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New insights from research and more transfer to the commercial sector – the RESOLV cluster of excellence of TU Dortmund University and Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) can look back on a successful 2019. The outlook for its 2020 targets is also very promising – something which Professor Andreas Pinkwart, Minister for Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitalization and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia, was also able to learn about at the RESOLV New Year’s reception on 30 January at TU Dortmund University.
Within the cluster of excellence, the research teams in Dortmund and Bochum are working on decoding the role of solvents in chemical reactions, industrial operations, and biological processes. The cluster is engaged in basic research and has defined new and immediate goals for the commercial sector: “In 2019 we began campaigning more extensively for the rapid transfer of basic research into practice – for example in the field of renewable energies,” said Professor Martina Havenith, RESOLV’s spokesperson, at the cluster of excellence’s New Year’s reception.
From basic research to application in practice
Since it is more difficult for start-up entrepreneurs in the chemical sector to set up a business than in other fields – for example because of a lack of infrastructure – RESOLV launched the “Start4Chem” incubator last year, which also enjoys the support of the federal state. In the framework of the “Exzellenz Start-up Center.NRW” program, the regional government is supporting start-up initiatives at RUB and TU Dortmund University with funds amounting to around € 35 million. “RESOLV is pioneering in interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration, technology transfer, and exchange of students,” said Professor Andreas Pinkwart, NRW’s Minister for Economic Affairs. “By linking excellent research and long-term support for start-ups, the two universities are sending out an important signal for the future of the region as a business location and the enhanced innovation capacity to be found in the Ruhr region.”
The new “Start4Chem” incubator is part of the Start-up Center.NRW in Bochum and affiliated to RESOLV. Professor Kristina Tschulik, its initiator, has already begun a series of lectures that familiarize students and doctoral researchers with the necessary know-how and steps required to set up a business. “RESOLV offers doctoral researchers a special environment for entrepreneurship and initial assistance for starting their own company,” says Havenith.
Chemistry under extreme conditions
One of RESOLV’s core research priorities is chemistry under extreme conditions: At low temperatures in space, for example, or high pressure in the deep sea. Here, researchers want to explain how the first cell-like structures formed under past conditions as well as how more complex chemical molecules formed in space. In total, the researchers in the cluster have authored over 1,300 publications since 2012, of which more than 230 have been produced in cooperation between at least two RESOLV groups.
New research building, new school project
In the coming years, the whole cluster could profit from a new research building which will hopefully be built at TU Dortmund University: The team led by Professor Gabriele Sadowski, Prorector Research at TU Dortmund University and researcher in the RESOLV cluster, is pushing on this year with the application for the new “Center for Advanced Liquid-Phase Engineering Dortmund (CALEDO)”.
RESOLV is also starting on a new project in 2020 aimed at making solvation research known in schools too and at awakening school students’ interest in research from an early stage. In the “Solvation Science at School” project, older high school students will deal with topics such as sustainable energy in their term papers.
The national and regional governments have supported the RESOLV cluster of excellence since 2012; the second funding period for the research alliance began in 2019. Speaker universities are TU Dortmund University and RUB. Up until 2025, the consortium will receive about € 42 million from the Excellence Strategy. RESOLV is the acronym for “Ruhr Explores Solvation”. The team comprises over 200 researchers at six different locations in the Ruhr region. Together with 20 international partners worldwide, they want to understand the role of solvents in the control, mediation, and regulation of chemical reactions. After all, the majority of chemical reactions, important industrial operations, and almost all biological processes take place in the liquid phase.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is "Dortmund-Eichlinghofen" (closer to Campus Süd), and from B 1 / A 40 "Dortmund-Dorstfeld" (closer to Campus Nord). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from Campus Nord to Campus Süd by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at Campus Nord and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station ("Dortmund Universität"). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station ("Dortmund Hauptbahnhof") and Düsseldorf main station via the "Düsseldorf Airport Train Station" (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station "Stadtgarten", usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At "Stadtgarten" you switch trains and get on line U42 towards "Hombruch". Look out for the Station "An der Palmweide". From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop "Dortmund Kampstraße". From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop "Dortmund Wittener Straße". Switch to bus line 447 and get off at "Dortmund Universität S".
Dortmund Airport offers flights to several destinations in Central Europe. There are regular connections to Katowice, Kraków, London and Munich. For the approximately 20km-trip from Dortmund Airport to TU Dortmund University, you can use a shuttle bus to the railway Station "Bahnhof Holzwickede", from which trains depart to Dortmund main station (please visit Verkehrsverbund Rhein-Ruhr for more information). Normally, the fastest way is to catch a taxi at Dortmund Airport.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on Campus Nord. One ("Dortmund Universität S") is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the "Technologiepark" and (via Campus Süd) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at Campus Nord and offers a direct connection to Campus Süd every five minutes.