Penn State and University of Freiburg Announce 2019 Joint Projects

March 11, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Joint Collaboration Development Program, a jointly financed seed-fund program between Penn State and the University of Freiburg in Germany, was launched to facilitate collaborative research and teaching projects to become sustainable, self-supporting, long-term activities.

Penn State and the University of Freiburg have committed these seed funds for a third year in 2019. The Office of Global Programs has announced that three projects have been funded, and officially commenced on March 1.

The first project, titled “Framing and analyzing novel interventions for sustainable communities in Africa,” was submitted by Professor Michael Jacobson, Penn State, Ecosystem Science and Management, Forest Resources; and Professor Bernhard Neumärker, University of Freiburg, Department of Economics and Behavioral Sciences, Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.

This project is focused on poverty reduction and the use of agricultural land in Africa through a Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus. The project will further long-term collaboration between project investigators and African colleagues and stakeholders.

The second project, titled “Machine Learning Models for Human Disease Discovery and Prediction,“ was submitted by Profesor Conrad Tucker, Penn State, National Science Foundation Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT), Engineering Design, Industrial Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering; and Professor Harald Binder, University of Freiburg, Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics (IMBI), Medical Biometry and Statistics.

This project will focus on the potential of machine learning and artificial intelligence in healthcare and other societal challenges through both a U.S. and European lens. The objective of this collaboration is to explore areas within healthcare where big data and machine learning methods can help to increase the speed, scalability and efficiency of disease detection and wellness planning.

The third project, entitled "Ultrasensitive Liquid Biopsy for Early Cancer Diagnostics," Twas submitted by Professor Tak-Sing Wong, Penn State, Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering; Engineering and Biomedical Engineering; and Dr. Manching M. Ku, University of Freiburg Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology and Oncology. This project will explore new methods for identifying early forms of cancer through the use of advanced optical spectroscopy and bioinspired surface technology.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Persiko, Strategic Initiatives Coordinator, at or 814-810-5941.

Last Updated March 11, 2019