About the DWIHRun by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and located in five major cities around the globe, the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) strengthen Germany as a land of research, science and innovation. In New York, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo, the DWIH provide a platform on which to present German science organisations and research-based companies. The DWIH pursue four central objectives:
The joint presentation of German innovation leaders increases their visibility in the host country. As central points of contact, the DWIH bring numerous actors in science and research-based companies together, allowing specific information to be obtained quickly and easily.
The DWIH promote knowledge about the science, research and innovation landscape of both Germany and the host country for the actors of both countries.
Thanks to the advice provided by the DWIH, actors from the host country know who to contact in the areas of science, research and innovation in Germany. Newly forged contacts give rise to research collaboration and the commissioning of research projects.
The DWIH are able to create networks by putting German innovators in touch with local actors and motivating them to step up their engagement in the host country. This gives rise to a valuable platform upon which to expand strategic activities.
DWIH focus topic 2019The world of artificial intelligence is complex and offers numerous opportunities for expert exchange and follow-up activities. The German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) take advantage of these in a variety of ways.
Focus on the five DWIH locations
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst e.V. (DAAD)
53175 Bonn (Germany)
Tel.: +49 228 882-0
Fax: +49 228 882-444
Authorised Representative of the Executive Committee:
Professor Joybrato Mukherjee
District Court of Bonn
Register of associations, number VR 2107
Sales tax number: DE122276332
Person responsible according to § 55 Abs. 2 RStV:
Dr Dorothea Rüland
FAZIT Communication GmbH
Frankfurt am Main
Antje LeendertseState Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office
International cooperation has long been an integral component of science, research and innovation, whether in the development of new medical solutions, modern approaches to mobility, the investigation of urbanisation trends or climate research. In all these and many other areas, substantial progress is only possible through cooperation that transcends national borders. Supporting this networking process and highlighting the significance of Germany as a leading scientific, research and innovation location is one of the tasks of the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH). In 2019 they once again organised a large number of initiatives in Moscow, New Delhi, New York, São Paulo and Tokyo, thereby showcasing Germany as an attractive partner in the world’s innovation hubs.
The Centres placed a particularly sharp focus on one theme of the year with considerable and growing importance: artificial intelligence. A workshop on smart cities, a science forum on “Apparatus Sapiens – AI becoming human?”, a trilateral symposium on AI in law, a workshop on AI for neurology applications, a seminar on the influence of AI through film and literature – that is just a small selection of the many activities run by the Centres. These events provided opportu-nities to forge new contacts, initiate joint projects and strengthen Germany’s profile in this central field of research and innovation. The following report provides a more in-depth impression. I would like to draw your attention to the German-Russian Year of University Collaboration and Research 2018-2020. The German Centre for Research and Innovation in Moscow has a special role to play within the context of this bilateral format.
On behalf of the Federal Foreign Office I would like to express my sincere thanks to the German Bundestag for its continued support. I would also like to thank the participating partners – the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, the Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany, the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Federation of German Industries – for their tremendous engagement. Last but not least, I would like to acknowledge the outstanding efforts of the directors, the programme managers and the chairs of the local advisory boards, as well as the entire management of the German Academic Exchange Service, without which the Centres would be unable to carry out their successful work.
State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office
Professor Joybrato Mukherjee President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Virtually no area of our lives is likely to remain unaffected by artificial intelligence (AI), a technology of growing significance that is relevant to politics, science and business alike and is opening up new perspectives in education and social development. At the same time, it is becoming clear that the only way to adequately confront the challenges posed by this complex and multifaceted issue is through international and interdisciplinary exchange. Such exchange is of fundamental importance at the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH), where artificial intelligence was selected as the annual focus topic for 2019 by the Board of Trustees.
Engaging with far-reaching questions of relevance to the future within the framework of an annual focus topic characterises the strategic further development of the DWIH, responsibility for which was assumed by the DAAD in 2017. In 2019, the subject of artificial intelligence was addressed from a wide variety of perspectives at the DWIH in New York, São Paulo, Moscow, New Delhi and Tokyo – evidence once again of the DWIH’s strength, namely to provide outstanding platforms for cross-border exchange. AI experts from the respective host countries were brought together with specialists and innovation drivers from Germany; together, they explored new research terrain, talked about scope for collaboration, and discussed different standpoints.
Undertaking a balanced assessment of the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence, and of its innovation potential and societal challenges, is also essential. In Germany, these conflicting aspects have a pronounced bearing on the way people – especially in higher education – are engaging with AI. Some universities have recently joined the growing network of DWIH supporters. As a member organisation of Germany’s higher education institutions and their student bodies, the DAAD expressly welcomes this development. This is one of many examples of the attractiveness of the DWIH, whose successful international activities are also highlighted in this Annual Report. I wish you an inspiring read!
Professor Joybrato Mukherjee
President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
Professor Matthias KleinerPresident of the Leibniz Association
Innovations often come about in situations where science, society and business interact. An exchange of ideas, perspectives and experiences may then result in an existing concept being critically re-examined and further developed, leading to new knowledge and insights. This is one of the fundamental guiding principles and explicit objectives of the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH). At selected locations, the DWIH encourage a dialogue that goes beyond research – which is already closely interlinked internationally – open their doors to policymakers, social actors and businesses, and give rise to important new connections.
In jointly presenting science and research on the international stage, the DWIH additionally communicate one of the key strengths of the German research and innovation system: the interplay of different mission-oriented actors whose impact is complementary characterises Germany as a country of research and innovation. It is not always easy for outsiders to penetrate and understand this diversity, and this is also an important task for the DWIH.
The Alliance of Science Organisations in Germany, which was chaired by the Leibniz Association in 2019, is therefore committed to supporting the DWIH as places that foster dialogue between the academic world and the public sphere at five key locations worldwide.
In 2019, the DWIH selected an annual focus topic that is having a considerable bearing on science and society and will continue to do so in the coming years, namely “artificial intelligence”. I am particularly delighted in this context that far-reaching connections and at times surprising applications for artificial intelligence for our societies and for business were also discussed during the DWIH events.
This report offers some fascinating insights into this and many other topics.
Professor Matthias Kleiner
President of the Leibniz Association
DWIH MoscowThe German Centre for Research and Innovation Moscow addresses key issues in German-Russian exchange and brings leading experts from both countries together.
Dr Andreas Hoeschen (DAAD)
Advisory Board Chair
Tobias Stüdemann (Freie Universität Berlin)
German Centre for Research and Innovation Moscow
Prospekt Wernadskogo 103
Building 3, Entrance 2
119526 Moskau, Russland
Supporters of the DWIH Moscow
Focus on the DWIH Moscow
Focus on the DWIH Moscow
Dr Andreas Hoeschen
The German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Moscow is playing an important role in the German-Russian Year of University Collaboration and Research 2018 – 2020. In 2019 this was evident not only in the website created by the DWIH for the German-Russian Year (wissenschaftspartner.de), but also in a number of events. For example, the DWIH was involved in the German-Russian Forum for University Research that took place in Moscow in December 2019. The two-day event brought together more than 300 representatives of German and Russian universities, as well as high-ranking political attendees. Michelle Müntefering, the minister of state at the Federal Foreign Office, explained that the German-Russian Year is helping to further strengthen German-Russian networks and higher education cooperation. “I firmly believe that independent academic exchange is essential, especially in today’s globalised world with its cross-border challenges.”
