Press releases

Whether it is new and groundbreaking research results, university topics or events – in our press releases you can find everything you need to know about the happenings at Goethe University. To subscribe, just send an email to

Goethe University PR & Communication Department 

Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt


Jun 6 2023

Goethe University raises around 233 million euros in additional funding / Increase in international fundraising particularly high 

Third-party funding at an all-time high 

Goethe University increased its third-party funding by 17 percent in 2022. EU-funded projects saw the strongest growth: Their volume rose by 50% to €27.2 million.

Third-party funds, i.e. the funds a university acquires above and beyond its basic funding from the state and federal governments, are an important component of a university's budget. Last year, Goethe University's third-party funding saw across-the-board increases and came in at a total of €232.8 million, €33.9 million more than in 2021. 

At €71.4 million, the largest single source of public third-party research funding was the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG). Projects funded by the federal and state governments rose from €45.2 million to €52.2 million in 2022, representing a year-on-year increase of 15 percent. Funding for cutting-edge research projects by the state of Hesse alone amounted to €18.5 million. That figure also includes funding for three cluster projects supported by the state of Hesse ahead of the application for the German federal and state governments' Excellence Strategy. 

Particularly gratifying within the international context is the fact that the projects funded by the European Union (EU) increased by almost half to a volume of €27.2 million. All disciplines were able to attract new EU funding: Three ERC grants – highly competitive individual funding from the European Research Council – and three new European collaborative projects under Goethe University's leadership resulted in a substantial increase in acquisitions. 

Third-party funding from private sources totaled almost €60 million, up 22 percent. Of these, donations alone increased by 10 percent and came in at €10.3 million. Industry and legally independent foundations increased their funding by 35 percent to €25.6 million. 

"The new record level of third-party funding is a testimony to Goethe University's research strength and innovative power, as well as its increasing internationality. After all, the largest increase in third-party funding in 2022 came in against strong international competition in EU projects," says Goethe University President Prof. Dr. Enrico Schleiff. "I would like to congratulate not only all our university researchers on this success, but also all employees who contribute to these scientific achievements." 

The general increase in third-party funding at Goethe University can be attributed to a large number of newly acquired small and large projects. Examples include the two newly launched DFG Collaborative Research Centers (Sonderforschungsbereich, SFB) in the life sciences – "Membrane-associated protein assemblies, machineries and supercomplexes " (SFB 1507) and "Damage control by the stroma-vascular compartment" (SFB 1531) – as well as the newly established research unit (Forschungsgruppe 5417) on: "Translational polytrauma research to provide diagnostic and therapeutic tools for improving outcome". In the humanities and social sciences, the Academy for Islam in Research and Society (AIWG) was able to successfully commence its second funding period. 

Goethe University's total budget came in at about €764.5 million in 2022.

Editor: Pia Barth, Public Relations Officer, PR & Communications Office, Tel. + 49 (0)69 798 12481, Fax + 49 (0)69 798 763 12531,


Jun 5 2023

Goethe University Conference looks at the development of the African-American freedom struggle in the 1960s and 1970s

New Directions in the History of the Black Power Movement

New currents within the history of the Black Power movement are the focus of a conference organized by Prof. Simon Wendt, American Studies professor at Goethe University. Titled "New Directions in the History of the Black Power Movement", the conference will be held in English and is open to the public. 

Friday, June 23, through Sunday, June 25,
Lecture Hall Center, HZ 14 (3rd floor)
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 5
60323 Frankfurt

Black Power. The energetic slogan of a civil rights movement of African Americans dates back to the 1960s. Contrary to more moderate civil rights activists like Martin Luther King, it confronted the white population of the USA with a strong black self-confidence. Much research has been conducted on the history of the Black Power Movement in the past 20 years, and numerous studies have revised one-dimensional interpretations of the movement, exploring its roots, the significance of local organizing, African American women's contributions, the movement's political impact, and its radical internationalism. 

Building on this foundation, this conference brings together a new generation of American, British, and German historians, who shed new light on the Black Power movement's complex history. While some of their contributions revisit topics that have long been of interest to historians of the era—African American women, education, and the movement's global impact—others open up new historiographical trajectories, including the role of religion, and collaborations between Black Power organizations and LGBTQ activists. Ultimately, the conference aims to make a contribution towards better understanding both the Black Power movement's history and its legacy. 

