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University of Bayreuth Centre of International Excellence "Alexander von Humboldt"

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Recently Selected Short Term Grantees

Short Term Grantees 2020/1

Dr Aleksandra Drizo 
Chief Executive Officer, Water and Soil Solutions International Ltd., Bedford, Canada.

Project Title: Phosphorus Removal, Recycling and Reuse from agricultural runoff

Dr Drizo

The aim of my research visit is to assist Professor Dr. Stefan Peiffer, the Director of BayCEER, and his graduate students in the research of their current Marie Curie Training Network Project titled “Diffuse phosphorus (P) input to surface waters – new concepts in removal, recycling and management.” This will be an excellent opportunity to expand on these collaborations in the future in development, testing and comparing different P trap systems.

The research visit also fits very well with the research and training of the PhD students in BayNAT, currently enrolled in Innovative Training Network (ITN) under Dr. Stefan Peiffer advisory or coadvisory. I will also provide a short course in P-removal topics to master students in geoecology and environmental chemistry, the topic of which being a central part of the curriculum.

Disciplines: Water Quality, Protection of Waters, Nutrient Management

Host: Professor Stefan Peiffer, Hydrology and Director of the Bayreuth Center of Ecology and Environmental Research

Research stay: November 2020 or February 2021

Dr Eranezhuth Awin
Postdoctoral researcher at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, India

Project Title: Design and processing of novel heterogeneous catalytic nanocomposite fibers based on polymer derived ceramics approach

Dr Eranezhuth

Lignocellulosic biomass which is an abundant, non-expensive and feasible (due to the non-competitive nature in the food chain) material is an excellent choice of replacement for fossil fuel and has wide application in medicinal chemistry. The development of novel catalytic reaction scheme concepts that mediates the conversion of lignocellulose derived alcohols to aromatic N-heterocycles (hydrogen generation/storage) is a challenge. In order to catalyze the corresponding reaction steps more efficiently and to withstand the strong basic conditions during the synthesis, novel catalysts have to be explored. Hence, the aim of this project is to design of a sustainable reusable heterogeneous catalysts based on transition metals, acknowledging the factors such as cost, selectivity, reusability and activity as well as the conservation of limited noble metal resources.

Disciplines: Ceramics, Heterogeneous catalysts, Hydrogen production

Hosts: PD Dr Günter Motz, Research Group „Precursorkeramik“, Ceramic Materials Engineering, and Professor Rhett Kempe, Inorganic Chemistry II

Research stay: TBC

Dr María Josefina Irurzun
Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council, Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina

Project Title: Excursions to Bayreuth: travel narrative, identifications and transcultural experiences of Wagner fans (Argentina/Germany, 1890-1940)

Dr Irurzun

The purpose of this project is to study travel narratives of Wagner fans that had made the trip or "pilgrimage" to Bayreuth’s Festival from Buenos Aires, Argentina. We will study their travel narratives with the aim of understanding transculturation processes from the constructive dimension of music in social and cultural terms. Following a diachronic point of view –from late nineteen century to first half of twentieth–, this approach will allow the analysis of cultural encounters, also revealing the cultural distance perceptions of travelers and fans as well as the singularities of the male and female gaze.

Disciplines: Cultural History; Cultural History of Music, Opera Studies, Transculturation Processes; Migration Studies; Global History.

Host: Professor Kordula Knaus, Musicology

Research stay: June 2021

Dr Felipe Reinoso Carvalho
Research Assistant Marketing at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia

Project Title: Sonic seasoning: Rethinking tasting experiences through music

Dr Reinoso Carvalho

Gastronomy and the food industry are aware of the role of most senses in the experience of foods and beverages. In fact, recent evidence suggests that even what we hear can significantly affect tasting experiences, whether we realize it or not.  Felipe Reinoso-Carvalho (U. de los Andes), together with fellow colleagues from U. Bayreuth, intend to explore, from a scientific perspective, the particular role of sound in the behavior of consumers while experiencing foods/drinks.  Here, we would be looking for to discuss such role from three different perspectives: Innovation and consumer protection, food & health sciences, and/or transcultural processes.

Disciplines: Acoustics, Sound Engineering

Host: Professor Claas Christian Germelmann, Marketing 

Research stay: Summer 2021

Dr Maxim Vlasov
Researcher at the Institute of High Temperature Electrochemistry of the Ural Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences and Research Assistant at the Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Project Title: Structural features of ion-conducting BaLaInO4 for electrochemical applications: Effect of acceptor and donor doping

Dr Vlasov

High-temperature ion conductors based on complex oxides attract big attention due to the possibility of their application in various areas of electrochemistry. Their conductivity properties are highly dependent on the short-range order/disorder of the crystal structure, and thus can be modified by doping one or several sublattices. With this research project, on the example of BaLaInO4, the Ruddlesden-Popper type oxide, we want to perform a thorough structural study by X-ray pair distribution function (PDF) analysis to get the detailed insight into the local structural distortions caused by doping and reveal correlations between structural features and conductivity properties.

