Resource Efficiency and Rare Minerals: CSZ Breakthroughs Programme Issues New Call

Up to €5 million is offered to institutions of higher education in Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia to develop innovative approaches to resource efficiency with a focus on problematic raw materials.

Within the framework of the CZS Breakthroughs (CZS Durchbrüche) programme, Carl Zeiss Stiftung (CZS – Carl Zeiss Foundation) funds top international research. The programme is designed to help universities advance and expand their identified research strengths (inter)nationally. It aims at enabling universities to implement innovative, scientifically promising concepts. Funded projects are intended to lead to internationally competitive research results.

The topic of the current call is: Resource Efficiency – Fair Raw Materials for New Technologies.

The thematic focus of the call is on research into the substitution or reduction of problematic raw materials such as rare earths and conflict minerals. Proposals are accepted across the entire spectrum from basic to application-oriented research.

Projects are expected to explore concepts for the reduction, substitution, recycling and more efficient extraction of problematic raw materials to advance careful and efficient resource use. The research questions addressed should contribute to creating the preconditions for a comprehensive closed-loop economy

The knowledge generated in the funding projects should be made useable for businesses and society through suitable methods. Important aspects are therefore the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature of the research and the transfer of research results through the involvement of suitable (industry) partners.

The following institutions of higher education can apply for this programme:

  • Baden-Württemberg: Freiburg, Heidelberg, KIT, Konstanz and Stuttgart
  • Rhineland-Palatinate: RPTU and Mainz ((max. two applications), Koblenz (max. one application per university).
  • Thuringa: Ilmenau and Jena (max. two applications per university), Weimar (max. one application).

An applying university can also submit a joint application with other scientific institutions (universities, colleges or non-university research institutions) from the three funding states. Joint applications with governmental or non-profit research institutions in other federal states, foreign research institutions and non-scientific non-profit institutions are also possible.

Eligible are research proposals from the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Funding can be requested for up to a total of €5 million. The funding period is five to six years.

The scheme comprises a two-stage application process. Initially, interested institutions submit a mandatory letter of intent (LOI). This is then followed by the submission of the full application.

The deadline for the submission of Letters of Intent is 6 October 2023.

(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)