Panel discussions and poster sessions were also staged during the course of the forum; academics from more than 30 German and Russian universities presented their joint research projects and partnerships, and discussed further opportunities for cooperation. Three young Russians and three young Germans showcased their research ideas during a science slam. “Our commitment to the German-Russian Year culminated in this mid-term event that we helped to coordinate”, says DWIH Director Dr Andreas Hoeschen. “The DWIH will also benefit from the ripple effects generated by the year, which will serve to further raise its public profile.”
While the events during the German-Russian Year covered a very wide range of academic subjects, the DWIH selected artificial intelligence (AI) as its own annual focus topic. “AI is a key issue in science and science policy, as the reaction to our offerings clearly shows”, explains Hoeschen. For instance, more than 230 people travelled to Moscow to attend “Apparatus Sapiens – AI becoming human?”, a German-Russian Science Forum co-organised by the DWIH at the end of June 2019; among them were also numerous scientists from German research institutions.
BRAIN SCIENCE AND AI
The German-Russian Science Forum on “Brain Science and the Next Generation of Artificial Intelligence” provided leading neuroscience and AI experts from outstanding German and Russian universities and research centres, such as Forschungszentrum Jülich, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Freie Universität Berlin, Lomonosov Moscow State University and Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) with an opportunity to share ideas and research findings. A Science Talk on Artificial Intelligence that took place at the National Centre for Digital Economy at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU) in May allowed scientists from such institutions as RWTH Aachen University, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and Lomonosov Moscow State University to engage in a dialogue about research and development findings and scope for collaboration, especially in the fields of robotisation and big data. DWIH Programme Manager Mikhail Rusakov explains how these various events can lead to lasting contacts: “German and Russian research institutions are extremely interested in extending their cooperation.” For example, the KIT, the Moscow Higher School of Economics (HSE) and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) are planning to expand their collaboration, while RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich want to further develop their partnership with Lomonosov University.
2019 also saw the DWIH focus on exchange with industry. The DWIH achieves this in different ways: at the end of April, it joined several partners from Stavropol State Agrarian University in organising a science forum devoted to the topics of digitisation, robotisation and mechatronics in agriculture. At the end of March, in response to a DWIH invitation, Dr Martin Gitsels, vice president of Siemens in Russia, gave his innovation lecture on “The Challenge of Industrial Digitalisation” at Tomsk Polytechnic University. He reported on advances in digital technologies and how they are influencing people’s everyday live. “Events such as these are important because they allow us to bring industry into the universities”, says Rusakov. In July, the DWIH also took part for the first time in the Innoprom in Ekaterinburg – it is considered to be Russia’s most important international industrial trade fair.
The successful work done by the DWIH Moscow in 2019 was also reflected among other things in the growing interest in its advisory services and the rising number of participants in its various events. What is more, links to German higher education were further consolidated: RWTH Aachen University, a designated University of Excellence, is a new associated supporter of the DWIH Moscow and is keen to intensify its collaboration with academic organisations in Russia.
DWIH Moments 2019
DWIH Moments 2019
A WHOLE HOST OF PERSPECTIVES IN MOSCOW
Researchers shaped the year in Moscow in a variety of ways
At the Science Forum “Brain Science and the Next Generation of AI”, for example, discussion participants included Vladimir Mironov, a professor of ontology and epistemology at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MGU), Professor Konstantin Anokhin, Director of the Institute for Advanced Brain Studies at the MGU, and Leibniz Prize-winner Onur Güntürkün, a professor of biopsychology at Ruhr-Universität Bochum. Besides the many prominent names, however, there is something else that gives Mikhail Rusakov pleasure in the wake of the events: “It is great to see the way being paved for new cooperative ventures.”
Launch pad for new research contacts
“We in Germany and Russia believe that it is vital to thoroughly discuss the consequences of using artificial intelligence (AI)”, says Professor Ali Sunyaev, Director of the Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods (AIFB) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). In late June 2019, Sunyaev took part in an event staged as part of the German-Russian Year of University Collaboration and Research 2018–2020, which provided a platform for reflecting on AI: the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) in Moscow, the German Embassy in Moscow and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) organised an unusually interdisciplinary Science Forum revolving around a very important question: “Is AI becoming human?”
Ali Sunyaev has been working with colleagues at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics (HSE) for some time now: the researchers are exploring the future potential of blockchain technology. During the German-Russian Science Forum in Moscow, Sunyaev was also able to meet MIPT computer scientists, and was invited to give a lecture at this leading research university. “I am confident that we will collaborate in future”, says the Karlsruhe researcher. Colleagues at the National Research Technological University MISiS were also keen to learn more about Sunyaev’s work. The plan now is for him to take part in research and training projects at the university.
Dr Ivana Kruijff-Korbayová, like Ali Sunyaev a panel guest at the German-Russian Science Forum, likewise sees valuable opportunities for further bilateral exchange on artificial intelligence. “At the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) we focus more on the application of AI than on the theoretical principles of algorithms”, explains the DFKI scientist. This is why she believes that German and Russian research complement each other well in this field.
AI AND LANGUAGE RECOGNITION
Kruijff-Korbayová works on AI dialogue systems, exploring the ways in which language exchange takes place: either between humans and computers, or between people. She presented her current project in Moscow. Focusing on the use of robots in emergencies, its goal is to train AI to understand communication between individuals during rescue operations. The idea is that robots will eventually understand what is happening in such situations, allowing them to take appropriate decisions.
Scientists at the MIPT are currently working on something that ties in with Kruijff-Korbayová’s project: an AI system for identifying themes in a section of text or dialogue. “That would make a fascinating topic for collaboration”, says the researcher, who in addition to her work at the DFKI also coordinates an international master’s degree course at the Universität des Saarlandes.
Dr Michael Kubach from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO) was also very enthusiastic about the exchange in Moscow. One of the participants in the panel discussions, he works on identity management at the Fraunhofer IAO. One of the questions they are exploring is the way in which businesses can be rendered vulnerable by AI – for example if an AI is able to imitate the voice of a senior manager in a company. In Russia, Kubach was introduced to a biometric procedure that involves identifying a person from the movement of their eyes. “This could one day prove interesting for collaboration on a project.”
Kubach was also fascinated by research that is being done to explain AI decisions. Generally speaking, little is known as yet about how AI systems take decisions. “Some interesting approaches from basic research were presented in Moscow”, he explains. Overall, he describes his time in Russia as “an extremely valuable chance to see what work is being done outside Germany. It was a great opportunity to forge new contacts.”
“We are expanding our networks”
“We are expanding our networks”
Three questions for Dr Elena Eremenko, head of the Moscow Office of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
We work very intensively with the DWIH Moscow and see this cooperation as extremely positive. In 2019, for example, the DWIH organised two fact-finding trips to the regions of Stavropol and Perm. The Moscow Office of the Helmholtz Association took part in these trips with a view to showcasing the scientific potential of the Helmholtz Centres. In this manner we are expanding our networks and establishing new forms of cooperation with the Russian regions. We also greatly appreciate the fact that the DWIH provides financial support for events. With the support of the DWIH for instance, the Helmholtz Moscow Office staged a symposium entitled “Advances in Biomedicine” in Sochi in November. Around 150 renowned scientists attended the event; 15 of them came from Germany and had their travel expenses covered by the DWIH.
