Teutonic technicalities

German innovation and technical excellence have long been lauded, but few have been privy to the latest developments in German research.

These developments will be under the spotlight at the Insite 2008 exhibition, thanks to an impressive gathering of Germany’s best higher education and research institutes at a specially designed pavilion.

Facilitated by the German ministry of education and research and the German Academic Exchange Service (Daad), the German pavilion will include presentations by the University of Applied Sciences (UAS) Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel, the University of Duisburg Essen, the University of Stuttgart’s Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy, GFZ Potsdam, the University of Witten-Herdecke’s Institute of Environmental Engineering and Management, the Rheinisch-Westfälische University of Aachen, the Fraunhofer Institute, the German Development Institute Bonn, the joint projects Biota and Inkaba yeAfrica, and Baden-Württemberg International.

One of the drawcards to the pavilion will be the faculty of automotive engineering of the UAS Braunschweig/Wolfenbüttel (UAS BS/WF), which will be showcasing the International Chair in Automotive Engineering, established in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), Volkswagen SA and Daad.

Besides showcasing Germany’s ability to design some of the world’s top cars, the faculty will be promoting the engineering degrees available at NMMU and UAS BS/WF, the student exchange and international student projects, as well as cooperation in applied research projects.

Earth sciences will also be under the spotlight, thanks to GFZ Potsdam, a member of the Helmholtz Association. GFZ Potsdam is the national centre for geosciences in Germany, combining all solid earth science fields including geodesy, geology, geophysics, mineralogy and geochemistry.

At this year’s exhibition, GFZ Potsdam will showcase the bilateral German-South African research cooperation, Inkaba yeAfrica, an earth science initiative that dovetails next-generation science and technology with a strong training and capacity-building component.

Three teams of earth scientists in both countries are taking on the challenges of climate change, sustainable resources, clean water and energy. With South Africa’s geologic superlatives, mineral wealth, position in the “climate engine” and growing human pressure on land use and energy, the Inkaba yeAfrica is an ideal natural laboratory and testing ground for innovative science.

The programme has a priority in supporting education in science and early career development for South African students and postgraduates. Biota Africa, another common long-term project of African and German researchers, also aims at the establishment of research supporting sustainable use and conservation of biodiversity in Africa.

Together with the University of Johannesburg, Stuttgart University’s Institute of Energy Economics and the Rational Use of Energy is head of the EnerKey consortium, a project that promotes the sustainable transformation of the urban region of greater Johannesburg by initiating adapted and integrated energy projects as a key factor for sustainability.

Under the headline “Energy as a key element of an integrated climate protection concept for the city region of Gauteng” strategies and recommendations for the sustainable transformation of greater Johannesburg will be developed.

The project idea, together with the preliminary results, will be presented.

Information about renewable and innovative energy alternatives will also be provided to visitors at Insite 2008. This includes the integrated energy system model, which reveals data from all components of the energy system and possible technologies and allows an integrated analysis for development. The institute will also promote the supply of technologies that affect climate protection, especially renewable energy, fuel cells and biofuels.

The University of Duisburg Essen will present water related study courses at Insite 2008 including two international master’s courses: water science and transnational ecosystem-based water management, and interdisciplinary course in microbiology, chemistry and analysis.

The instrumental analytical chemistry department of the university will also showcase research and education in analytical and environmental chemistry, with a focus on water and modern instrumentation.

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Sharon Van Wyk
Guest Author

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