Prof. Dr. Simon Wendt
Institute of English and American Studies (IEAS)
Tel. +49 (0)69 798-32358

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0)69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


Having undergone extensive renewal works, the "Goethe NHR" mainframe, part of the Konsortium Nationales Hochleistungsrechnen Süd-West [National High-Performance Computing (NHR) South-West consortium], is now one of the two most resource-efficient in Germany, and ranked 9th worldwide. 

Goethe University is boosting its particularly energy-efficient mainframe power within the framework of the National High-Performance Computing (NHR) South-West consortium. Official rankings show that "Goethe NHR" ranks second among Germany's most energy-efficient mainframe computers, and holds sixth position nationally when it comes to speed. The mainframe is also a frontrunner in the worldwide "Green 500" ranking, where it stands at ninth place. The result is particularly remarkable considering the much lower investment volume compared to other mainframes, as well as the fact that both students and doctoral candidates have played and continue to play a vital role in the project's success. 

Goethe University has been a member of the NHR South-West consortium since October 2021. Set up at the suggestion of the Joint Science Conference of the federal and state governments (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz, GWK), the consortium also includes Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), the RPTU Kaiserslautern-Landau technical university of the federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, and Saarland University. Developed by Prof. Dr. Volker Lindenstruth, the technology for energy-saving high-performance computers already received financial support from the state of Hesse in the past, including one million euros from the Innovation Fund and 850,000 euros from the LOEWE research funding program [known by its German acronym, LOEWE stands for Hesse's state offensive for the development of scientific and economic excellence]. 

"The updated 'Goethe NHR' strengthens our university's position within the NHR network," says Lindenstruth, who heads Goethe University's "Architecture of High-Performance Computers" working group. Lindenstruth is one of Germany's most renowned experts on the optimization and energy efficiency of mainframe computers. In the past 10 years, computers designed by him often held top positions in both national and international rankings of the most energy-efficient supercomputers, published every six months. 

"By upgrading the former Goethe HLR computer to the significantly more powerful Goethe NHR, we are opening up new research possibilities for scientific users nationwide within the framework of the NHR South West consortium. The fact that we ended up building one of Germany's most energy-efficient HPC computers is a particular highlight, especially considering the necessary transformation to sustainable systems and the high energy costs," says Prof. Dr. Thorsten Kollegger, professor of Green IT at Goethe University, and head of the Center for Scientific Computing, which operates the university's HPC systems. 

Goethe University President Prof. Dr. Enrico Schleiff congratulated Lindenstruth and Kollegger on their success in sustainably optimizing mainframes: "Thanks to the outstanding efforts of this work group, Goethe University is a pioneer in the field of green mainframes in Germany and beyond. It is remarkable how, time and again, Volker Lindenstruth and his team succeed in reaching top national and international rankings with the computers they design. When it comes to providing the most efficient and sustainably produced computing power for research, Goethe University is very well positioned – both within the NHR consortium and within Germany. Our partners in the NHR computing network also benefit from this unique knowhow. It's nice to see students and early career researchers involved in this success – further proof of the excellent work of this working group's young scientists." 

The "Goethe NHR" mainframe computer, which Lindenstruth and his team have now significantly renewed, and which is located in the Frankfurt-Hoechst Industrial Park, is based on the tried and tested, but significantly refined intelligent networking and individual optimization technology of 880 AMD MI210 graphics cards. This allows powerful mainframes to be built in a particularly cost-effective and energy-efficient manner. 

Facts and figures
Computing power: 9.087 PFlop/s with 105 nodes at 195.24 kW
Computing efficiency: 46.5 GigaFlops/W (floating point operations per watt of computing power per second) 

Germany's National High Performance Computing Alliance (Verbund des Nationalen Hochleistungsrechnen, NHR)
Powerful supercomputers are becoming increasingly important in science and research. Faced with handling complex and vast amounts of data, researchers across a wide range of disciplines are more dependent than ever on high-performance computers. Nowadays, a growing number of research questions, including in medicine, physics or chemistry, can only be answered using large computing capacities and intelligent applications. That is why, in 2018, the federal and state governments decided to establish a Germany-wide National High Performance Computing Alliance, tasked with bundling and further expanding the existing strengths of high-performance computing centers in a national network. The setting up of a coordinated alliance was a direct response to rising demand for high-performance computing, to enable university researchers across Germany to access the computing capacities they need, irrespective of their individual location and in line with their requirements. 