What role does the DWIH play for the researchers at the Helmholtz Association?
The Helmholtz Moscow Office works closely together with the DWIH Moscow and takes active advantage of all the opportunities offered by this exchange. Besides information seminars, this includes for example organising German-Russian conferences, and the DWIH’s support with preparing and running our events. All of this helps us to bring scientists from both countries together, which in turn gives valuable impetus to the widening of German-Russian scientific cooperation.
To what extent is such impetus evident in the bilateral research cooperation in the area of artificial intelligence (AI), the DWIH’s annual focus topic in 2019?
In June 2019, the DWIH Moscow staged the German-Russian Science Forum “Apparatus Sapiens: AI becoming human?”. Professor Karsten Wendland and Professor Ali Sunyaev, both of whom conduct research at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology that belongs to the Helmholtz Association, took part in the event as speakers. In November, Professor Katrin Amunts and Professor Thomas Lippert from Forschungszentrum Jülich travelled to Moscow to attend the German-Russian Science Forum “Brain Science and the Next Generation of AI”. These forums revealed that German and Russian scientists have considerable interest in the subject of AI. The collaboration with Russian partners in the field of AI will continue and take more concrete shape in 2020. Generally speaking, such bilateral events play an important role in the broad spectrum of German-Russian scientific cooperation because meetings of German and Russian scientists very often lead to new and lasting projects. ·
DWIH New DelhiThe German Centre for Research and Innovation New Delhi focuses on exchange between India and Germany by creating networking opportunities and platforms for dialogue on research and innovation.
Dr Katja Lasch (DAAD)
Advisory Board Chair
Dr Matthias Kiesselbach (German Research Foundation – DFG)
German Centre for Research and Innovation New Delhi
21 Jor Bagh
New Delhi – 110003, India
Supporters of the DWIH New Delhi
Focus on the DWIH New Delhi
Focus on the DWIH New Delhi
Dr Katja Lasch
The world of work is changing – rapidly, globally and fundamentally. Powerful engines driving this change are advances in digitisation, automation and human-machine interaction. “Workplaces in many sectors are being increasingly influenced by artificial intelligence and digitisation”, says Dr Katja Lasch, Director of the DWIH New Delhi. “This is why we decided to combine the DWIH annual focus topics for 2018 and 2019 – the future of work, and artificial intelligence – at our annual Indo-German Forum, covering the two subjects from various angles with a view to generating synergies.” The role played by the DWIH New Delhi as a platform for successful interdisciplinary networking became particularly clear at this central conference, which was staged in March 2019 and attended by over 300 people. “We want to continue down this path, highlighting and expressly alluding to the character of the exchange through the event’s title: the ‘Indo-German Forum’”, explains the director.
JOINT ISSUE OF FUTURE RELEVANCE
The DWIH’s 2019 focus topic of “artificial intelligence” was ideally suited to scientific exchange in India because the country has developed its own strategy for artificial intelligence. In addition, AI has been defined as a joint issue of future relevance in the Indo-German governmental consultations. As the first main speaker at the annual conference, Dr Didar Singh, a member of the United Nations’ International Labour Organization (ILO), presented the mega trends that are shaping the future of work and the technological and social challenges they entail for his country. “India can impress with its outstanding research, and the DWIH can also raise the profile of this research in Germany”, stresses Katja Lasch, pointing to the 74 speakers who had been invited by the DWIH New Delhi in 2019, and of whom 43 were from India.
Besides fostering Indo-German exchange, the annual conference also made possible a broad spectrum of debates that were continued in other events on the DWIH calendar. AI proved to be an ideal overarching topic for bringing together numerous prominent scientists in lectures, discussions, seminars and workshops, thereby showcasing an inspiring cross-section of German and Indian research – as for example during the Science Circle Lectures. “This event format has now become something of a recognised brand in India”, says DWIH Programme Manager Aadishree Jamkhedkar, explaining that a broad range of viewpoints can be conveyed particularly effectively via this brand.
In the lecture she gave to over 70 participants from universities, industry and the media, Professor Astrid Rosenthal-von der Pütten from the Chair Individual and Technology at RWTH Aachen University sparked a lengthy and fascinating debate about the skills that intelligent systems and robots still need to acquire in order to enter the human social system. An evening with well-known risk researcher Professor Gerd Gigerenzer, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, addressed solution strategies in a world that is becoming increasingly complex, not least thanks to digitisation. And a new format, the Science Talk, combined a screening of the classic film “Metropolis” with a discussion between an Indian and a German scientist about artificial intelligence and its effects on film and literature. 2019 was also characterised by other topics, however. An audience joined climate researcher Professor
Hans Joachim Schellnhuber in a debate about the German energy transition, a workshop in Chennai explored the challenges posed by the growing mountain of electronic scrap, while a seminar in Mumbai addressed the potential offered by frugal innovations for sustainable development. “Our work last year saw us attempt again to reflect the entire German research landscape – from basic and applied research to research-based start-ups and the research being done in established companies”, sums up Katja Lasch. “Interdisciplinary and intersectoral networking for possible cooperation is our overriding objective.”
It is important for India to bring science to its regions and provinces, emphasises Katja Lasch. A third of the DWIH’s 15 events already took place outside New Delhi in 2019, including the annual Falling Walls Lab in India. Even more people signed up for this event in Manipal than the year before, once again generating the highest number of applicants among all the labs worldwide. “Furthermore, in conjunction with the ‘Research in Germany’ campaign we were able for the first time to award an additional entrepreneurship award at the event, and to send the winner to attend an innovation training course in Germany”, explains Aadishree Jamkhedkar. The award gives 15 selected participants in the global DAAD and DWIH network the opportunity to attend additional training seminars and workshops, as well as to forge international contacts.
DWIH Moments 2019
DWIH Moments 2019
QUESTIONS OF DESIGN IN NEW DELHI
In New Delhi it was found that the future of work will also be shaped by design
The “Redesigning Workspaces” session, for example, saw the architects Christos Chantzaras (TU Munich) and Dr Gaurav Raheja (IIT Roorkee) engage in an exchange with human-machine expert Professor Barbara Deml (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Sangeeta Ray, Vice President of Siemens Real Estate in India. A few years ago, the company was already causing quite a stir in Mumbai with large and modern open-plan offices. Aadishree Jamkhedkar emphasises: “We were particularly pleased to be able to give impressions of an Indo-German project that illustrates the future of the working world.”
Close exchange between industry and higher education
Expensive vaccines lose their efficacy while being transported the final few miles into the Indian hinterland, either because they freeze in ice cubes or because the ice cubes melt and the vaccines become too warm as a result. At the 2019 Falling Walls Lab staged by the DWIH New Delhi, the young researcher and entrepreneur Mayur Shetty presented an innovative idea involving a portable, battery-operated and temperature-controlled ice box that could replace the problematic ice cube method that is currently the final link in the cold chain. He won the competition, and the DWIH provided funding for him to travel in November 2019 to the worldwide Falling Walls Lab Finale in Berlin. Mayur Shetty is an excellent representative of just what India is striving to achieve: greater innovation through closer cooperation between science and industry – something that the DWIH also supported actively in 2019.
