The official inauguration of a new center of marine research took place in the coastal town of Qingdao, China. The Ocean University of China (OUC), the University of Bremen – with the Leibniz Center of Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) – and the University of Kiel – with the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) – have now crowned their long lasting trilateral cooperation with the opening of this new “Center for Sino-German Cooperation in Marine Sciences“ on 24 February 2011.
Since 2004, the German and Chinese partners have been engaged in measures of bilateral support for young researchers funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) and the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MoE). An interdisciplinary Sino-German Masters was launched in the winter semester 2006/2007: graduates receive a double degree and the programme is delivered in the English language. Two years later saw the beginning of a programme of PhD scholarships. Every year since 2005 there have also been jointly organized two-week summer schools for post-graduate students of the marine sciences, held both in China as well as in Germany. In future, the partners intend to increase the exchange of faculty. Joint research projects and the development of an alumni network are also part of the future agenda.
The new Center on the Laoshan Campus will enhance the visibility of activities by bundling the different forms of cooperation under one roof. In addition to intensifying cooperation in the area of research, other measures encompass the networking of research in the marine sciences and the joint acquisition of external funding.
The participating universities and the ministries have high expectations of the Center. “This cooperation project fits perfectly into the research priorities the University of Bremen has set itself in the area of marine sciences“, says Professor Wilfried Müller, President of the University of Bremen. The marine sciences and international networking constitute cornerstones of Bremen’s efforts within the context of the German Government’s Excellence Initiative. All representatives of the participating institutions are united in their opinion that the Center is a milestone in Sino-German relations and in the networking of research between the two countries.
Management of the new Center will be shared jointly between a Chinese director and directors from Bremen and Kiel respectively. The first targets have already been defined. For instance, a workshop to identify joint research topics is planned for September 2011, and what will be the 7th summer school.
So far, 112 Master and PhD students have participated in the joint educational programmes, mainly from Bremen and Qingdao. During the last six summer schools 117 scientists from both countries arranged interdisciplinary lectures and practical courses for 176 postgraduates. The first meeting of the Bremen Alumni in 2010 provided an opportunity for 74 participants to get to know each other personally and to initiate a network for future close collaboration.
It is expected that the activities of the new Center will enable all partners to increase these numbers continuously and that both countries will benefit from the joint training of highly qualified young academics with cross-cultural experiences.
Dr. Petra Westhaus-Ekau
Programme Coordinator Asia
Fax +49-421-218-98 60379