The NHR also aims to further develop and better coordinate the specialized and methodological strengths of high-performance computing centers. At the same time, training courses and advanced training offered at the nine NHR centers will introduce more researchers to high-performance computing, strengthen the skills of high-performance computing systems' users, and promote young talent with a view towards fully exploiting the potential of high-performance computing and strengthening Germany as a location for research and innovation. The NHR has been endowed with a total of 625 million euros over a 10-year funding period.

Editor: Dr. Olaf Kaltenborn, Goethe University Press Spokesperson, E-mail:; Tel: +49 (0)69 798 13035


May 26 2023

International research teams led by Goethe University Frankfurt and Jena University Hospital find mechanisms involved in regulation of structure and function of endoplasmic reticulum

When the cell digests itself: How inherited neurodegenerative diseases develop

Our cells are crisscrossed by a system of membrane tubes and pockets called the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). It is crucial for the production of biomolecules and is continuously built up and degraded. Degradation, known as ER-phagy, is promoted by the protein ubiquitin, which controls many processes in the cell. If the proteins involved in ER-phagy are defective, neurodegenerative diseases result. This has been discovered by an international research team led by Goethe University Frankfurt (as part of the EMTHERA research cluster) and Jena University Hospital and published in two papers in the renowned journal Nature.

FRANKFURT. A tangle of pockets, tubes and sac-like membrane structures runs through the cells of humans, animals, plants and fungi: the endoplasmic reticulum, or ER for short. In the ER, proteins are manufactured, folded into their three-dimensional structure and modified, lipids and hormones are produced and calcium concentrations in the cell are controlled. In addition, the ER forms the basis for the cellular transport system, feeds misfolded proteins to intracellular disposal and renders toxins that have entered the cell harmless.

In view of its multiple tasks, the ER is constantly being remodeled. A process called ER-phagy (roughly “self-digestion of the ER") is responsible for ER degradation. Involved is a group of signal-receiving proteins – receptors – that are responsible for the membrane curvatures of the ER and thus for its multiple forms in the cell. In ER-phagy, the receptors accumulate at specific sites on the ER and increase membrane curvature to such an extent that, as a consequence, part of the ER is strangulated and broken down into its component parts by cellular recycling structures (autophagosomes).

In cell culture experiments, biochemical and molecular biological studies, and by computer simulations, the scientific team led by Professor Ivan Đikić of Goethe University Frankfurt first tested the membrane curvature receptor FAM134B and demonstrated that ubiquitin promotes and stabilizes the formation of clusters of FAM134B protein in the ER membrane. Thus, ubiquitin drives ER-phagy. Đikić explains: “Ubiquitin causes the FAM134B clusters to become more stable and the ER to bulge out more at these sites. The stronger membrane curvature then leads to further stabilization of the clusters and, moreover, attracts additional membrane curvature proteins. So the effect of ubiquitin is self-reinforcing." The researchers were also able to detect cluster formation using super-high resolution microscopy.

Đikić continues: “To fulfill this function, ubiquitin changes the shape of part of the FAM134B protein. This is another facet of ubiquitin that performs an almost unbelievable array of tasks to keep all different cell functions working."

The importance of ER-phagy is demonstrated by diseases resulting from a defective FAM134B protein. A team led by Professor Christian Hübner from Jena University Hospital previously identified mutations in the FAM134B gene causing a very rare hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN), in which sensory nerves die. As a result, patients are unable to perceive pain and temperature correctly, which can lead to incorrect stresses or injuries going unnoticed and developing into chronic wounds. In a long-standing collaboration between Jena University Hospital and Goethe University Frankfurt FAM134B was identified as the first receptor for ER-phagy.

Mutations in another membrane curvature protein called ARL6IP1 cause a similar neurodegenerative disorder which combines sensory defects with muscle hardening (spasticity) in the legs. The scientific team led by Christian Hübner and Ivan Đikić has now identified that ARL6IP1 belongs to the ER-phagy machinery as well and is also ubiquitinated during ER-phagy.

