In its press release of 10 June 2020, the DFG announced that, against the background of the current coronavirus pandemic, it will establish an interdisciplinary commission for pandemic research. Among the members of the commission is Frank Allgöwer, Vice President of the DFG and Vice Spokesperson and Vice Director of the Cluster of Excellence EXC 2075 "Data-integrated Simulation Science" at the University of Stuttgart.
The Commission, which is chaired by DFG President Prof. Dr. Katja Becker herself, has 18 members from all scientific disciplines and aims to strengthen the knowledge-driven research essential in the field of pandemic and epidemic research, which is, among other things, the basis of almost all transnational approaches. The Presidential Board of the largest research funding organisation and central self-governing body for science in Germany has now passed a resolution to this effect.
In his latest publication, Frank Allgöwer deals, among other things, with the prediction of the spread of the current pandemic and measures to control it on the basis of a predictive, model-based control procedure. "Methods of model-based and data-driven simulation play a central role in the evaluation of strategies to contain the pandemic," explains Allgöwer. His appointment once again underlines the relevance of simulation science.
The new commission will accompany DFG-funded projects investigating pandemics and epidemics, both ongoing work and, in particular, research projects within the framework of a current interdisciplinary call for proposals launched by the DFG at the end of March, in which funding proposals can be submitted until 1 September of this year. In addition, the Commission is to oversee the entire basic research landscape relating to pandemics and epidemics and identify potential research needs. In doing so, it will pay particular attention to inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation and the strengthening of synergies.
As the DFG President emphasised, the Commission should be purely science-driven and have a long-term focus, and should represent the DFG's corresponding activities within the scientific community and externally. In particular, this would include close cooperation with national and international institutions and partner organisations.
The 18 scientific members of the Commission will be appointed for an initial period of two years. Additional experts can participate in meetings of the commission or be invited to participate in meetings on specific issues.