three departments to create a new institution, the Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan which was later known as the TUM School of Life Sciences. It integrated the fields of agriculture, forestry and food science, with their long-standing traditions, into the interdisciplinary area of life sciences. This structural reform became a widely emulated model in the scientific landscape. Now the Weihenstephan scientific campus is again leading the way. The restructured TUM School of Life Sciences goes into operation on October 1, 2020. It is the first of what will ultimately be seven schools in the university's new, innovation-friendly organizational structure.

With a holistic research and teaching approach, the new TUM School of Life Sciences will address the interconnected ecosystem comprising humans, animals, plants, soil and the climate. Subdivided into three departments, the school will capture innovation potential through the interdisciplinary cooperation of scientists. No longer separated by artificial boundaries based on different objects of study such as humans, animals or plants, they will engage in cooperative research on interdisciplinary questions and develop new methodologies.  

•    The Molecular Life Sciences department will explore biomolecular foundations from the molecule to the cell to entire organisms such as humans, animals and plants.   
•    The Life Science Engineering department will combine engineering with biological systems and food science, develop additive production processes using innovative biomaterials, and shape the digitalization of value chains.
•    The Life Science Systems department will investigate systems in the fields of forestry and agriculture, including ecological, societal and economic aspects, such as the causes and consequences of climate change.

"With this new structure, we want to make decisive contributions toward overcoming the most important challenges facing humanity, such as healthy nutrition for a growing global population, coping with the consequences of climate change, and promoting sustainable agriculture and natural resource management," says TUM President Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann.

Campus news news-36240 Thu, 01 Oct 2020 08:54:50 +0200
Stellar explosion in Earth’s proximity https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36198/ The life of stars with a mass more than ten times that of our sun ends in a supernova, a colossal stellar explosion. This explosion leads to the formation of iron, manganese and other heavy elements.

In layers of a manganese crust that are around two and a half million years old a research team led by physicists from the Technical University of Munich has now confirmed the existence of both iron-60 and manganese-53.

"The increased concentrations of manganese-53 can be taken as the "smoking gun” – the ultimate proof that this supernova really did take place," says first author Dr. Gunther Korschinek.

While a very close supernova could inflict massive harm to life on Earth, this one was far enough away. It only caused a boost in cosmic rays over several thousand years. "However, this can lead to increased cloud formation," says co-author Dr. Thomas Faestermann. "Perhaps there is a link to the Pleistocene epoch, the period of the Ice Ages, which began 2.6 million years ago."

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36197 Wed, 30 Sep 2020 06:30:00 +0200
3D images display plant organs down to the smallest detail https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36238/ Plant organs, such as the root, the shoot axis, the leaves, and the flowers, have a variety of tasks. They ensure that the plant can develop and grow, and that it can ensure the survival of its species by forming seeds. But how do plants shape their organs? How is genetic information used to build the three-dimensional form i.e. the shape of an organism?

Kay Schneitz, Professor of Plant Developmental Biology at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), is concerned with the molecular basis of flower development and plant reproduction.  He is co-spokesman of a research group of the German Research Foundation (DFG-FOR 2581) that has been investigating how cells coordinate their behavior to give the plant a shape (morphogenesis).

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36237 Tue, 29 Sep 2020 08:46:22 +0200
Secure nano-carrier delivers medications directly to cells https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36236/ The human body is made up of billions of cells. In the case of cancer, the genome of several of these cells is changed pathologically so that the cells divide in an uncontrolled manner. The cause of virus infections is also found within the affected cells. During chemotherapy for example, drugs are used to try to destroy these cells. However, the therapy impacts the entire body, damaging healthy cells as well and resulting in side effects which are sometimes quite serious.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Oliver Lieleg, Professor of Biomechanics and a member of the TUM Munich School of BioEngineering, and Prof. Thomas Crouzier of the KTH has developed a transport system which releases the active agents of medications in affected cells only. "The drug carriers are accepted by all the cells," Lieleg explains. "But only the diseased cells should be able to trigger the release of the active agent."

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36235 Fri, 25 Sep 2020 12:15:00 +0200
The Return of the Spin Echo https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36234/ Small particles can have an angular momentum that points in a certain direction – this is known as spin. This spin can be manipulated using a magnetic field. This principle, for example, is the basic idea behind magnetic resonance imaging as used in hospitals.

An international research team has now discovered a surprising effect in a system that is particularly well suited for processing quantum information: the spins of phosphorus atoms in a piece of silicon, coupled to a microwave resonator.

