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University of Fribourg

University of Fribourg

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86 Projects, page 1 of 18
  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 803332
    Overall Budget: 1,492,780 EURFunder Contribution: 1,492,780 EUR

    Power relations are an integral part of economic organizations, as well as political and social institutions. People exercise power over others – or are exposed to the power of others – in government, in firms, and even in families. People care deeply about power and autonomy, and attitudes towards them have important economic and societal consequences. Examples include such diverse matters as the willingness to delegate power to government, empire building in public organizations, or sorting into more or less autonomous jobs. Despite their importance, we have remarkably little knowledge about preferences for power and autonomy. Clearly, power and autonomy are valued for being instrumental in achieving desirable outcomes, but it has also long been argued that they are valuable for their own sake. Existing value measures of power and autonomy, however, fail to distinguish between intrinsic and instrumental value components. Power distance and autonomy are even considered to be cultural values, but we don’t know whether differences in such measures are rooted in differences in the instrumental value or differences in preferences. We propose a novel revealed preference approach that allows us to address this shortcoming by separately measuring the intrinsic value of power and the intrinsic value of autonomy. We can then apply this method to properly assess heterogeneity in such values within and across cultures. By combining our measures with other data, we will be able to study the importance of such preferences in explaining individual differences, such as occupational choices or expressed political views, as well as economic outcomes across countries, such as the level of decentralization in economic organizations. Finally, we will study how behavioral reactions to power interact with such preferences and organizational structure, in order to better understand how institutions can be efficiently designed when behavioral reactions to power are accounted for.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 818994
    Overall Budget: 1,989,180 EURFunder Contribution: 1,989,180 EUR

    Meltwater running off the flanks of the Greenland ice sheet contributes roughly 60% to its mass loss, the rest being due to calving. Only meltwater originating from below the elevation of the runoff limit leaves the ice sheet, contributing to mass loss; melt at higher elevations refreezes in the porous firn and does not drive mass loss. Therefore any shift in the runoff limit modifies mass loss and subsequent sea level rise. New evidence shows surface runoff at increasingly high elevations, outpacing the rate at which the equilibrium line elevation rises. This research proposal focuses on the runoff limit as a powerful yet poorly understood modulator of Greenland mass balance. We will track the runoff limit over the full satellite era using two of the largest and oldest remote sensing archives, Landsat and the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). We will establish time series of the runoff limit for all regions of Greenland to identify the mechanisms driving fluctuations in the runoff limit. This newly gained process understanding and a wealth of in-situ measurements will then be used to build firn hydrology models capable of simulating runoff and the associated runoff limit over time. Eventually, the firn hydrology models will be applied to reconcile estimates of Greenland past, present and future mass balance. Covering the entire satellite era and all of Greenland, the focus on the runoff limit will constitute a paradigm shift leading to major advance in our understanding of how vulnerable the surface of the ice sheet reacts to climate change and how the changing surface impacts runoff and thus Greenland's role in the global sea level budget.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 841005
    Overall Budget: 203,149 EURFunder Contribution: 203,149 EUR

    As the world population grows, the total energy demanded increases, despite the limited reserves of fossil energy. Energy sources based on new technologies, such as the photovoltaic cells, emerged as a sustainable and environmentally clean option. However, given that silicon, the base material for most of these cells, fails to absorb the energy of the entire solar spectrum, one interesting option to increase device efficiencies is to produce stacks of complementing cells, thus taking advantage of the full solar spectrum. Tandems of Si and novel perovskite cells are a feasible alternative and can be synthesized from cheap materials. On the other hand, the main requirements of industry are low cost, high throughput and process reliability. Thus, processing techniques and materials should be selected bearing in mind a compromise between cost reduction, acceptable efficiencies and process yield. The aim of this project is to obtain the best suited Transparent Conductive Oxides (TCO), as well as the most appropriate synthesis and deposition methods for their implementation in tandem Si/perovskite cells, substituting other layers whose use would involve scarce/strategic materials or difficult and/or expensive processes. The result should be a more robust process, which helps to close the gap between laboratory devices and the future mass production cells.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 706329
    Overall Budget: 187,420 EURFunder Contribution: 187,420 EUR

    Metamaterials are artificially structured materials whose interaction with electromagnetic waves is determined by their structure rather than by their chemical composition. The resulting material properties are not found in nature. Metamaterials that operate at optical frequencies, known as optical metamaterials, have attracted special attention due to their potentially ground-breaking technical applications such as sub-diffraction imaging or invisibility cloaking. The creation of optical metamaterials remains technologically challenging, as it requires fabricating nanometre scale features over macroscopic areas. Top-down lithographic techniques were utilized to create infrared metamaterials, and negative refraction was found in parts of the visible spectrum. However, state-of-the-art lithography is limited by the accessible feature sizes and often results in only microscopic patterning areas. Furthermore, these optical metamaterials aren’t truly three-dimensional (3D) as they are limited to a narrow range of light propagation directions. This research project will investigate an alternative bottom-up approach toward the fabrication of 3D optical metamaterials by replicating continuous network structures of self-assembled block copolymers. The ultimate goal is to realize a material that exhibits a negative refractive index in the visible optical spectrum. Advanced in situ scattering techniques will be used to investigate the self-assembly of 3D network structures by means of well-controlled annealing experiments. This will provide important insights that will help to overcome the limitations of “self-assembled” optical metamaterials made by current empirical approaches. The significance of this research stems from the intended fundamental understanding of self-assembled 3D block copolymer networks based on in-situ structural characterization, which will have a profound impact on the rational design and engineering strategies of future 3D optical metamaterials.

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  • Funder: European Commission Project Code: 889031
    Overall Budget: 203,149 EURFunder Contribution: 203,149 EUR

    MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are potential biomarkers for cancer diagnosis, prognosis and treatment monitoring. Specific detection and absolute quantification of miRNAs is of clinical relevance for early cancer detection and monitoring progression. The currently available techniques for miRNA detection based on DNA amplification are limited by lack of absolute quantification, low multiplexing capacity and time consumption. Here, I propose to develop a miRNA assay system based on self-assembled nanoscale DNA origami arrays (miRanDa) for the simultaneous detection of multiple miRNA targets from breast cancer cells and plasma by using DNA-PAINT, state-of-art super resolution technique. The formation of specifically configured finite 2D lattices of self-assembled DNA origami structures based on sticky-end hybridization will further improve the capacity of the detection system beyond the currently available techniques. This assay can be further developed and adapted to the rapid, specific, sensitive and multiple detection of additional nucleic acid species, such as ctDNA, mRNA or lncRNA.

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