University of Kaiserslautern

The University of Kaiserslautern provides an excellent research environment with the central campus and renowned affiliated institutes associated: It is a research-oriented academic institution with one Collaborative Research Center (SFB 926 “Microscale Morphology of Component Surfaces”), two TRR-SFBs (SFB 49 “Condensed Matter Systems with Variable Many-Body Interactions”; SFB 88 “Kooperative Effekte in homo- und heterometallischen Komplexen”), an associated Fraunhofer Institutes on Experimental Software Engineering (IESE) and Industrial Mathematics (ITWM). 

The University has moreover a strong focus on excellent graduate education: several RTGs and IRTGs, including the allocated project “Excellence in Teaching” with the mission “students as partners” (http://www.exzellente-lehre.de), document the lively integration of research and education. 

The University of Kaiserslautern has set research on membrane transport into its scientific focus. This is illustrated by the establishment of the central Research Unit “Membrane Transport” (http://www.uni-kl.de/wcms/rimb.html) annually supported with about 250.000,- € as one of only five research units established with the help of the Federal State Rhineland-Palatinate. 

The University’s Center for Distance and Independent Studies (DISC) is Germany’s second largest provider of graduate distance education and provides the IRTG access to a first-class eTeaching Service Center (ETSC). The International School for Graduate Studies (ISGS) offers an outstanding university-wide infrastructure fostering training in soft skills and additionally, provides a broad range of services well suited to host graduate students from abroad. In order to further promote structured doctorial studies, the establishment of a university-wide PhD Programme is currently in preparation. The latter will comprise all elements fostering the university’s strategy of internationalisation and the additional teaching of key qualifications. 

Saarland University

The institutional identity of the Saarland University is defined according to three main areas of research and teaching: “BioMed Sciences”, “Computer Sciences”, and “European Studies”. The IRTG perfectly fits into the BioMed area, which is characterized by its emphasis on applied research, conducted across several scientific networks that are clustered around Molecular Medicine, Human- and Molecular Biology and Nano-Biotechnology.  

Cooperative educational and research projects based on the cooperation of the University Medical School and University hospital (campus 1 in Homburg), the natural sciences and life sciences faculties (on the second campus in Saarbrücken) include the Center for Human and Molecular Biology, the Competence Center of Molecular Medicine, the Collaborative Research Center SFB 894 and four Research Training Groups. The University also cooperates closely with the Leibniz Institute for New Materials (INM), the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), the Fraunhofer Institutes for Biomedical Engineering and Non-Destructive Testing, all of which are on or close to the university campus 2.  

An important component of the university’s strategy is to foster the structured training of graduate students. In 2007, Saarland University has implemented the university-wide graduate programme GradUS, which sets benchmarks for the doctoral training and the supervision of PhD thesis. GradUS also supplies administrative help and is the contact point for international graduate students. 

A central element of GradUS is the special cooperation with the third-party-funded doctoral programmes. Current examples are, inter alia, five Research Training Groups funded by the DFG, the Max Planck Research School for Computer Science, the Graduate School of Computer Science funded by the Excellence Initiative, the European Graduate Program EuroPhD of the pharmacy network Galenos, and the European Graduate School for Neuroscience EURON. GradUS is of particular importance for the doctoral training at Saarland University, as the high quality of graduate research in these coordinated programmes defines the standards for other PhD programmes as well.

Saarland University Hospital and Medical School

With 30 departments and 20 institutes, the Saarland University Hospital and Medical School (SUHMS) holds a top position as a health centre in south-west Germany. Over 5,300 employees care for the patients. 2,000 students are trained in medicine and dental medicine, biology, and biocomputer sciences at the Faculty of Medicine that is situated here. Furthermore, 1,000 university attendants work at the Homburg campus.  

There are about 700 training jobs available for non-medical health professions. Additionally, the SUHMS is one of the main providers of work in the region. Homburg covers all main medical specializations.  

Through a large number of research co-operations, patients can benefit from the latest development in medicine, especially in cases of most complex clinical symptoms. For ten years, a Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) for the transfer of signals in cells is housed at the SUH and currently, participation of the latest trans-regional SFB is ongoing for fibrosis, the clinical increase of connective tissue in the liver and kidneys. Furthermore, two clinical Research groups deal with Hepatitis C as well as remodelling processes in the cardiac muscle, which can lead to chronic heart failure. Excellent junior researchers are trained at three graduate colleges



University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is one of Canada’s leading research and teaching institutions, with more that $513 million in external research funding. Within a vibrant and supportive learning environment, the University of Alberta discovers, disseminates, and applies new knowledge through teaching and learning, research and creative activity, community involvement, and partnerships. The University of Alberta gives a national and international voice to innovation, taking a lead role in placing Canada at the global forefront. 

Research into membrane proteins is a long-established area of excellence at the University of Alberta, recognized as such by the University’s strategic plan. The present day the Membrane Protein Research Group (MPRG) has its roots in an MRC Group formed over 20 years ago. This long-term history has led to a strong nucleus of researchers, which, in turn, has acted as a magnet to recruit new talent in the study of membrane proteins in disease. The MPDRG has established excellence in the structural biology of membrane proteins, with proven success in obtaining high-resolution structures of membrane proteins by cryo-electron microscopy and X-ray crystallography, respectively. Researchers in the Membrane Proteins in Disease area of excellence have been well funded over the last five years, with over $48 million grant support from provincial, national, and international agencies. The Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry has served as a rich environment to train researchers in Membrane Proteins.