If these spins are expertly stimulated with microwave pulses, a so-called spin echo signal can be detected after a certain time – the injected pulse signal is re-emitted as a quantum echo.

Amazingly, this quantum echo doesn’t occur only once, but a whole series of echoes can be detected. This opens up new possibilities of how information can be processed with quantum systems.

Research news andreas.battenberg@tum.de news-36233 Thu, 24 Sep 2020 08:31:16 +0200
Insects as food for farm animals https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36232/ The founders of FarmInsect (Wolfgang Westermeier, Thomas Kühn, and Andre Klöckner) have developed their company based on the principle of using agricultural biomass in a circular economy. Accordingly, residues that accumulate in the region, such as harvest or peeling residues from an agricultural operation or residues from the regional food industry, such as spent grain or bread, can be used to fatten and feed insect larvae, which can in turn be used as feed for livestock animals.

The use of insect meal in aquaculture has been legally permitted since the end of 2017 and an approval for use in poultry and pig fattening is expected in 2021, especially since feeding of live insects to chickens, pigs, and fish is already permitted.

“Our decentralized method of insect production offers the ability to feed the larvae live because there are no long transport routes. This stimulates the animals to beck and burrow (their natural instincts) more effectively and thus promotes animal welfare,” says co-founder and agricultural scientist Wolfgang Westermeier.

Entrepreneurship katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36231 Tue, 22 Sep 2020 08:25:02 +0200
ERC supports pioneering research projects at TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36229/ To date, researchers at TUM have received a total of 135 of the renowned grants from the European Research Council (ERC). These are awarded in different categories every year.

Starting grants aim to facilitate the implementation of new research approaches by excellent young scientists. They are endowed with up to two million euros.

Proof-of-concept grants are awarded to scientists who want to assess whether their ERC research projects might lead to marketable innovations. As an entrepreneurial university, TUM values this aspect of research and specifically promotes start-ups by researchers and students.

Campus news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-36229 Fri, 18 Sep 2020 08:38:28 +0200
“Honey, I shrunk the detector” https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36227/ Since the development of medical ultrasound imaging in the 1950s, the core detection technology of ultrasound waves has primarily focused on using piezoelectric detectors, which convert the pressure from ultrasound waves into electric voltage. The imaging resolution achieved with ultrasound depends on the size of the piezoelectric detector employed. Reducing this size leads to higher resolution and can offer smaller, densely packed one or two dimensional ultrasound arrays with improved ability to discriminate features in the imaged tissue or material. However, further reducing the size of piezoelectric detectors impairs their sensitivity dramatically, making them unusable for practical application.

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36227 Thu, 17 Sep 2020 14:05:06 +0200
The accident preventers https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36225/ A car approaches an intersection. Another vehicle jets out of the cross street, but it is not yet clear whether it will turn right or left. At the same time, a pedestrian steps into the lane directly in front of the car, and there is a cyclist on the other side of the street. People with road traffic experience will in general assess the movements of other traffic participants correctly.

“These kinds of situations present an enormous challenge for autonomous vehicles controlled by computer programs,” explains Matthias Althoff, Professor of Cyber-Physical Systems at TUM. "But autonomous driving will only gain acceptance of the general public if you can ensure that the vehicles will not endanger other road users – no matter how confusing the traffic situation."

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-36225 Tue, 15 Sep 2020 13:00:22 +0200
Satellite images display changes in the condition of European forests https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/36223/ Rupert Seidl (Professor of Ecosystem Dynamics and Forest Management in Mountain Landscapes at the TUM) and his colleague Cornelius Senf (lead author of the study) for the first time produced a high-resolution map of all openings in the canopy of European forests. They have analyzed more than 30,000 satellite images and identified more than 36 million areas where large trees have given way to open spaces of young trees. This corresponds to a loss of the canopy in 17 percent of the European forests in 30 years.

The reasons for the canopy openings range from regulated wood use to wind storms and forest fires. The team also found that the size of the canopy openings varied widely from area to area.

For example, Sweden has the largest canopy openings (averaging almost two hectares) while Portugal has the highest number of canopy openings. Switzerland has the smallest openings with just 0.6 hectares on average (which is smaller than a soccer field) while the average size opening in Germany is 0.7 hectares and in Italy 0.75 hectares. The largest opening documented by the researchers is in Spain, where a single fire in 2012 burned 17,000 hectares.

Research news katharina.baumeister@tum.de news-36222 Mon, 14 Sep 2020 17:00:00 +0200