Christian Hübner explains: “In mice that do not possess the ARL6IP1 protein, we can see that the ER virtually expands and degenerates as the cells age. This leads to an accumulation of misfolded proteins or protein clumps, which are no longer disposed of in the cell. As a result, nerve cells in particular, which do not renew as quickly as other body cells, die, causing the clinical symptoms in affected patients and genetically modified mice. We hypothesize from our data that the two membrane curvature receptors FAM134B and ARL6IP1 form mixed clusters during ER-phagy and depend on each other to control normal size and function of ER. Additional work will be required to fully acknowledge the role of ER-phagy in neurons as well as in other cell types."

Overall, however, the research teams have taken a decisive step toward understanding ER-phagy, Đikić is convinced: “We now understand better how cells control their functions and thus create something we call cellular homeostasis. In biology, this knowledge allows fascinating insights into the incredible achievements of our cells, and for medicine it is essential for understanding diseases, diagnosing them on time and helping patients by developing new therapies. "

Scientists from the following institutions were involved in the work: 

  • Goethe University Frankfurt 
  • Jena University Hospital 
  • Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, Frankfurt
  • Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried 
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Translational Medicine and Pharmacology, Frankfurt, Germany 
  • University Hospital RWTH Aachen
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute, San Diego, La Jolla, Calif. 
  • University of Groningen 
  • Aarhus University

Background information:
EMTHERA research cluster: Emerging strategies against infections, inflammation, and impaired immune mechanisms

Collaborative Research Center (SFB 1177) "Molecular and functional characterization of selective autophagy". 

Frankfurt scientists discover new molecular mechanisms that eliminate intracellular damages – Mutations in this pathway trigger neurodegenerative diseases (2015)


1) Alexis González, Adriana Covarrubias-Pinto, Ramachandra M. Bhaskara, Marius Glogger, Santosh K. Kuncha, Audrey Xavier, Eric Seemann, Mohit Misra, Marina E. Hoffmann, Bastian Bräuning, Ashwin Balakrishnan, Britta Qualmann, Volker Dötsch, Brenda A. Schulman, Michael M. Kessels, Christian A. Hübner, Mike Heilemann, Gerhard Hummer, Ivan Dikic: Ubiquitination regulates ER-phagy and remodeling of endoplasmic reticulum. Nature (2023) 

2) Hector Foronda, Yangxue Fu, Adriana Covarrubias-Pinto, Hartmut T. Bocker, Alexis González, Eric Seemann, Patricia Franzka, Andrea Bock, Ramachandra M. Bhaskara, Lutz Liebmann, Marina E. Hoffmann, Istvan Katona, Nicole Koch, Joachim Weis, Ingo Kurth, Joseph G. Gleeson, Fulvio Reggiori, Gerhard Hummer, Michael M. Kessels, Britta Qualmann, Muriel Mari, Ivan Dikić, Christian A. Hübner: Heteromeric 1 clusters of ubiquitinated ER-shaping proteins drive ER-phagy. Nature (2023)

Images for download:

ER-Phagy: Part of the ER is strangulated and broken down into its component parts by autophagosomes Researchers in Frankfurt and Jena have now deciphered how the disturbed recycling chain of the endoplasmic reticulum can cause neurodegenerative diseases. Graphics: Manja Schiefer 

Membrane curvature proteines cluster in ER membrane
A super-high resolution microscopy technique reveals how FAM134B proteins assemble into clusters after stimulation of ER-phagy in the endoplasmic reticulum. Photos: Gonzáles et al., Nature (2023)

Further information 

Prof. Dr. Ivan Ðikić
Institute of Biochemistry II,Goethe University Frankfurt and Buchmann Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Tel: +49 (0) 69 6301-5964
Twitter: @iDikic2 @goetheuni

Prof. Dr. Christian Hübner
Institute of Human Genetics and Center for Rare Diseases University Hospital Jena
Tel. +49 3641 9-396800
Twitter: @UKJ_Jena


Apr 11 2023

Extension for the looted property project at Frankfurt University Library: 349 looted volumes identified to date

Virtual 360° Tour of Looted Property Exhibition to Mark International Provenance Research Day

The exhibition "StolperSeiten – NS-Raubgut in der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main" (“Stumbling Pages – NS looted property in the Frankfurt University Library") will be made available online as a virtual 360° tour on Provenance Research Day, which falls on April 12, 2023 this year. The exhibit is based on a project funded by the German Lost Art Foundation (Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste) as part of which the library is researching books in its inventory that can be attributed to persecutees of the Nazi era. The extension is the direct result of comparatively frequent finds, with the project now running until November 2024. There have already been several restitutions to Jewish and other organizations. 

