Nano Sciences in Kiel are funding the best young researchers' projects 2021

The interdisciplinary funding programme of the priority research area KiNSIS starts its second round 


Trying unconventional research approaches, testing new methods across disciplines or collaborating on an international level: With its funding programme the priority research area KiNSIS (Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science) wants to support young researchers at the beginning of their careers. That is one of the goals of the interdisciplinary network from the nano and surface sciences at Kiel University (CAU). With its annually announced "Early Career Programme", KiNSIS promotes outstanding talents, interdisciplinary projects and international research stays. This year, nine researchers from the fields of chemistry, physics, engineering and life sciences will receive 21,000 euros in total for their projects. Their work reflects the thematic breadth of KiNSIS and ranges from the further development of fundamental scientific methods to the application-oriented development of new nanomaterials, for example for biomedicine or the generation of energy.

Since 2013, KiNSIS has been promoting interdisciplinary research at Kiel University on structures that are only a few nanometres in size. At this level, unusual physical laws are working that can lead to fascinating processes and completely new properties of materials. When put into practice, the findings could contribute to more powerful energy storage systems, more targeted medical therapies or more efficient data processing.

Create as good conditions as possible for own research careers

For the second time the members of KiNSIS have now awarded the “Early Career Award” for young, talented and interdisciplinary working researchers. This year, Dr. Petro Feketa from the research group "Automation and Control" at the Institute of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology receives the award, which is endowed with 5,000 euros. The applied mathematician develops, among other things, theoretical methods for the analysis and control of complex dynamical networks. The results will also be used in the Collaborative Research Centre 1461 "Neurotronics: Bio-inspired Information Pathways", that started at Kiel University this year. It aims at transferring findings on energy-efficient information processing in the brain to technical processes. With his research, Feketa wants to contribute towards a deeper understanding of the internal organization of neuro-inspired oscillator networks and explores the interplay between the dynamical behavior of oscillators, adaptation mechanisms of the couplings, and the interconnection topology of the network. After completing his doctoral studies at Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine, he worked in Erfurt and Kaiserslautern before he came to Kiel in 2018 to join the Research Unit 2093 "Memristive devices for neuronal systems".

In addition to that, the KiNSIS Early Career Programme supports individual research projects ("Microproposals") and research stays ("Lab Exchanges") with 2,000 euros each. The annually announced funding programme is aimed at researchers at Kiel University who have completed their doctoral studies in the nano or surface sciences or are about to do so. Young researchers can apply themselves or on the recommendation of a KiNSIS member. The six members of the speaker group decide on the applications.

Powerful young talents: Financial support and participation in decision-making processes

"We look forward to seeing how these promising projects and researchers will develop - congratulations to all grantees," says Professor Kai Roßnagel, KiNSIS spokesperson for the field of physics. "These projects are excellent examples for the potential of interdisciplinary cooperations and will also initiate new collaborations within our network of KiNSIS", says junior professor Huayna Terraschke. The chemical engineer represent the interests of young scientists on the KiNSIS board, together with material scientist Dr. Alexander Vahl. Involvement in decision-making processes is a second strong pillar of KiNSIS’ early career strategy next to financial support for own projects. Exchange and further training formats as well as dissertation awards for doctoral candidates complete the programme as a third pillar.

© Olesia Feketa

Applied mathematician Dr Petro Feketa develops theoretical methods for the analysis and control of complex dynamical networks and has received the Early Career Award 2021 endowed with 5.000 euros.



[Translate to English:] Außerdem fördert der Forschungsschwerpunkt KiNSIS in diesem Jahr die Projekte von folgenden Nachwuchswissenschaftlerinnen und -wissenschaftlern (v.l.): Dr. Rajendra Prasad Giri, Dr. Soumyajyoti Haldar, Dr. Xiangzhi Meng, Leonard Siebert, Dr. Masoud Taleb, Dr. Ban Al-Tayyem, Dr. Salih Veziroglu, Dr. Berit Zeller-Plumhoff.

More informationen about the Early Career Programme

Press contact

Julia Siekmann
Science Communication Officer, Research area Kiel Nano Surface and Interface Sciences

The funded young researchers 2021 at a glance:

Early Career Award

© Olesia Feketa

Dr. Petro Feketa, Automation and Control, Institute of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology

The applied mathematician Petro Feketa has worked within the Research Unit 2093 "Memristive devices for neuronal systems" and develops, among other things, theoretical methods for the analysis and control of complex dynamical networks. They will be also used in the recently launched Collaborative Research Centre 1461 "Neuroelectronics: Biologically Inspired Information Processing" at Kiel University.


