In 1996 the Hessian State Ministry of Higher Education, Research and the Arts commissions a conception to cease the study path of Chemistry and to reduce the related scientific staff at the University of Kassel. But as the maintenance of that basic science was considered to be crucial for the research development in natural and engineering science at the University of Kassel, a new setting of priorities was necessary which offered a long term vision due to strengthening the sciences’ expertises and focusing on the interdisciplinary education and research. Hence, first considerations and collaborations between Chemistry, Biology and Physics were made trying to launch an interdisciplinary study path “Nanostructure Science” which should be worthy of support by external reports.
Due to the cessation of the study path “Chemistry” in 1997 and the following reorientation of the three vacant chemical departments Macromolecular Chemistry and Molecular Materials, Organometallic Chemistry and Chemistry of Mesoscopic Sytstems (until 2003) the development of the new study path Nanostructure Science was forwarded.
At the founders’ assembly the Center for Interdisciplinary Nanostructure Science and Technology was constituted as a loose association of scientists on the 4th of July 2000. Two years later the scientific center CINSaT was founded by the University of Kassel and was established with a solemn ceremony by the Hessian State Minister of Higher Education, Research and the Arts, Ruth Wagner, and the University President, Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Postlep. In opposition to other Nano-Centers often leadingly founded by the department of physics CINSaT was characterized by the interdisciplinary nature from the beginning. With the six interdisciplinary, ongoing projects in the project areas “Synthesis and Application of novel Structures”, “Analysis of Nanostructures by optical Methods” and “Development of scanning probe microscopies” the 8 founding members – the (former) head of CINSaT Prof. Frank Träger and the Professors Baumert, Hillmer, Kassing, Maniak, Nellen, Salbeck and Siemeling – set the condensation nucleus for the tasks of CINSaT.
Their motivation was a close collaboration between scientists from the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering and Physics to create and measure the extraordinarily characteristics of novel nanostructures leading to applications by communication with industry partners. Due to the integration of new members – not only from nature sciences but also from departments like mathematics or engineering sciences – and the youth development which contained the inclusion of graduated scientists with own research projects the interdisciplinary collaborations were supported and intensified. The success speaks for itself: Only one year after the founding the number of members ran up to 19 and the list of projects was considerably larger.
During the winter semester of 2003/2004 the long awaited study path “Nanostrukturwissenschaft - Nanostructure and Molecular Sciences“ was offered the first time and it needed an admission restriction: there were twice as much registrations (80 students) as capacity. Whereas the first graduates of that study path leave the university this attractiveness is still unbroken.
The enormous presence and importance of the key technology “Nanostructure Science” in the 21st century was also reflected by many persons from politics and science visiting the CINSaT. In addition to the Hessian prime minister, Roland Koch, the mayor of Kassel, Georg Lewandowski, the retired Hessian economics minister, Dieter Posch, the Hessian minister of science, Udo Corts, visited the scientific center of the Kassel university as well as miscellaneous members of the Landtag and Bundestag. The awareness level of CINSaT in Kassel, in Hesse, in Germany and many other countries like China, USA or Japan was also confirmed due to the presence at several exhibitions such as HannoverMesse (Hannover), NanoTech (Tokio) or NanoSolution (Cologne). To support the public relations and junior programs CINSaT performed expositions and talks in malls, schools and public events and the departments involved to CINSaT were introduced on open house days. Since 2004 annual CINSaT colloquia are organized to strengthen the scientific exchange and professional discussions with talks of internal and external guests.
Due to the granting of more financial support given by the university of Kassel CINSaT was fit into the “Nanonetzwerk Hessen” – a cooperation project of the Hessian universities and advanced technical colleges with support of the Hessian ministry of science and arts – in 2006. The central coordination was taken over by Kassel. In the same year the CINSaT research foci were regrouped to “Molecular interaction and mechanics” and “Electron systems and electromagnetic fields” due to changed project topics.
In 2010 – eight years after the foundation – the scientific advisory board evaluated the scientific center CINSaT. The university of Kassel followed the given advice to continue the research and a realignment was determined: Additional to the new head of CINSaT Prof. Ehresmann who undertook the tasks from Prof. Frank Träger, the Professors Faust and Witzigmann were elected to form the new executive board. Besides the revision of the CINSaT rules of procedure where the explicit distinction between full and associate members were decided – CINSaT consists of 25 members at that time – a new scientific advisory board was installed under the leadership of Prof. Markus C. Amann. Also the consisting research foci were replaced by the following five topics: “threedimensional nanostructures”, “biosensing”, “photooxidative nanoparticles”, “photonics” and “nanostructure science in natural sciences, engineering sciences and the arts”. The CINSaT-colloquium were extended to two days to have plenty of time for presentations of projects, ideas and techniques and for discussions which make the colloquium successful.
On the 17th of October 2012 the tenth anniversary was celebrated in the Konzertsaal of the Kassel university. The Hessian state secretary Ingmar Jung, the University President Prof. Dr. Rolf-Dieter Postlep, the head of the CINSaT scientific advisory board Prof. Markus C. Amann and the Director of the Nanotechnology Center Shanghai Prof. Li-Yi Shi participated the ceremony and presented greetings, whereas Dr. Karl-Heinz Haas (Fraunhofer Alliance Nanotechnology) gave an interesting and fundamental talk about the current research and the future of nanotechnology. With music by a string trio the ceremony was complemented. Afterwards the internal and external participants from science, politics, religion and industry were invited to a cozy get-together with buffet. Additional to the ceremony a special two-day conference about the at that time unique topic 3D nanostructures was organized by CINSaT. Here, several high-level scientists from Germany and abroad participated and gave a lecture.
The second evaluation took place in 2013. The scientific advisory board with its head Prof. Dr. Markus-Christian Amann commended CINSaT for the affirmatory development. Especially the new orientation of the research foci in 2010 appeared correct. Due to the retreat of joining groups the research focus “photooxidative nanoparticles” were cancelled and replaced by the new research focus “chiral systems” which is significantly based on the LOEWE project “electron dynamics of chiral systems (ELCH)” – a research initiative funded by the state of Hesse.
Due to the inauguration of Prof. Ehresmann as vice president of the University of Kassel since the beginning of the winter semester 2015/16, a new executive board was elected by the members’ meeting. The current CINSaT executive board members are Prof. Herberg, Prof. Fuhrmann-Lieker and Prof. Witzigmann together with the new head of CINSaT Prof. Reithmaier, who took over the tasks from the former head Prof. Ehresmann. In the course of structural progress and professionalization of CINSaT, the CINSaT regulations from 2013 were completely revised and, among others, the “Forschungskoordination” was established as a new instrument to initialize and promote coordinated research projects. The reformulation of the CINSaT regulation was passed by the presidium of the University of Kassel in August 2016.
Since the foundation in 2002 the Center for Interdisciplinary Nanostructure Science and Technology (CINSaT) has been developed and consolidated enormously as depicted. Up to now 31 members joined CINSaT and the achievements are significant: Since 2010 over 500 articles were published in scientific journals and more than 20 million Euros third-party funds were obtained by CINSaT members.