"StolperSeiten" (Stumbling Pages) was the title of a much-noticed 2022 exhibition at the library on Nazi looted property at the Frankfurt University Library (“NS-Raubgut in der Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main"). This exhibition is now open again, but in the form of a virtual 360° tour. It spans the historical framework that led to the looting of hundreds of thousands of cultural assets in Germany and Europe from 1933 onwards. With its focus on the city of Frankfurt, and the city's libraries in particular, the exhibit addresses the role libraries played in the organized looting and how they profited from it, pointing out many concrete cases of injustice. In addition, the use of partially interactive elements also makes the work of contemporary provenance researchers more accessible. 

The online exhibit was designed as part of a project run by “fuels – Future Learning Spaces". Funded by the Hessian Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts, the joint project of Goethe University, Darmstadt Technical University and Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences aims to bring innovative technologies such as 360°, augmented and virtual reality into the university landscape. For more information, visit: 

Project to identify looted National Socialist property
In November 2020, Frankfurt University Library's (UB JCS) Provenance Research team started a project to identify looted National Socialist property in a first sub-collection comprising around 80,000 volumes. The search focuses on so-called "cultural property seized as a result of persecution", i.e. books that were looted or extorted from persecuted persons or institutions during the Nazi era. Commenting on the motives for researching Nazi looted property in the library, UB JCS director Daniela Poth says: "We consider it a moral obligation to uncover the injustice committed during the Nazi era and to document it in public, even if this does not make up for it. That is something university management, library management and project management all agree on." The project at Goethe University's UB JCS is sponsored by the German Lost Art Foundation. In addition, given the fact that many of the affected books are on permanent loan at the UB JCS but historically belong to the municipality, the city of Frankfurt is also providing a subsidy for the project costs. 

Following the approval for an extension – itself based on the comparatively high number of finds – the project will now run until November 2024, and therefore already passed its halftime mark a few months ago. Time for an interim assessment. To date, almost 40,000 volumes have been individually checked on the shelf for any references to previous owners. This has turned out to be the case in an unusually high percentage of about 39%. As a result, more than 15,000 volumes have had to be examined more closely to clarify whether the suspicion of looted property is merited. Such an initial suspicion exists for over 3,800 books. Another 200 books have met with strong suspicion, whereas 349 books have been confirmed as cases of looted property. However, the project team's work does not end with the investigation into actual numbers or with the documentation of these cases on UB JCS' freely accessible search portal. For all confirmed cases of looted property, the project staff also researches the existence of descendants or successor institutions. If this search, which can be very complex, is successful, the library contacts the potential restitution recipients and clarifies whether they desire a return, or would prefer another "fair and just solution". 

The fact that it took some time after the start of the project before the first restitutions could be both prepared and carried out illustrates just how time-consuming research and coordination are. Within the last six months, three books were restituted to the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, one book to the Jewish Religious Community of Baden and eight volumes to the Minerva Lodge of the Three Palms in Leipzig. Corresponding references to these volumes are available in the library's search portal – as virtual "StolperSeiten". Further restitutions are in the preparatory stage and expected to be completed during the course of the year. 

Further information: Dr. Mathias Jehn, Head of the Department "Curating Subject Information Mediation", J. C. Senckenberg University Library, Bockenheimer Landstraße 134-138, 60325 Frankfurt, Tel: +49 (69) 798 39007, Mail: 

Contact for general press inquiries: Bernhard Wirth, Staff Development and Public Relations of the Library, Tel. +49 (69) 798 39223; Mail:

Editor: Dr. Dirk Frank, Press Officer, PR & Communication Office, Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 1, 60323 Frankfurt am Main, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13753,