Disciplines: Solid State Physics, Physical Chemistry

Host: Professor Mirijam Zobel, Inorganic Chemistry Mesostructured Materials

Research stay: Winter 2021

Short Term Grantees 2019/1

Professor Nilufer E. Bharucha 
Director, CoHaB Indian Diaspora Centre, University of Mumbai, India

Prof Bharucha

The aim of Professor Bharucha’s visit is to explore the potential, at Bayreuth, for an institutionalized platform for graduate research on diasporic literature and culture. This school would focus on representations of migration and diaspora, in particular with a view to concepts of the future. It would be situated within UBT’s emerging field Cultural Encounters and Transcultural Processes. In order to initiate conversations on this topic, Professor Bharucha will be a key speaker at a conference on “symbolism of the future” in March 2020 with a lecture on symbols of the future in the literature of the Indian diaspora.

Disciplines: Diaspora Studies (Literature and Cinema), Ethnoreligious Literature, Indian Diaspora in Africa, Gender in Indian English Literature

Host: Professor Florian Klaeger, English Literature

Research stay: November 2020

Professor Thiago Branqinho de Queiroz 
Universidade Federal do ABC, Centro de Ciências Naturais e Humanas, Santo André, Brazil

Project Title: Charge transfer mechanisms in light converting systems from Time-Dependent Density Functional Theory

Prof Branqinho de Queiroz

We aim to investigate light converting mechanisms in both artificial and nature systems. Donor-acceptor materials that can be used in organic solar cells and bacteriochlorophyll complexes from photosynthetic bacteria will be studied using Time Dependent Density Functional Theory. An important aspect of our work is the use of approximations that are capable of correctly treating charge transfer excitations. We combine those with an appropriate treatment of intermolecular interactions and long-range dielectric screening coming from solvation effects. Our long-term aim is to contribute to the development of materials that can efficiently convert light to other useful forms of energy.

Disciplines: Condensed Matter Physics, Quantum Mechanics

​Host: Professor Stephan Kümmel, Theoretical Physics IV

Research stay: April 2021

Professor Olga Bruyaka Collignon
West Virginia University, USA

Project Title: Organizational Digital Identity: Antecedents and Consequences

Prof Bruyaka Collignon

Digital technologies and digitization of organizational processes constitute increasingly relevant changes in today’s business environment calling for reconsideration of the bases for the normally accepted conception of identity. The objective of our research project is to develop the concept of organizational digital identity and answer the following questions: How groups within and across organizations develop shared digital identity? What are potential benefits of such shared digital identity? We define organizational digital identity as the collective self-concept(s) of an in-group towards the creation, application, development, and emergence of digital technology built on shared fondness, compassion, and proclivity towards digital technology.

Discipline: Strategic Management

Host: Professor Ricarda Bouncken, Strategic Management and Organisation

Research stay: TBC

Professor Helge Dedek
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University, Montréal, Canada

Project Title: “Darker legacies”: Colonialism and “Comparative Law”

Prof Dedek

This project, which forms part of a larger undertaking I have been pursuing since 2017, seeks to explore the role of “comparative law” as intellectually legitimizing colonialism and even actively partaking in the in the colonial project. The method of comparison that gained currency in the 19th century is intricately intertwined with contemporaneous discourses on “civilization” and “race.“ The project focuses, in particular, on the involvement of comparatists in colonial administrative endeavours, e.g. colonial statutes supposed to navigate the perceived gap between the “civilized” laws of the colonizer and the local “customs”. Striking is, again, the omnipresence of “race” as a distinguishing factor in the attempts to regulate social reality in the colonies.

Disciplines: Comparative Legal Studies, Legal History

Host: Professor Dr. Martin Schmidt-Kessel, German and European Consumer Law and Private Law as well as Comparative Law

Research stay: Spring 2021

Professor Mostapha Diss
Professor of Economics, CRESE, Université of Franche-Comté, France 

Project Title: Preference Rankings and Proportional Representation: Mismatches in Germany, 2005-2017

Prof Diss

As with all proportional list systems, the German system is afflicted by a fundamental inconsistency known as the More-Preferred-Less-Seats-Paradox. Although this has been known to be a theoretical possibility for a long time, it has never been demonstrated empirically for Germany. We follow a method previously applied to studies of elections in Denmark (1973–2005) and The Netherlands (1982–1994) that reconstructs these preference rankings from opinion polling data. We use flash polls that contain “thermometer data” on party preferences conducted the week before polling day for the Federal Elections in 2005, 2009, 2013, and 2017. The main finding is that each of the elections has been afflicted by the paradox. Qualitatively, it is arguable that the occurrence of the paradox in 2005 and 2009 is relatively benign. But in 2013 and 2017 the paradox took on a different dimension. Firstly, in 2013 the liberal Freie Demokratische Partei (FDP) actually dropped out of parliament although being preferred over the leftwing party DIE LINKE, which was the so-called Condorcet-loser (or least-preferred party). DIE LINKE was the third largest faction in the Parliament and the official opposition. Then in 2017, the populist rightwing party, Alternative für Deutschland (AFD), received the third largest seat share although, as with DIE LINKE in the previous election, it was the Condorcet-loser and it too has become the official opposition. This suggests that the current system has the potential to distort the representation of voter preferences. We discuss the source of the paradox and the normative implications of these results by placing them in the context of representative and epistemic conceptions of democracy.