“Thanks to the organisational efforts of the DWIH and the DAAD, some wonderful young creative researchers from all over the country came together at the Falling Walls Lab India”, recounts Dr Arun Shanbhag, Chief Innovation Officer at the Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) in India and a Falling Walls Lab jury member for the first time in 2019. “This event is
a platform for all kinds of different encounters – encounters that are even more important for India than the competition itself.” This is because the young researchers present their ideas not only to the jury and the audience: in addition, the 15 best come into contact with the industrial representatives and entrepreneurs who are invited to the event by the DWIH.
INDUSTRY-ORIENTED COURSE OF STUDY
Just what form a practical and industry-oriented course of study can take is revealed by cooperation that has already been underway for ten years between two universities – one German, one Indian – and industrial partners: under the umbrella of the Indo-German Center for Sustainable Manufacturing (IGCSM), the Technische Universität (TU) Braunschweig and the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS) in the Indian town of Pilani are exploring the question of sustainability in production. For the four-year “Joint Indo-German Experience Lab” (JInGel) project that was launched in 2016 as part of the DAAD’s “Practical Partnerships with India” programme, the universities collaborate for example with the German industrial education service provider Festo Didactic. To support training of the Indian engineers, Festo sets up a model factory environment in which production processes are simulated. “In recent years, we have focused on our cooperation with industry so as to be able to incorporate research- and problem-oriented concepts of teaching and learning into the training programme; as a result, graduates of the course are attractive candidates for jobs in industry in India and Germany”, explains Professor Christoph Herrmann, who holds the chair in Sustainable Manufacturing and Life Cycle Engineering at the Institute of Machine Tools and Production Technology at TU Braunschweig and runs the IGCSM on the German side.
How should people best be prepared for the way we will be working in tomorrow’s world? This question was also the central focus of the Indo-German “Future of Work” symposium that was held in March 2019. Numerous experts were invited by the DWIH New Delhi to attend the event to share views and opinions on subjects such as artificial intelligence, new working environments and changed processes. Professor Santosh Mehrotra from Jawaharlal Nehru University for example used extensive data to illustrate the Indian view of the fourth industrial revolution. Dr Didar Singh, a member of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Global Commission on the Future of Work, stressed that academic institutions and other training providers need to produce properly qualified workers and contribute to a successful culture of business start-ups. Among the central challenges facing India, Singh talked about the importance of women participating to a greater extent in the labour market. Digitisation presents opportunities in this respect, too: Dr Tanja Carstensen, an expert in the sociology of work at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) München, made reference to more flexible employment models that allow people to work from home, thereby making it easier to reconcile work and family life. This was one of many topics that were the subject of lively discussion by the 300 or so representatives of science and business who attended the “Future of Work” symposium.
“Stimulating expert exchange”
“Stimulating expert exchange”
Three questions for Dr Stefan Diederich, Coordinator, Strategic India Activities at RWTH Aachen’s International Office
At RWTH Aachen University we generally believe that it is beneficial to make scientific topics accessible to a broad public and to create new connections in science, business and politics. What is more, relations with India are thriving. For example, the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) is managed by the RWTH; we are engaged in a Strategic Partnership with the IIT Madras, and our research covers many thematic fields of significance to Indo-German cooperation. Through its collaboration with the German Centre for Research and Innovation in New Delhi, RWTH has already succeeded in showcasing key issues such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology, student entrepreneurship, participatory urban development and sustainable resource use.
What form does cooperation with the DWIH New Delhi take?
Events involving the DWIH stimulate expert exchange and the creation of subject-specific networks of German and Indian scientists, while at the same time building bridges to civil society and industry. In 2019, we ran many of our Indo-German activities in tandem with the IIT Madras, whose historic ties to Germany and academic excellence make it an ideal partner for us. The scientists are linked by their shared research interests, and we have been able to further raise the profile of their research in cooperation with the DWIH New Delhi – during the successful DWIH Science Circle Lecture series, for instance.
What is the result of the joint activities with the DWIH?
We have four strategic objectives in common with the DWIH: raising visibility, networking, providing advice and generating knowledge about each other’s science and innovation systems, all of which are also of great importance to RWTH Aachen University. It therefore makes sense for RWTH to continue to give active support to the DWIH New Delhi. In addition, the DWIH’s wide range of supporters provides a great deal of relevant impetus, for example in the area of research funding or with respect to industry collaboration in India. We are very grateful to the Federal Foreign Office and to the German Academic Exchange Service for the additional opportunities offered by the DWIH for Indo-German cooperation.
DWIH New York
DWIH New YorkThe German Center for Research and Innovation New York links Germany and the USA in a way that is extremely multifaceted and offers a great diversity of perspectives.
Benedikt Brisch (DAAD)
Dietrich Wolf Fenner
Advisory Board Chair
Professor Kurt H. Becker
(NYU Tandon School of Engineering)
German Center for Research and Innovation New York
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA
Supporters of the DWIH New York
Focus on the DWIH New York
Focus on the DWIH New York
“What is easier to squeeze into your busy schedule: an hour of exercise a day, or being dead for 24 hours?” Ralph A. Nixon, professor of psychiatry and cell biology at the NYU Langone Medical Center, used a cartoon to break the ice at the workshop on “Alzheimer’s Related Disorders and Autophagy”. Nixon highlighted the important role that physical exercise plays in preventing dementia. At the end of October 2019, German and American researchers had been invited by the German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New York to attend the workshop in order to discuss new approaches to combating neurodegenerative disorders and present their conclusions during a public evening event. A central focus was on autophagy, a self-cleaning process at the cellular level that does not function properly when a person has Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or one of numerous rare disorders.
“Our aim was to establish a new research network that would use autophagy so to speak as a meta level for generating new findings”, explains Dietrich WolfFenner, the DWIH New York’s Program Manager since the beginning of October 2019. “Although the researchers were of course already engaged in a lively transatlantic exchange, picking this particular project as the basis for their work was in fact something new.” Professor Christian Behl, Director of the Institute for Pathobiochemistry at the University Medical Center Mainz, which together with its partner New York University had designed the DWIH event, believes that research – not only on Alzheimer’s but also on Parkinson’s and a number of rare disorders – could benefit from further study of the autophagy mechanism.
COMMITMENT TO MULTILATERALISM
Creating new networks and enabling multilateral exchange are key objectives for the DWIH New York. This was also evident at “Catch the Sun: How Fusion Energy can Benefit our Societies”, an event in early November 2019 that was hosted in cooperation with the University of Freiburg at the German House New York, which is home to the DWIH. The ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) took centre stage – a major facility in France that cost billions; an international team of researchers is working there to bring about controlled nuclear fusion so that it can be used as an energy source. For DWIH New York Director Benedikt Brisch the event, which was attended by such high-level experts as ITER Project Control Office Director Dr Hans-Henrich Altfeld, was an opportunity to make an important science policy statement. “The ITER is an excellent example of how basic research of a certain order of magnitude and global relevance – like finding a climate-friendly form of energy – can only be undertaken multilaterally.”
