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Call for Proposals - open until 15 March, 2023

SynCom Projects 2023

SynCom welcomes applications for SynCom projects. SynCom is the overarching synthesis and communication platform for the research field 'Earth and Environment'. Here scientists study our planet comprehensively within nine Topics. SynCom aims to synthesize research results and build bridges across various disciplines in a cross-center and interdisciplinary manner. Functioning as an interface between science and society SynCom aims at supporting evidence-based climate and environment politics through delivering practical know-how.

SynCom projects are expected to enforce research activities between the different Helmholtz centers. SynCom supports the projects with a variety of synthesis and communication services (see Proposal Template: SynCom Toolbox). Projects, in return, should focus on their relevance for science and society. The call is open for projects with several participants comprising at least two Topics and two Helmholtz centers. Any researcher within the research field ‘Earth and Environment’ can apply. The average duration of a project is nine to twelve months. SynCom projects have an allocated budget for workshops and other events. However, there is no general funding. For further information, please see the proposal template. The SynCom Office offers guidance on the application process and evaluation.

After the submission deadline, the SynCom Advisory Board (AG SynCom) and the Program Board will recommend projects to be selected based on the proposal and the following evaluation criteria:

(1) integrative in terms of disciplines, Topics, centers, and Program Objectives,

(2) in the frame of ‘Changing Earth’,

(3) novel in terms of timeliness/demand and/or filling gaps in the research field Earth & Environment,

(3) feasible considering the timeline and the limited funds from the SynCom budget.

The Management Board will decide on the selection of the SynCom projects in its meeting on April 18, 2023. Projects are expected to start as soon as they have been informed of the selection. At least one representative from each SynCom project is expected to be present at the General Assembly 2023 and to present the topic and work program of the SynCom project to enable further scientists to contribute.

Submission deadline: 15 March 2023

Submit the proposal via email to Marie Heidenreich: Marie.heidenreich@gfz-potsdam.de                                                      

Open call: Submit your SynCom Project proposal

Download file

Download the proposal template for new SynCom projects here:


Upcoming Activities

SynCom Proposal Webinar - Q&A with Katja Matthes, Charlotte Krawczyk, and the SynCom team. To register, please email dankert@gfz-potsdam.de

PDF, 115 KB

March, 2023 - to register, please email mirjam.kaplow@gfz-potsdam.de

PDF, 110 KB


Our Mission

SynCom is the overarching synthesis and communication platform for the research field 'Earth and Environment', where scientists study our planet comprehensively within nine topics.

SynCom aims to synthesize research results and to build bridges across various disciplines in a cross-center and interdisciplinary manner.

Functioning as an interface between science and society, SynCom supports evidence-based climate and environmental politics by delivering practical know-how to stakeholders and politicians.

From workshops to political statements, SynCom creates tailor-made solutions for the Helmholtz research community as well as for stakeholders in the political field.


SynCom Projects can be proposed once a year by interested scientists within the Helmholtz society. A respective call for proposals will be published here - on the SynCom homepage - at the beginning of the year.

Varying groups of scientists from the centers work on SynCom projects for a limited period of time. Guiding principles are goal orientation and catering to target groups.

The three current projects are Cities and Climate Change, Digital Twins, and Early Warning for Natural Hazards. Please scroll down for further details.

© M. Langhans, AWI

Cities and Climate Change

The goal of this project is to provide integrated knowledge transfer in the area of urban transformation processes. With this, a strengthening of the consultancy services of the research field "Earth and Environment" takes place.

In this context, this project develops new services which support cities and communities in developing sustainable urban structures. Furthermore, it strives to verify the successful implementation of rural climate action plans.

In the long term, Cities and Climate Change will provide additional impact by making available new knowledge in cross-cutting education offers.

Core Scientists

Contact: Stefanie Dankert (SynCom Office: stefanie.dankert@gfz-potsdam.de)


Digital Twins

A Digital Twin of the Earth is an information system that exposes users to a digital replication of the state and temporal evolution of the Earth system constrained by available observations and the laws of physics.

Digital Twins can help to regionalize and visualize possible future scenarios depending on human actions. As such they can guide development options and spatial planning to future-proof the intertwined human and environmental systems. Digital Twins answer ‘what if’ questions.

This project group will gather ideas and thoughts on their modelling and Digital Twins research. The goal is to agree on a common definition of what a ”Digital Twin“ is within the Helmholtz Earth and Environment community.

Core Scientists

Contact: Stefanie Dankert (SynCom Office: stefanie.dankert@gfz-potsdam.de)

© Michael Dietze, GFZ

Early Warning for Natural Hazards

Early warning systems can predict the distribution and magnitude of natural disasters, detect the onset of such events, can deploy workflows for the distribution of alert messages and, finally, inform catastrophe response.

The number and intensity of natural catastrophes have been increasing on a global scale, and so has the vulnerability of societies due to population growth and infrastructure development. Furthermore, an increase in interconnectedness on a social and economic level motivates continuous improvement of early warning systems.

Early Warning for Natural Hazards thus focuses on the development of novel methods such as continuous and high-resolution monitoring, advanced rapid modelling, and machine learning. The goal is to offer the ensuing research results to stakeholders on the one hand, and to incorporate new findings into the dialogue with policy and decision makers and the general public on the other hand, covering the entire warning chain from the measurement of the hazard to risk analysis to warning communication.

Core Scientists

Contact: Sergiy Vorogushyn (Anchor Person: sergiy.vorogushyn@gfz-potsdam.de)


Various boards together with the SynCom Office support the ongoing SynCom processes as well as strategic decisions.

Specifically, the SynCom Office cooperates on a monthly basis with the Strategy Board (AG SynCom), the Communication Board, and the Research Center Interfaces (Anchor Persons). Further advisors and decision makers are the Vice President of the research field, the Management Bord, and the Program Board.

SynCom Office

The SynCom Office coordinates processes between the above-mentioned boards, the Topics of the research field, external stakeholders and partners.

Furthermore, the Office helps organize events such as SynCom project workshops, knowledge transfer workshops, and Parliamentary dinners.

Lastly it supports the strategic development of SynCom and ensures the implementation of all SynCom matters.

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