FWF approves Cluster of Excellence with CeMESS lead

Cluster of Excellence "Microbiomes drive Planetary Health"

A research consortium led by Michael Wagner, deputy head of CeMESS, was selected in the competitive excellence program of the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) as one of five Austrian Clusters of Excellence (CoE). Under the title “Microbiomes Drive Planetary Health”, 30 principal investigators – including 18 CeMESS researchers – from seven Austrian research institutions are pooling their competencies and will establish an Austrian School of Microbiome Science. 

“We are extremely glad that we are given 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 with our endeavour,” says Michael Wagner, Scientific Director of the Cluster. Here, the University of Vienna cooperates 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 goal of the consortium is to understand environmentally and host-associated microbiomes functionally and mechanistically in order to identify and predict better the many services they provide and to be able to influence them - in the interest of planetary health - more efficiently. In order to be able to achieve this transformative goal, the Cluster of Excellence aims at exploiting new synergies by dissolving the boundaries between environmental and medical microbiome research in Austria.

The Cluster of Excellence (CoE) “Microbiomes Drive Planetary Health” receives 21 million Euros from the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) for the initial funding period of five years. In addition, 14 Mio Euros will be provided by the seven participating research institutions as fresh or recently invested money.  The CoE will start its work in summer/autumn 2023 and there will be many opportunities for master- and PhD-students as well as for PostDocs to join the team. An interim evaluation of the cluster will take place after five years. If the result is positive, the cluster will be funded for five more years.