The new “Future Forum” on the DWIH’s annual focus topic of artificial intelligence turned out to be a particularly impressive format for multilayered exchange in 2019. As Brisch emphasises, taking a comprehensive view of AI also allowed the alleged transatlantic split between supporters (USA) and sceptics (Germany and Europe) to be subjected to a reality check: “This is overly simplistic. The conference revealed that there is a high level of awareness on both sides of the Atlantic of the risks and opportunities.” He added that in the American tech scene in particular there is a great deal of critical reflection on the risks because new technologies are often introduced more quickly in the USA than they are in Germany.
BROAD SCOPE FOR DISCOURSE
“Regulating Big Tech? Transnational Perspectives on Privacy, Antitrust and Consumer Protection”, an event held in Chicago in mid-October, gave rise to an equally intensive transatlantic dialogue. This DWIH event was the first to be staged in cooperation with Universität Hamburg, a new associate supporter of the DWIH New York. “Alongside our main supporters – those universities, research and business centres that have branches in the USA – we also want to work more in the future with partners who may already have a strong network of contacts in the USA but are not actually represented there themselves”, explains Program Manager Fenner. Furthermore, the DWIH also wishes to step up its activities outside New York, which is why it selected Chicago as the event venue.
The forum provided broad scope for discourse on the subjects of consumer and data protection. “We can achieve a considerable learning effect if we sensitise people to the ways in which such issues are tackled in different economic systems and societies such as the USA and Germany”, says Benedikt Brisch. For example, the American criticism of regulation is put into context when the economic advantages of consumer protection become clear: more reliable data and consumer protection makes people more willing to embrace new technologies and artificial intelligence. And the high level of data protection that is always demanded in Germany is likely to be questioned if it is seen to be preventing useful or indeed life-saving innovations.
DWIH Moments 2019
DWIH Moments 2019
FUTURE FORUM IN NEW YORK
An interdisciplinary discussion of AI’s opportunities and limitations in New York
DWIH New York Program Manager Dietrich WolfFenner is enthusiastic as he looks back at the many interactive workshops and debates. “Our aim was to give participants the chance to engage actively with ideas in AI so as to be able to embrace new perspectives and approaches.” Fenner believes it is important to take a nuanced look: “I am still fascinated by the keynote lecture given by the neuroscientist and entrepreneur Vivienne Ming, who summarised the discussion as follows: if we say no to AI, millions of people will die of diseases that could be diagnosed and treated by technology. If we say yes, we will create a new intelligence that will be powerful enough to undermine all civil rights.”
Innovation Drivers in New York
Innovation Drivers in New York
Contacts that drive forward science and business
“It’s up to us here in this room”, declared the businessman André König during a roundtable discussion in New York. More than 100 international guests had been invited to discuss the dimensions of big data, the opportunities offered by quantum computers, the importance of cyber security, and the potential of digitisation in the financial sector. The digital transition requires everyone to act. The German Center for Research and Innovation (DWIH) and the German-American Chamber of Commerce in New York (AHK New York) had staged the event entitled “A Transatlantic Dialogue on Data-Driven Innovation”. The two institutions are linked by many years of successful exchange that regularly brings together experts from the areas of science, business, and politics. “No one area on its own can come up with answers to the big challenges of the future, such as artificial intelligence”, says DWIH New York Director Benedikt Brisch.
André König, who invests in quantum computing, was joined on the panel of the transatlantic dialogue by Frankfurt-based economist Professor Andreas Hackethal, an expert in e-finance. The panel also included David Dabschek, an entrepreneur and lecturer at Columbia University in New York who focuses on innovations, and Professor Kristina Sinemus, who draws on her experience as a successful businesswoman and university lecturer in her role as Hessian Minister for Digital Strategy and Development. As head of a delegation of scientists and politicians from Hesse, State Premier Volker Bouffier opened the dialogue. Professor Joybrato Mukherjee, who shortly beforehand had been elected the DAAD’s new president, was also a member of the delegation in his capacity as president of Giessen University. “Hesse is a leading center for information and communication technology in Germany and Europe”, said Bouffier, citing the state’s more than 11,000 companies active in this field. Darmstadt is home to Europe’s largest research center for cyber security and data privacy, while DE-CIX, the world’s biggest internet hub, is based in Frankfurt am Main. As Bouffier explained, exchange between research, industry, and politics is a fundamental part of Hesse’s digitisation strategy.
ESTABLISHED IN NEW YORK
Dietmar Rieg, President and CEO of the AHK New York, is committed to interdisciplinary exchange. Ever since taking up office in July 2013, he has been a member of the DWIH’s Advisory Board and supports the DWIH on strategic issues.“ The DWIH has become established in New York and does a very good job of promoting its topics”, says Rieg. “The feedback from AHK member companies is excellent.” Energy supply, driverless vehicles, and cyber security are challenges that can only be tackled and resolved jointly, which is why the AHK and DWIH are planning joint events relating to these issues. This partnership has also proven its benefits in other formats, such as the international innovation competition Falling Walls Lab, which welcomes applications not only from young researchers but also from young entrepreneurs. Preliminary rounds are held all over the world to identify the finalists for the annual competition in Berlin. Two of these preliminary rounds were staged by the DWIH in 2019, in Boston and New York.
Start-ups whose founders come from the world of research are a particularly good example of the link between business and science, and are a target group for both organisations. The DWIH helps German entrepreneurs for instance to seek cooperation with American universities at an early stage. In this environment, the start-ups find it easier to recruit highly-competent staff. In turn, the AHK New York’s STEP start-up program often provides the necessary incentive for entrepreneurs to come to the US in the first place. In the future, the DWIH and the AHK plan to work even more closely together in the innovative start-up sector. As Dietmar Rieg points out, they could hardly be in a better location to do so: “New York is home to around 9,000 start-ups and 140 incubators, not to mention 400 companies that are willing to invest venture capital in new businesses. Anyone wishing to share ideas and experiences of entrepreneurship and start-ups is in just the right place in New York.”
Christine Mattauch / Johannes Göbel
“Staging larger and higher-profile event formats”
“Staging larger and higher-profile event formats”
Three questions for Dr Eva Bosbach, Executive Director, University of Cologne New York Office
2019 was characterised by the “Year of German-American Friendship – Wunderbar Together”, to which our North America office of the University of Cologne was also able to contribute a number of events. One highlight in this context was the event we co-hosted with the DWIH New York on the subject of “Diversity and Multilingualism in a Megacity”. Held on International Mother Language Day, it addressed the important question of how educational scientists, political decision-makers and society as a whole can work together in order to foster diversity and multilingualism in metropolitan regions like New York. Partly thanks to the involvement of NYU Senior Vice President Lisa Coleman and a representative of NY City Council, the event gave rise to a lasting transatlantic exchange.
What was your experience of working together with the DWIH New York?
The DWIH is a key partner when it comes to our North American activities. The mutual support and close cooperation allow us to reach our goals in North America even more efficiently; our offices are located in the German House New York, and we are one of the DWIH New York’s main supporters. We pool financial resources, broaden each other’s target groups, work together on planning and implementing projects, and can thereby address generally important transatlantic topics by staging larger and higher-profile event formats. For example, we have successfully run many events together over the years, and among other things established the “Aging and Society” series, in which we explore various aspects of ageing from medical and pharmaceutical to societal and ethical perspectives. Working with the DWIH team is always a pleasure!
