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Kiel nanosciences support projects by early career researchers

CAU priority research area KiNSIS establishes interdisciplinary funding programme for early career researchers



Five young scientists from the fields of chemistry, physics, engineering and life science will receive funding this year from the priority research area "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science" (KiNSIS) at Kiel University (CAU). It is part of a programme launched this summer semester, with which KiNSIS aims to support Kiel’s researchers in the nano and surface sciences at the start of their careers. Out-of-the-box thinking or outstanding interdisciplinary research projects will be funded, along with national and international research stays. At the general meeting today (Friday, June 12), the first projects were announced, which have been funded with a total of 15,000 euros. They reflect the wide nature of Kiel's nano research, and range from efficient lighting technology and artificial cell environments, to new physical measurement methods, right through to the foundations for new data storage or targeted delivery of drugs. In addition, the priority research area awards prizes for the best dissertations every year, which will be announced during the course of the year.

For her particularly innovative and interdisciplinary research, the chemist Dr. Anna McConnell this year receives the KiNSIS Early Career Award, which is endowed with 5,000 Euros. The Junior Professor in the Otto Diels Institute of Organic Chemistry of CAU investigates the design of molecular cages for binding other molecules and releasing them in a targeted manner - for example, to transport medicinal substances. McConnell, who came to Kiel four years ago from the University of Cambridge, collaborates with colleagues from various disciplines of chemistry and physics in her research to develop new tailor-made nanostructures. She plans to use the funding also to establish an international network of early career researchers for her research topic.

Annually support programme from now on

In addition to the Early Career Award, the support programme of KiNSIS includes funding for individual research projects ("Micro Proposals") with 2,000 Euros each. This year’s recipients are Dr. Chao Li (physics) for the topic of switchable molecules, Dr. Anna McConnell (chemistry) for molecular cages, Dr.-Ing. Fabian Schütt (engineering) for new lighting concepts using laser light and Dr. Shane Scott (life science) for mechanical pressure applied to cells. Dr. Judith Golda (physics) receives 2,000 Euros for a two-month research stay at the University of Minnesota, in order to develop a new method of investigating plasmas. The early career researchers could apply themselves, or be nominated by a KiNSIS member, with the applications reviewed by the six members of the KiNSIS board. The programme is aimed at scientists at the CAU who have completed their PhD in the nano or surface sciences, and it is planned to reiterate it every year.

"We are very happy that we already received such high-quality applications for the first round of funding," said Professor Jeffrey McCord, one of the KiNSIS spokespersons. With these measures, they want to contribute towards creating the best possible research conditions for talented early career researchers in Kiel. "At the same time, the fresh impulses strengthen our priority research area and form an important basis for our collaborative work and research orientation in the coming years," added Professor Kai Rossnagel, also one of the spokespersons. Since 2014, KiNSIS has supported interdisciplinary research at Kiel University about structures with a size of only a few nanometres. The findings could lead to developments such as molecular machines, innovative sensors and materials, quantum computers or advanced medical treatments.

Speaker group extended by junior representatives

To provide more input from early career researchers in KiNSIS, the engineer and junior professor Dr.-Ing. Andreas Bahr and the physicist Dr. Manuel Gruber joined the board since this summer semester to represent the interests of the young researchers from Kiel’s nanosciences. "From our perspective, the programme for early career researchers provides valuable support for boosting innovative ideas and initiating larger joint projects," said Bahr. "We are delighted that as newly-appointed members of the KiNSIS board, we were immediately involved in selecting the projects to be funded," added Gruber.


An overview of the early career researchers who will receive funding:

Early Career Award (€5,000)

  • Jun-Prof. Dr. Anna McConnell (chemistry): "Functional Stimuli-Responsive Supramolecular Systems"

Micro Proposals (€2,000 each)

  • Jun-Prof. Dr. Anna McConnell (chemistry): "Functional Stimuli-Responsive Cages"
  • Dr. Chao Li (physics): "Controllable spin-state switching of single-molecule magnets"
  • Dr. Shane Scott (life science): "Towards Cellular Scaffolds with Dynamic Viscoelastic Properties"
  • Dr. Fabian Schütt (engineering): "Solid dispersions of luminescent materials as laser-powered white light source"

Lab Exchange (€2,000)

  • Dr. Judith Golda (physics): "Developing a new plasma diagnostic technique: phaseresolved optical absorption spectroscopy (PROAS)" at the University of Minnesota, Prof. Peter J. Bruggeman’s working group


About KiNSIS

Details, which are only a millionth of a millimetre in size: this is what the priority research area "Kiel Nano, Surface and Interface Science – KiNSIS" at Kiel University has been working on. In the nano-cosmos, different laws prevail than in the macroscopic world - those of quantum physics. Through intensive, interdisciplinary cooperation between physics, chemistry, engineering and life sciences, the priority research area aims to understand the systems in this dimension and to implement the findings in an application-oriented manner. Molecular machines, innovative sensors, bionic materials, quantum computers, advanced therapies and much more could be the result. More information at




Portrait Judith Golda
© Hendrik Bahre

Physicist Dr. Judith Golda wants to develop a new examination method for plasmas.

Portrait Chao Li
© Chao Li

Physicist Dr. Chao Li investigates a new class of molecules on surfaces that could provide the basis for smaller data storage and quantum computers.

[Translate to English:] Portrait Anna McConnell

Junior Professor in Chemistry Dr. Anna McConnell is researching into molecular cages that can take up and specifically release other molecules, for example to transport medical agents.

Portrait Fabian Schütt

Material scientist Dr. Fabian Schütt develops new lighting concepts using laser light.

Portrait Shane Scott
© Gitanjali Kolhatkar

Biophysicist Dr. Shane Scott investigates the mechanical pressure applied to cells.


Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Kai Roßnagel
KiNSIS spokesperson
Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics
+49 431 880-3876


Prof. Dr. Jeffrey McCord
Institute of Material Sciences
+49 431 880-6123


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