The Helmholtz Association has selected two young investigators from KIT, who can now establish and manage their own research group: Dr. Frank Weber from the Institute for Solid-State Physics (IFP) and Dr. Matthias Mauder from the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research – Atmospheric Environmental Research Division (IMK-IFU). With an annual budget of at least EUR 250,000 over five years and a tenure track option, a Helmholtz young investigators group represents an ideal start of a scientific career.
This year, the Helmholtz Association will establish 20 new young investigators groups at the Helmholtz Centers. In total, 226 scientists applied for funding. All applicants passed a very strict multi-stage selection procedure. A jury of international experts of various disciplines evaluated the research projects of the scientists as well as their qualification to manage a young investigators group.
The research group of Dr. Frank Weber at the KIT Institute for Solid-State Physics deals with a topic in the Helmholtz research area of Key Technologies, namely, with superconducting materials: “Competing Phases in Superconducting Materials”. The scientists study the influence of electron-phonon coupling in materials with competing basic states, one of which is superconductivity. Understanding the behavior of materials at modified physical parameters is essential for the specific development of new materials.
The topic studied by the young investigators group of Dr. Matthias Mauder at the KIT Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research - Atmospheric Environmental Research Division – is assigned to the Helmholtz research area of Earth and Environment: “Acquisition of All Scales Relevant to Biosphere/Atmosphere Exchange – The Problem of Closing the Energy Balance.” Quantitative knowledge of the exchange between biosphere and atmosphere is a major prerequisite for prognosticating the development of ecosystems, weather, and climate. Moreover, Dr. Mauder is planned to be appointed Junior Professor for Ecometeorology.
The heads of the Helmholtz young investigators groups can conduct independent research and select the members of their research teams. They profit from the excellent working conditions at the Helmholtz Centers. Every group has to pass an intermediate evaluation after three to four years. If the result is positive, a tenure track is offered. Parallel to their research activities, the young investigators lecture at university and hold seminars and, thus, qualify for a university career.
The young investigators groups are financed from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association and the Helmholtz Centers at a ratio of 50 to 50. Usually, funding covers the position of the head of the young investigators group, three to four scientific staff member positions as well as the laboratory equipment.
Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.