FWF approves Cluster of Excellence with CeMESS lead


A research consortium led by Michael Wagner, deputy head of CeMESS, has been successful in the Austrian Science Fund's (FWF) competitive excellence programme. Under the heading "Microbiomes Drive Planetary Health", 30 principal investigators - including 18 CeMESS researchers - from seven Austrian research institutions are pooling their expertise. Together, they will address the most pressing and fundamental questions in microbiome research. Based on this knowledge, they aim to significantly advance the understanding of global change and develop solutions for a sustainable future.

"We are delighted to have the opportunity to combine and further develop microbiome research and research on planetary health, two of the most important research areas of the 21st century," says Michael Wagner, scientific director of the cluster. The University of Vienna is working with the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT), the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA), the Medical University of Graz, the Austrian Academy of Sciences with the Research Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM), the TU Vienna and the Johannes Kepler University Linz. The aim of the consortium is to gain a functional and mechanistic understanding of environmental and host-associated microbiomes, in order to better identify the many services they provide and to more efficiently manipulate them for the benefit of planetary health. To achieve this transformative goal, the Cluster of Excellence aims to exploit new synergies by breaking down the boundaries between environmental and medical microbiome research in Austria.

The Cluster of Excellence (CoE) "Microbiomes Drive Planetary Health" will receive €21 million in funding from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) over five years. The FWF will provide 60% of the funding for the individual clusters, with the remaining 40% coming from the participating research institutions' own funds. The CoE will start its work in summer/autumn 2023.