What significance does New York have for you?
Within the framework of our internationalisation strategy, the USA and Canada are two of the primary target regions of the University of Cologne on account of their highly-developed innovation landscape and because they are home to many of our partner universities. We also share objectives with the DWIH in this regard: in North America we are keen to raise our profile, convey knowledge, offer advice and enable networking. To this end, the New York Liaison Office provides academics from the University of Cologne – including from our Clusters of Excellence in Aging Research, Plant Sciences, Markets & Public Policy, and Matter and Light for Quantum Computing – with platforms upon which they can present their excellent research in North America and initiate new cooperative ventures. ·
DWIH São PauloThe German Centre for Research and Innovation São Paulo supports German-Brazilian dialogue in a variety of ways, focusing on all kinds of different topics.
Dr Jochen Hellmann (DAAD)
Advisory Board Chair
Nora Jacobs (Freie Universität Berlin)
German Centre for Research and Innovation São Paulo
Rua Verbo Divino, 1488 – Térreo
04719-904 São Paulo – SP, Brazil
Supporters of the DWIH São Paulo
Focus on the DWIH São Paulo
Focus on the DWIH São Paulo
Dr Jochen Hellmann
It was a record year: 2019 saw the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) São Paulo provide financial or institutional support to around 30 events and projects. This all goes to show just how much interest there is in German-Brazilian dialogue. “In 2019 we were able once again to get outstanding scientists from Germany to travel to Brazil”, reports DWIH Director Dr Jochen Hellmann. “This is one of the key reasons for the DWIH’s success in Brazil.” Success that is particularly evident in the events relating to the DWIH annual focus topic of artificial intelligence (AI).
Professor Joachim Hornegger, President of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), accepted for example an invitation to give the keynote speech at the German-Brazilian Innovation Congress in São Paulo. Initiated by the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad São Paulo (AHK São Paulo) and co-hosted by the DWIH, the congress took place for the seventh time in 2019. In his lecture, Hornegger painted an extensive picture of the amazing variety of AI applications in different areas of industry and life. He used many examples to highlight in particular how closely basic research and business are cooperating on innovations. “This sends out an important signal for the DWIH São Paulo, and one that is also being increasingly noticed by Brazilian industry”, says DWIH Programme Manager Marcio Weichert. Jochen Hellmann, who succeeded Dr Martina Schulze as director of the DWIH in 2019, points to the special role played by the DWIH: “We can serve as a bridge in Brazil between basic research at universities and actual applications.”
Jointly organised in March 2019 by the Faculty of Medicine at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg (a DWIH supporter) and the Hospital das Clínicas at the University of São Paulo (USP), the workshop on “Artificial Intelligence for Neurology and Anaesthesia Applications” is a good example of how this bridge between business and science functions. Supported by the DWIH São Paulo, the event explored how new trends in artificial intelligence could be used to improve efficiency and effectiveness in medicine. As Weichert explains, the workshop benefited lastingly from a large-scale German delegation from the FAU, from the participation of start-ups and Siemens Brazil, and from numerous impressive contributions from the USP. “The partners involved are optimistic about joint research projects in the future.”
The diversity of German research in the field of AI was reflected in the DWIH-supported workshop “From Socionatures to Humanoid Robots” that included transdisciplinary perspectives of the relationship between humans and machines. Among other things, it made possible a debate with Professor Christoph Benzmüller from the Dahlem Center for Machine Learning and Robotics at Freie Universität Berlin (FU) about ethical and legal aspects and the control of AI systems. “The DWIH São Paulo is a place for addressing cross-disciplinary issues”, emphasises Jochen Hellmann. He explains that the annual focus topic of AI has proven particularly suitable for dialogue formats that explore not only the technical aspects of computer science but also questions raised by the humanities and social sciences: “How do we think? For what purpose? How does AI affect our psyche? How will humans be able to maintain their position as algorithms and machines become ever more important?”
Joint discussions and interdisciplinary exchange are fundamental to the German-Brazilian Dialogue on Science, Research and Innovation. The DWIH and the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) sent out invitations to this highlight on the annual calendar for the eighth time in 2019. In 2019 the well-established event was all about the causes of and strategies to combat radicalisation and violence, thereby addressing a topical and virulent issue not only in Brazil, but worldwide. The extent to which political violence in democracies challenges the international community was for example the subject of a lecture given by Professor Brigitte Weiffen, who holds the DAAD-funded Martius Chair for German and European Studies at the University of São Paulo (USP). While Weiffen talked about the opportunities for institutions like the United Nations and the International Criminal Court to exert influence, Dr Stefan Sieber from the Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research looked at the question of food security in a globalised world. This made it clear among other things how conflicts over resources cause migration.
Incidentally, migration flows and the way they are depicted in the media were already the subject in March 2019 of two symposia in Florianópolis und Brasília that allowed the DWIH to support TU Dortmund University’s collaboration with the University of Brasilia (UnB) and the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC). This was yet another format that was received with great enthusiasm by the audience of science and business representatives.
DWIH Moments 2019
DWIH Moments 2019
BROAD-RANGING DISCOURSE IN SÃO PAULO
Diversity thanks to effective formats in São Paulo
The Innovation Congress is traditionally staged by the AHK São Paulo with the support of the DWIH. An outstanding keynote speaker agreed to attend: Professor Joachim Hornegger, an expert in AI and president of Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg. Professor Rolf Rossaint, director of the Anaesthesiology Clinic at RWTH Aachen University, also talked about the development of telemedicine in ambulatory emergency treatment. Barbara Waelkens from the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (IGB) presented a German-Brazilian project that involves converting waste water into biogas. Marcio Weichert explains the DWIH’s objective: “We present speakers who symbolise great innovation potential.”
The potential of AI
The potential of AI
Changes for humans and machines
Professor Hornegger, in early October 2019 you gave the keynote speech on the subject of artificial intelligence (AI) at the German-Brazilian Innovation Congress in São Paulo. Why did you feel it was important to talk about this topic in Brazil?
Brazil is without doubt a leading location for top-level research and a key driver of business in Latin America. And it is clear that artificial intelligence is right at the top of the public agenda at present. So what could make more sense than to combine the two? Especially given that numerous innovative actors from the AI sector are active in São Paulo. Regardless of how long the hype surrounding AI continues – there is no question in my mind that more and more applications will be found for this technology. It will continue to change our lives, and will do so in ways that we have not even considered today. In my opinion, we therefore need to have a societal discourse that closely monitors developments and keeps realistic scenarios in mind. In fact, I even believe that such debate is even more important when it comes to AI than was the case with other technological innovations in the past.
Which aspects did you focus on in your lecture?
I wanted to demonstrate in São Paulo that we are already encountering artificial intelligence in many areas today – in some cases without even realising it. Our university is a very good illustration of how AI influences various fields of academic study: more than 60 departments and professors are exploring AI-related topics or studying AI applications. These include not only those disciplines that you would immediately think of in this context, such as computer science, mathematics and engineering, but also art history, book studies, ethics, sociology and law. During the question and answer session, and while talking to people after my lecture, I noticed that artificial intelligence is on people’s minds; it is generating hopes, opening up opportunities and creating major challenges for us.
