Cross-location research activities in the field of sustainability are the focus of the two-million-euro fund set up by the Carl Zeiss Foundation at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TUK) and the Landau Campus of the University of Koblenz-Landau. At the launch event last Friday, January 28, 2022, representatives of both universities presented the first cooperation projects under the umbrella of the fund in the presence of State Secretary Dr. Dennis Alt. Dr. Felix Streiter, Managing Director of the Carl Zeiss Foundation, symbolically presented a check for the funding amount.
These three research projects, among others, are already underway: A joint science communication project "With microalgae against climate change", which aims to bring sustainability research to life for schoolchildren in a "do it yourself" approach. Another research team is investigating the effects of antibiotics released into the environment on greenhouse gas emissions and the material composition of riverbeds as an important habitat. The third collaborative project is dedicated to viticulture, exploring how agricultural waste can be reduced in the production of wine.
"We are very grateful to the Carl Zeiss Foundation for supporting us in expanding cross-site research projects in the field of sustainability and bringing together complementary perspectives in a targeted manner," said Professor Dr. Werner Thiel, Vice President for Research and Technology at TUK. Professor Dr. Ralf Schäfer, officer for research, sustainability, transfer and internationalization at the Landau campus, added: "This will give us the opportunity to consolidate long-term collaborations and lay the foundation for a center for sustainability research when we operate as a joint technical university from 2023."
In total, the funding will support ten research projects in which working groups from both sites will collaborate. The establishment of a cross-site, interdisciplinary junior research group and support for various event formats such as conferences and lecture series are also part of the cooperation fund's funding program. In addition, excellent young scientists and their projects are supported. Their projects are also intended to help strengthen cross-location profiling in STEM-based sustainability research.
"Sustainability is a crucial future topic for science and society. The efficient use of our resources will therefore be a funding priority of the Carl Zeiss Foundation in the coming years. Strengthening interdisciplinary research is a particular concern of ours, in addition to knowledge transfer," said Dr. Felix Streiter on the occasion of the presentation of the funding grant.
"In Rhineland-Palatinate, we have a broad view of the topic of sustainability with all its facets. It is present at the TU Kaiserslautern and at the Landau Campus of the University of Koblenz-Landau in research and in the training of young scientists and is being worked on with great commitment and success. I am pleased that the generous support of the Carl Zeiss Foundation in the amount of two million euros not only serves to promote this socially important topic, but also specifically supports cross-site activities between the Technical University of Kaiserslautern and the Landau Campus. We are thus making good progress in sustainability," said Dr. Denis Alt, State Secretary in the Ministry of Science and Health.