The concept of emerging collaborative topics (EcTops) is based on internal discussions in CellNetworks and recommendations of the Scientific Advisora Board (SAB), which in its 2010 mid-term meeting suggested an internal funding program for scientifically challenging projects linking researchers from different disciplines and research areas. A particular focus was placed on quantitative analysis and links to computational sciences and biophysics. Proposals were solicited by an open call to all CellNetworks members and selected on the basis of a SAB vote, placing particular emphasis on the crossdisciplinary approach and integration of groups from different CellNetworks areas.
This led to the 5 EcTops. A 6th EcTop is proposed to start in earky 2015, which will provide the opportunity to react to new scientific developments; it will again be judged regarding its collaborative potential and scientific promise and selected on the basis of a SAB vote. The call for proposals of EcTop 6 started in summer 2014 and extended in autumn 2014. The selection procedure has been started afterwards to find a 6th topic with a new branch of research within our emerging collaborative topics. EcTop 5 and 6 are affiliated with Z1 for administrative purposes only: Assignment of EcTop 6 to a specific research area is not possible before deciding on its topic, and EcTop 5 links groups from all CellNetworks research areas and thus cannot be easily assigned to one of them. EcTops are intended as start-up funding to develop emerging fields with strong interdisciplinary potential into a mature research program that can then be successful in an alternative funding line.