Lab Exchange

Berit Zeller-Plumhoff, Institute for Materials Science, CAU / Institute of Metallic Biomaterials, Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon

Utilising indirect non-destructive testing methods to understand magnesium degradation at scales beyond the resolution limit of X-ray nanotomographic imaging

Magnesium-based materials are often used to support bone fractures as they degrade in the body over time. The applied mathematician Berit Zeller-Plumhoff wants to deepen the understanding of the complex degradation processes by measuring sound and heat developments that occur at an early stage of degradation. Professor Dmytro Orlov's laboratory at Lund University, Sweden, provides the instruments and methods.

© Jan-Rasmus Lippels /


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Dr. Rajendra Prasad Giri, Research Group Interface Physics, Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics

Graphene-based nanomaterials in biomembranes: unfolding the molecular mechanisms of cytotoxicity and cholesterol metabolism

The physicist, Rajendra Prasad Giri, is investigating the interaction of graphene-based nanomaterials (GNs) with cellular membranes by using various X-ray scattering techniques in combination with microscopy. The in-depth structural characterizations could potentially serve as the basis for novel miniaturized bio-devices for disease diagnosis and drug delivery.


Soumyajyoti Haldar, PhD, Research group Spintronics Theory, Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astrophysics

Investigation of optical signatures of defect centers in 2D Transition Metal Dichalcogenides
The project of theoretical physicist Soumyajyoti Haldar aims at finding out how localized defects in two-dimensional Transition Metal Dichalcogenides (TMD) affect the optical properties of these materials. A deeper understanding of these affects could be an important step to realize controlled functionalization of materials as for bio and chemical sensors.


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Xiangzhi Meng, PhD, Research Group Scanning Tunneling Microscopy, Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics

Synthesis and investigation of Graphdiyne-like 2D material on noble metal surfaces
In recent years graphdiyne (GDY) materials as one carbon allotrope, have been applied in various morphologies in fields as water splitting, gas separation, photocatalysis, energy storage and sensors. They have been made via conventional solution chemistry. However, the synthesis of single-layer GDY has remained a challenge that physicist Xiangzhi Meng addresses with his project.


Leonard Siebert, Research group Functional Nanomaterials, Institute for Materials Science

Highly selective, MOF-decorated, chemiresistive, printed metal oxide gas sensors

Materials scientist Leonard Siebert wants to develop special 3D-printed sensors that can specifically indicate volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in indoor air. He will combine self-developed printable sensor structures made with highly porous nanomaterials like metal-organic frameworks. These so-called MOFs from the Inorganic Chemistry department at CAU work like a kind of sieve to filter the VOCs.

scientist in the lab
Portrait Taleb
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Dr. Masoud Taleb, Research Group Nanooptics, Institute for Experimental and Applied Physics

A novel method to define nanolayer thicknesses using cathodoluminescence spectroscopy

By combining different layers of nanostructures, materials with special properties can be produced. In order to precisely determine these layers and their thicknesses, materials scientist Masoud Taleb wants to develop a new analysis method that - unlike existing methods - does not require complicated sample preparation and does not harm the material. 

Ban Al-Tayyem, PhD, Research Group Photoactive Inorganic Nanomaterials, Institute of Inorganic Chemistry

Polyimide/Inorganic Hybrid Composites for Optoelectronics Applications

Fluorescent materials with photo-active inorganic particles combine inorganic and organic advantages such as good optical properties and flexibility. With specially structured plastic films, organic chemist Ban Al-Tayyem wants to overcome previous limitations in transparency and stability in order to develop energy-efficient optoelectronic components for commercial application.

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Dr.-Ing. Salih Veziroglu, Chair of Multicomponent Materials, Institute for Materials Science

New Generation TiO2-Au-CeO2 Z-Scheme Photo(electro)catalyst for Enhanced H2 Generation

Salih Veziroglu wants to produce hydrogen via artificial photosynthesis (Z-scheme) for climate-neutral energy generation. To this end, the chemist and materials scientist wants to develop a new type of photocatalytic material combination with special nanostructures inspired by nature, that could improve the water splitting performance and the generation of hydrogen.