Like the Brazilian-German Innovation Congress, the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) also promote exchange between research-based industry and science. What makes these two forums especially valuable?
These institutions and events provide the ideal platform for exchange on a whole variety of levels. The DWIH in particular are extremely well-connected and foster dialogue. If you are looking for potential partners and contact one of the DWIH, you can be certain that you will be put in touch with just the right partner with the specialist knowledge you require. Latin America as a whole, but especially Brazil as the region’s largest economy, plays an important role for the German economy and for German research. One of the centres is of course the state of São Paulo – it is not for nothing that our university is involved in a cooperative venture with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) that makes it possible to apply for joint projects. A number of academics are already taking advantage of this and are carrying out successful projects.
Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg has been one of the DWIH São Paulo’s supporters since the beginning of 2016. How does your university benefit from this cooperation?
For one thing, we benefit from the events that give researchers the opportunity to meet local companies and universities. In addition, the DWIH plays a multiplier role for the FAU, allowing us to forge and cultivate valuable contacts in the areas of business and academia. One good example is the successful collaboration between the FAU and the Medical Valley EMN in the field of medical technology. Or take the topic of AI, for instance: São Paulo is not only Brazil’s financial and trading hub – it is also home to many industrial companies and research institutions that are working in and conducting research on precisely such innovative areas. I was also impressed by the business start-up scene and the measures taken to successfully promote new businesses.
Based at the FAU, the Bavarian Academic Center for Latin America (BAYLAT) is also a supporter of the DWIH São Paulo. Which opportunities does this create when it comes to interlinking the various universities in Latin America?
BAYLAT has been working with the DWIH São Paulo since the very beginning and finds strategic partners all over Latin America for Bavarian universities. One crucial factor in this context is that BAYLAT helps research institutions to drum up the necessary funding. And it does so with considerable success – nowadays there is more research collaboration between the countries.
“International research collaboration has grown significantly”
“International research collaboration has grown significantly”
Three questions for Professor Marco Antonio Zago, President of the Board of Trustees of FAPESP
Basic and applied research on AI, comprising machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing and computational vision, is the focus of the Foundation today, as it was in 1987 when we awarded the first grants to carry out research into neural networks. Let me mention two recent examples of our commitment to this research area: we established a ten-year Engineering Research Center in AI at the University of São Paulo in partnership with IBM, and we launched a call for four five-year AI centres in partnership with the Ministry of Science and Technology.
How is FAPESP connected with the DWIH São Paulo?
DWIH is the reference, in São Paulo, for the growing collaboration between the State of São Paulo and German research agencies, universities, institutes and companies. FAPESP currently has agreements in place with a large number of German institutions, as well as a memorandum of understanding with the DWIH since 2015, to promote collaboration in science, technology and innovation in areas of mutual interest. In 2019 we hosted the 8th Annual Meeting of the German-Brazilian Dialogue on Science, Research and Innovation, promoted jointly by FAPESP and DWIH.
In your opinion, what sets the research collaboration between Brazil and Germany apart?
In the last decade, international research collaboration has grown significantly in the State of São Paulo thanks to synergistic initiatives taken by the universities and increasing support from agencies, especially FAPESP. As a consequence, the percentage of articles with co-authors from foreign countries published in São Paulo increased from an average level of 27% through the decade of 2000 to almost 40% recently. German researchers are among the five top partners of Brazilian researchers. Another aspect that distinguishes Germany is that its agencies and universities have a longstanding tradition of promoting international collaboration, together with multiple and flexible mechanisms that facilitate the organisation of partnerships. This allows not only exchange between students and researchers, but also in particular joint and complementary research.
DWIH TokyoThrough trilateral cooperative ventures, the German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo achieves utmost visibility and impact in the fields of research, business and politics.
Dorothea Mahnke (DAAD)
Advisory Board Chair
Dr Susanne Brucksch
(German Institute for Japanese Studies)
German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo
OAG Building 4F
7-5-56 Akasaka, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 107-0052, Japan
Supporters of DWIH Tokyo
Focus on the DWIH Tokyo
Focus on the DWIH Tokyo
For the DWIH Tokyo, it is not only about building bridges between researchers from different countries; it is also about gradually interlinking various facets of artificial intelligence (AI), the DWIH annual focus topic. The 1st Japanese-German-French DWIH Symposium on Artificial Intelligence took place in late 2018. This laid the foundation stone for an intensive process of exchange that was continued in 2019 by the trilateral events on “AI for Sustainable Development Goals” and “AI in Healthcare”. “We believe it is important to incorporate new aspects and different perspectives into the Japanese-German-French exchange on artificial intelligence”, says Dorothea Mahnke, Director of the DWIH Tokyo.
The “AI for SDGs” conference in October 2019 demonstrated that artificial intelligence can also offer solutions in the field of environmental protection. During one session, Professor Masaru Yarime talked about the role that “smart cities” play in their efforts against climate change, while “smart buildings” were the focus for Professor Christophe Cérin and Professor Wolfgang Ketter gave an insight into “smart markets”. Questions revolved around sustainable and future-proof urban living – and as such served as a good introduction to the DWIH annual focus topic for 2020, namely “Cities and Climate”.
As a platform for Japanese-German-French exchange, the DWIH Tokyo is particularly good at establishing connections and contacts that have long-term impact. “These three countries can achieve possible important cooperative ventures on the path towards digital transformation”, says Professor Michihiko Minoh, Executive Director of RIKEN, which is Japan’s largest non-university research institution. Minoh was one of the high-ranking participants in the DWIH Forum on AI in Healthcare that took place in December 2019.
“Together, data science and data protection form the basis for innovations”, explains Minoh. “Since I am responsible for these topics at RIKEN, the DWIH forum aroused my interest.” Minoh spoke during the forum’s closing panel, which was chaired by Dr Kazuhiro Sakurada, deputy programme director of the RIKEN Medical Sciences Innovation Hub, and by Professor Klaus Juffernbruch, chairman of the expert group on “Intelligent Networks in Healthcare” for the German Federal Government’s Digital Summit. Sakurada and Juffernbruch already played an important part in the 1st Japanese-German-French DWIH Symposium on Artificial Intelligence in 2018.
The value of academic networks is also evident in the collaboration between the DWIH Tokyo and its supporters: “Our supporters have their own wide-ranging networks that benefit us in our work”, says DWIH Director Mahnke. For instance, the German-Japanese Association of Jurists (DJJV) – a new member of the group of DWIH supporters since 2019 – was a partner in “LegalTech: Artificial Intelligence in Law and Judiciary – Chances and Risks”, an event conducted at Keio University in Tokyo in October 2019. As another example of far-reaching networking, Mahnke also cites the “Quantifying Dynamics of Life” Winter School that was co-hosted by the universities of Heidelberg and Kyoto and brought young scientists from the fields of medicine, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology and engineering together in this traditional Japanese university city.