Disciplines: Economics, Political Science

Host: Professor Frank Steffen, Economics

Research stay: March/April 2021

Dr Yu Dong
School of Civil and Mechanical Engineering, Curtin University, Australia

Project Title: Mechanical, Thermal and Electrical Properties of Polylactic Acid (PLA)/Bamboo Charcoal (BC) Multifunctional Bionanocomposites

Dr Dong

PLA is a popular biodegradable polymer used in material packaging, biomedical engineering and pharmaceutical devices. The incorporation of nanofillers in polymer nanocomposites has been widely investigated while the study on bamboo charcoal (BC) nanoparticles is still at its infant stage despite their abundant resources, high surface areas, degree of porosity and absorption ability used for pollutant removal and gas purification. This project aims to successfully fabricate PLA/BC bionanocomposites using twin screw extrusion and compression moulding and simultaneously enhanced mechanical, thermal and electrical properties of tailored PLA/BC bionanocomposites as multifunctional materials to deeply understand their good processing-structure-property relationship.

Disciplines: Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering

Host: Professor Volker Altstädt, Polymer Engineering

Research stay: Mid or late 2021

Dr Remco W.A. Havenith
Stratingh Institute for Chemistry and Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials, University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Project Title: Modelling Deposition of Organic Photovoltaic Materials in Electric Fields

Dr Havenith

Photovoltaic materials are promising candidates for facilitating the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Organic photovoltaics (OPV) have properties, such as being flexible and light weight that make them attractive for specialty applications. The efficiency of OPV depends on many factors, and one is the morphology of the material, which can be steered by electric fields.  Here we will do computer simulations of the formation of the films under control of electric fields, with the aim to be able to control the morphology in the production process of OPV in order to improve their efficiency.

Disciplines: Theoretical Chemistry, Organic Photovoltaics, Computational Modelling

: Junior-Professor Eva M. Herzig, Dynamics and Structure Formation

Research stay: TBC

Dr Niloofar Karimian
Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Southern Cross GeoScience, Southern Cross University, Australia

Project Title: Antimony Mobility and Speciation in Complex, Redox-Active Mineral System

Dr Karimian

This project aims to advance our fundamental understanding on the geochemistry of antimony – a critical mineral resource and environmental pollutant of growing concern that plays a growing role in our daily lives. This will be achieved by investigating the interplay between antimony and metal oxides in multi-mineral systems. This project will bring together a combination of advanced analytical tools and techniques to examine antimony –iron and manganese interactions in experimental mixed mineral systems. The expected outcomes will provide novel insights into refined strategies to manipulate coupling between antimony mobility and iron and manganese cycling for improved rehabilitation of degraded landscapes.

Disciplines: Soil Science Engineering, Environmental Geochemistry

Host: Professor Britta Planer-Friedrich, Environmental Geochemistry

Research stay: Winter 2021

Dr Dmitry Kolomenskiy
Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Japan

Project Title: Energetic optimization of spatial arrangement of fish swimming in formation

Dr Kolomenskiy

Fluid dynamics plays an important role in our understanding of animal locomotion. The topic of this collaboration concerns with fish schooling, which refers to a group of fish swimming in the same direction in a coordinated manner. We are developing an analytical model based on approximation of the far flow field induced by an individual swimmer represented as a circular vortex ring. It will help to assess hydrodynamic advantages of schooling and evaluate potential benefit that swimming in a group can offer to small robotic underwater swimmers.

Disciplines: Fluid Mechanics, Computational Mechanics

Host: Professor Jörn Sesterhenn, Technical Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics

Research stay: April/May 2021

Professor Heather Ann Viles
School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Professor Viles

Professor Heather Viles from the University of Oxford will visit Bayreuth to collaborate with Professor Dr Oliver Sass on ‘Heritage Hydrology’ in March and June 2020. The aim of the visit is to lay the foundations of an innovative research project on the interactions between the hydrological cycle and the deterioration of built heritage. We will co-design an instrumental setup for a proposed pan-European network of heritage hydrological observatories, draft a proposal for funding, and co-author a review paper setting out the challenges for this research area.

Disciplines: Geomorphology, Heritage Science

Host: Professor Oliver Sass, Geomorphology

Research stay: TBC

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