CeMOS research center looks back on a successful first year

With the introduction of transdisciplinary, cross-faculty Centre of Excellence, the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences has paved a new, innovative way to increase research effectiveness. The aim was to bundle activities within the research areas more effectively. The Center for Mass Spectrometry and Optical Spectroscopy (CeMOS), supervised by Prof. Dr. Carsten Hopf and Prof. Dr. Matthias Rädle, was established in January 2018 by combining the two most productive research groups at Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. The merger will generate synergies between mass spectrometry and the development of optical instuments in order to create new starting points for application-oriented projects with cooperation partners from both industry and academia.

After one year, CeMOS is already able to present considerable. Third party funding totaling €3 million has been raised for the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, which will be used to finance research projects until 2022. This makes CeMOS, in terms of third party funding, the most successful organizational unit of the universities of applied sciences in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

The flagship project "Transfer Centre for Digitisation in the Healthcare Industry (Digi-FIT)" was the first CeMOS-spanning project to be promoted by the CeMOS directors and Prof. Rüdiger Rudolf (Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology). Furthermore, CeMOS was awarded the contract for the first international ZIM project at a university. "Thanks to ePCM, we were able to start a Franco-German development project at the university. This is a milestone in the research strategy at our university with two Franco-German degree courses," says a delighted project manager Prof. Matthias Rädle.

The new EU Horizon 2020 mass spectrometry project "EU Openscreen DRIVE", in which CeMOS will conduct research with almost 30 renowned international partners such as the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, or the Weizmann Institute, Israel, will further contribute to internationalization of CeMOS and the university.

Since the inception of the center, all existing research activities of the groups have been seamlessly integrated into the CeMOS organisational structure. This has enabled CeMOS in the past twelve months to make scientific findings accessible to the public through 20 publications and 22 presentations to specialist committees and conferences. The CeMOS staff's wealth of ideas also led to seven patent applications and two successfully completed doctoral degrees. The Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology e.V. (DECHEMA) honored the work of Dr. Robert Schalk as the best dissertation of the year in the field of Process Analytical Technology. Dr. Jan-Hinrich Rabe was selected by the German and French mass spectrometry societies to present his highly acclaimed dissertation in a keynote lecture at the European Mass Spectrometry Conference. By expanding the existing cooperation with universities, CeMOS was able to secure the concept of collaborative doctorates for the next few years.

The partnership for innovation " Multimodal Analytics and Intelligent Sensorics for the Healthcare Industry " (M2Aind) of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences and its industry partner Bruker Daltonics organised an international symposium called "MALDI Innovations in Pharma", where CeMOS was responsible for organizing the conference content. The university was thus able to welcome more than 100 speakers and participants, mainly from industry, including GlaxoSmithKline (USA and UK), Bruker, Roche (Basel), Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck, Analytik Jena, AstraZeneca (UK), Inserm (Rennes, France) and Imabiotech (France).

In addition to the academic research activities, a number of industry projects were handled by a collaboration partner of CeMOS, the Steinbeis company "Intelligent Industrial Solutions”. As a result, it was possible to reinvest € 50,000 into the center's furnishings and equipment in 2018, which will be available to the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences for future projects and teaching purposes.

"Many exciting projects and activities are already planned for 2019, which will further sharpen CeMOS' research profile," explains Prof. Carsten Hopf. In February, the international Spring School "Lattice Boltzmann Methods" will take place at the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences. The event is organized by CeMOS in cooperation with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).