“Building up contacts and networks is particularly important in Japan”, stresses Sabine Schenk, who heads Heidelberg University’s office in Kyoto. “The university partnership between Heidelberg and Kyoto has evolved over many years and offers wide scope for expert exchange in all kinds of fields. At the same time, our collaboration with the DWIH allows us to benefit from its contacts and connections to the capital, Tokyo.” An event held in December 2019 illustrated just how valuable this collaboration is: two days after the DWIH Forum on AI in Healthcare, big data expert Professor Thomas Ganslandt, a medical informatics specialist at Heidelberg University, also gave a talk at the University of Kyoto. He presented the German MIRACUM consortium, which comprises ten university hospitals, two universities and an industrial partner, explaining that its aim is to utilise clinical data, imaging data and data from molecular and genomic studies.
Which research findings and concrete applications will advance humankind? This question is the central focus each year of the global Falling Walls Lab innovation competition staged by the DWIH Tokyo and EURAXESS. The main prize in 2019 was awarded to the Canadian materials scientist Collin Stecker from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology for his contribution to a versatile and inexpensive solar cell system. Riku Yamada from Japan, a physics student at the University of Tokyo, won the first ever Entrepreneurship Prize awarded by the initiative Research in Germany for his innovative ideas for reusing food waste. “We also believe it is very important to support young researchers”, emphasises Dorothea Mahnke. “After all, future topics such as AI and sustainability are taken very seriously at the DWIH Tokyo.”
DWIH Moments 2019
DWIH Moments 2019
LASTING EXCHANGE IN TOKYO
AI and medicine were addressed in a variety of ways in Tokyo
The Forum provided opportunities for exchange not only between researchers and experts, but also between representatives of businesses and regulatory authorities. The audience was able to contribute during working groups and discussion sessions. “We felt it was important to create space for genuine dialogue, as well as for critical follow-up questions”, says Konstanze Lang. Topics ranged from the social acceptance of artificial intelligence in medicine, which Dr Kiyoyuki Chinzei from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) talked about, to the challenge posed by charging for AI services in healthcare, as presented by Julia Hagen from the “health innovation hub” of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health. Konstanze Lang’s successor Laura Blecken is also committed to lasting exchange – she already coordinated the trilateral conference on “AI for SDGs” in Tokyo in 2019.
Working together for innovations in artificial intelligence
Dr Sandrine Maximilien, the science attaché at the French Embassy in Tokyo, sums up the goal that was defined when a special trilateral exchange was launched: “to bring together 400 of the best experts and policy-makers from Japan, Germany and France to brainstorm about the possibilities of working together”. Generally speaking, the same principles apply to the preparations for the 1st Japanese-German-French DWIH Symposium on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in December 2018 as do to the far-reaching trilateral cooperation: “The objectives of the DWIH are similar to those of the Service for Science and Technology at the French Embassy: to promote our countries’ science, research and innovation, to advise researchers, and to develop the scientific network and cooperation.” Thanks to this good collaboration in Japan, it seemed only logical to join forces and initiate a trilateral exchange on matters of common interest, with the DWIH serving as the organising institution.
AI IN AGRICULTURE
In the meantime, the DWIH Tokyo and its partners have been staging follow-up events to strategically drive forward the trilateral exchange. “AI for SDGs – How can AI help solve environmental challenges?” was the title of a conference that the DWIH Tokyo, the French Embassy and the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) hosted in October 2019. The considerable interest in Japanese-German-French cooperation is clear from the fact that around 160 people attended the conference, while more than 300 watched the internet stream in the first two weeks after the event alone. The importance of such collaboration is also corroborated by Professor Cornelia Weltzien, a scientist at Technische Universität Berlin and at the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Bioeconomy in Potsdam – as well as Germany’s leading expert in digital farming. In a lecture she gave during the conference, she explained the potential offered by AI applications for eco-friendly agriculture.
As Weltzien points out, such trilateral events provide an opportunity not only for networking, but also for some inspiring conversations about all kinds of issues. During the conference on “AI for SDGs”, she met representatives of disciplines such as the social and environmental sciences, and gained a better understanding of viewpoints from other countries – which she believes makes this a more multi-layered exchange than that experienced at international conferences within her own research community. At the same time, Weltzien values the chance to share ideas and experiences with French and Japanese experts in her field of information-based agriculture. “While France and Germany are broadly similar in terms of climatic conditions, cultivation methods and crops, with only slight differences between professional agricultural enterprises, the climate, farming approaches and crop types we encounter in Japan are entirely different.”
In the exchange promoted by the DWIH Tokyo, consideration is given to every possible facet of AI. “The current discussion about AI also revolves around value”, explains the Japanese expert Professor Arisa Ema from the Institute for Future Initiatives at the University of Tokyo, which is why she particularly appreciated the broad-ranging discourse of the first trilateral DWIH symposium on artificial intelligence. As Ema stresses: “It is important to consider how the roles and responsibilities of people and machines should be distributed as information technology permeates various fields such as medical care and driverless cars.”
Arisa Ema is committed to ensuring that this special form of exchange continues. During the conference on “AI for SDGs”, she chaired a session on applications of artificial intelligence in sustainable “smart cities”, and the following day organised a seminar at the University of Tokyo with a German and a Japanese speaker from the DWIH event. As a member of the organisational committee, she is also playing a key role in the 2nd Japanese-German-French DWIH Symposium on AI in November 2020. Thus the Japanese expert is proving through her own personal commitment how the trilateral exchange is successfully continuing.
“It’s a pleasure to combine our strengths”
“It’s a pleasure to combine our strengths”
Three questions for Dr Christian Geltinger, Chief Representative of the State of Bavaria – Japan Office
Japan is one of Bavaria’s most important partners in Asia when it comes to innovations, investments and bilateral economic relations. This was already the case in 1988 when the representation was established in Tokyo by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs; it was the first time a German state had been represented in Japan. We build a wide-spanning bridge to cover numerous aspects of German-Japanese exchange. As a result, business and research are interlinked, particularly via the Bavarian clusters in key sectors such as the automotive industry, medical technology, bio- and nanotechnology, and mechatronics.
What role does artificial intelligence (AI), the DWIH’s focus topic for 2019, play for Bavaria in its activities with Japanese partners?
Bavaria regards AI as a key technology in the digital transformation process with a wide range of possible applications, for example in the future of driverless vehicles, modern medical diagnostics, smart energy supply, efficient logistics or infrastructure security in cyberspace. Platforms are already in place for all of these topics, and an exchange is underway with Japan that is to be further expanded in the future. In 2019, the top-class universities TU Munich and University of Tokyo staged a DWIH-supported workshop on AI and ethics in mobility. Naturally, we also intend to present the Bavarian AI strategy and perspective at the 2nd Japanese-German-French Symposium on Artificial Intelligence in November 2020.
What significance does the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo have for your work?
The DWIH Tokyo is a very welcome and effective partner when it comes to networking our scientists and innovators. That’s why we were immediately willing and happy to become a member of the DWIH Advisory Board and to play an active role in working groups and meetings. We see clear synergies and scope for leveraging, especially with a view to raising both our profiles. Last but not least it is also a pleasure to work together with the DWIH Tokyo’s highly competent team and the other Advisory Board members and to combine our strengths. I believe that this is also highly valued by our Japanese partners. Incidentally, in 2020 a DWIH networking day will be taking place at the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs in Munich – further evidence of our close exchange.