2022 St Andrews-Bonn Collaborative Research Grants Programme: Awarded Projects

Harriet Sheridan
Thursday 27 January 2022

Now in its second year of operation, the St Andrew-Bonn Collaborative Research Grants programme continues to strengthen and expand the historic partnership between the University of St Andrews and the University of Bonn by jointly funding innovative and sustainable research projects.

The programme promotes close collaboration between researchers at both institutions, with a view towards developing fruitful and long-lasting research partnerships. Applications are welcome from across all disciplines; projects that align with St Andrews’ interdisciplinary research priorities and Bonn’s transdisciplinary research areas are particularly encouraged. Funded research projects take place over 24 months and involve a range of activities including seminars, conferences, workshops, online events, preparation of large-scale funding applications and joint publications.

The selection committees at both St Andrews and Bonn awarded funding to three projects in this call of the programme due to the outstanding quality and diversity of the proposals submitted. The St Andrews PIs of the successful projects include Dr Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood (School of Geography and Sustainable Development); Dr Isobel Falconer (School of Mathematics and Statistics); and Professor Graham Smith (School of Physics and Astronomy).

‘Maritime governance and irregular migration from the Gulf of Guinea to Europe: analyzing the (un)intended consequences of the European Union’s engagement’

“Our shared project focuses on the intended and unintended effects of different EU policies on irregular migration from countries along the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) to Europe. It specifically explores the relationship between maritime governance, security initiatives, and irregular migration.

This partnership grant that was awarded to us in December 2021 will facilitate cooperation with Prof. Dr Anna-Katharina Hornidge and Dr Niels Keijzer, who are associated with St Andrews’ partner University in Bonn, Germany. Our joint team avails of strong intersectoral and applied research strengths. In addition to contributing to ongoing academic and policy debates on the topic concerned, we will also use the research project to prepare a large-scale funding application to further operationalise and advance this collaborative research agenda.” – Dr Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood, School of Geography and Sustainable Development 


‘The Gravitational Constant 1890-1915 – From the Local to the Universal’

“The gravitational constant, G, is the most widely recognised fundamental constant in popular culture. Yet how it gained its status as core to Einstein’s theory of general relativity in 1915 is a mystery – for only 30 years earlier it had been a controversial innovation in physics.

This award will allow historians of mathematics and science at St Andrews to meet with experts on the philosophy of Einstein’s work from Bonn, for in depth discussions and to conduct work in archives stretching from Eastern Europe to North America. This exciting collaboration will lay the ground for further work into understanding G and its role within physics.” – Dr Isobel Falconer, School of Mathematics and Statistics


‘High Sensitivity Techniques to Probe Conformational Changes in Biomolecules with Spatio-Temporal Resolution in vitro and in cell’

The ‘High Sensitivity Techniques to Probe Conformational Changes in Biomolecules with Spatio-Temporal Resolution in vitro and in cell’ project links together three research groups from St Andrews: Smith (Physics), Lovett (Physics) and Bode (Chemistry) and four research groups from Bonn:  Schiemann (Chemistry), Kaupp (Medicine and Life Sciences),  Paeschke (Oncology), Klieb (Chemistry). It provides funding for travel between the centres over two years that will enhance multiple ongoing and proposed research programs at both universities. 

“The added value provided by the St Andrews/Bonn partnership program will be huge.  Both sets of groups have essentially the same global research aims in developing high sensitivity magnetic-resonance based techniques to characterise and understand biomolecules structure, dynamics and interactions. However, all research groups have strongly complementary skill sets, and this collaboration will give access to unique instruments, facilities, samples, and techniques that would otherwise take many years and in some cases millions of pounds to replicate. This proposal will strongly enhance individual research programs, produce more (joint) publications, open up new opportunities for major research funding, whilst providing training and experience to multiple PhD and PDRAs across all seven groups. Everyone involved is genuinely excited about the potential.“ – Professor Graham Smith, School of Physics and Astronomy


2023 St Andrews-Bonn Collaborative Research Grants programme

The 2023 call of the St Andrews-Bonn Collaborative Research Grants programme is expected to launch later this semester. More information about the programme will be found on the CRG webpage or by contacting the Global Office at [email protected]

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