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December 15, 2011

Green Talent Awards Attract the Best Young Scientists to Do Research in Germany
By Cheryl Kaften
TMCnet Contributor

In a continuing attempt to avert climate calamity—as well as a competitive move to lead the global market in renewable energy research and development—the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has awarded 20 young scholars from across the globe the opportunity to carry out fully funded, three-month research projects as guests of the nation.

In the culmination of Germany’s third annual competition, Green Talents: International Forum for High Potentials in Sustainable Development, awards were handed out in Berlin on December 15 to young scientists and engineers (under the age of 35) from China, India, Brazil, South Africa, the United States and other nations in Latin America and Asia. The contest was backed by a $2.6 billion government renewable technology research fund.

One major criterion for selection in the competition is the contribution of an applicant’s research to mastering global challenges, such as climate change, declining energy resources, and massive environmental pollution.

During a 10-day science forum, the exceptional young scientists will have the opportunity to meet and exchange views with leading German experts in the field of sustainability—visiting universities, research labs, and companies active in the field of sustainable development. . They will gather specific information about research activities on-site and learn about opportunities for cooperation with German partners.

Among the stops on their itinerary will be the: 

  • Climate Service Center (CSC (News - Alert)) Germany, Hamburg; 
  • Desertec Industrial Initiative, Munich; 
  • Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich ;
  • Fraunhofer (News - Alert) Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart; 
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES, Kassel/Bremerhaven;
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe;
  • Max-Planck-Innovation GmbH, Munich; and
  • Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Wuppertal.

During the year following their participation in the Green Talents Forum, the winners will be invited to return to Germany for an additional fully financed research stay (of up to three months) at a German university, research institution or company of their own choice in order to carry out or further develop a research project.

Several previous award winners have seized this opportunity, including Dr. Samuel (Xingmao) Ma. During his research stay at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, the 2009 Green Talent winner established first collaborations with German colleagues to jointly explore the beneficial applications of nanotechnology in environmental protection practices.

“This award is a signal: We want to engage together in climate change, energy safety, and resource efficiency,” said Federal Research Minister Professor Annette Schavan, patron of the Green Talents Forum.

Award recipients from the United States said their time in Germany has given them opportunities they wouldn't have had elsewhere. "It really opens a huge door," Andrew March, 25, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, told Associated Press. March, who won a grant in a 2010 and is now in Berlin working on a project that explores ways for companies to reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions.

He said the most interesting aspect was the German view of environmental research as a key to remaining competitive in the future.

Cheryl Kaften is an accomplished communicator who has written for consumer and corporate audiences. She has worked extensively for MasterCard (News - Alert) Worldwide, Philip Morris USA (Altria), and KPMG, and has consulted for Estee Lauder and the Philadelphia Inquirer Newspapers. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves


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