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DWIH Annual Report 2020

Logo https://pageflow.daad.de/dwih-annual-report-2020

Introduction

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Focus on the five DWIH locations

DWIH at a glance

• five innovation forums at five prominent locations
• an initiative of politics, business and science
• more than 100 supporters worldwide
• centrally coordinated by the DAAD in Bonn

Tokyo

German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo

New Delhi

German Centre for Research and Innovation New Delhi

New York

German Center for Research and Innovation New York

São Paulo

German Centre for Research and Innovation São Paulo

Bonn

DWIH Management Office Bonn

Moscow

German Centre for Research and Innovation Moscow

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Imprint

Publisher
Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst e.V. (DAAD)

Kennedyallee 50
53175 Bonn (Germany)

Tel.: +49 228 882-0
Fax: +49 228 882-444

E-mail: webmaster@daad.de
Internet: www.daad.de

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 Kai Sicks

Publishing House
FAZIT Communication GmbH
Frankfurt am Main

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Director
Dr Andreas Hoeschen (DAAD)

Programme Manager
Mikhail Rusakov

Advisory Board Chair
Tobias Stüdemann (Freie Universität Berlin)

Address
German Centre for Research and Innovation Moscow
Prospekt Wernadskogo 103
Building 3, Entrance 2
119526 Moskau, Russland

Contact
info@dwih-moskau.org
www.dwih-moskau.org

Supporters of the DWIH Moscow
www.dwih-moskau.org/ru/set-kontaktov/podderzhivayushhie-ogranizatsii

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Dr Andreas Hoeschen, Director of the DWIH Moscow
Dr Andreas Hoeschen, Director of the DWIH Moscow
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“At the DWIH Moscow, we ­support cooperation between German and Russian partners in the areas of science, higher education and business. In a country as huge as Russia, with its wide network of science centres, our aim is to reach out to the relevant actors in the regions, too. We believe a partnership approach is important, and most of our events are co-organised. This ensures from the outset that many highly competent target groups are reached on the Russian side.”

Dr Andreas Hoeschen

“When the coronavirus pandemic got underway in the spring of 2020, I never imagined that we’d be able to run so many events”, says Dr Andreas Hoeschen, director of the DWIH Moscow. As coronavirus spread, the DWIH Moscow switched many of its events online – with great success. “The digital solutions not only enabled us to keep staging our events. We actually reached more people than before because participants did not have to travel specially to the events.”

The new solutions included virtual fairs: participants could take a digital stroll around the booths of German and Russian universities, research institutions and organisations that promote science. The individual organisations set up virtual rooms in which participants could browse through digital brochures and watch presentations on a screen, familiarising themselves with the various funding and cooperation programmes. In addition, personal advice was on offer, either in the form of a live chat or in some cases via video. One such matchmaking fair for higher education cooperation and science in November attracted more than 400 participants.

This wide-ranging exchange was characteristic for a year that saw the DWIH Moscow focus on one particular area: being the coordinator of the German-Russian Year of University Collaboration and Research 2018–2020, the DWIH Moscow ran all activities of the German side in Russia. Over 100 joint events organised by science partners from both countries covered a wide range of topics relating to the four themes of higher education cooperation, cutting-edge research, support for young researchers, and innovation. This diversity was also reflected in the various event formats used in 2020, which extended from meetings for ­students in St. Petersburg at the start of the year to an online DWIH info seminar for universities, research organisations and innovative companies in Siberia.

One central feature was the competition “Bridges for German-Russian Higher Education and Research Cooperation” that saw 25 winning German-Russian projects receive awards at the theme year’s closing event. A fair and two panel discussions likewise formed part of the closing event, partici­pants taking part from studios in Berlin and Moscow. Leading representatives of the German-Russian science community discussed formats and instruments as well as priorities for future bilateral science cooperation; the entire event was open to the public, audience members being able to join the discussion at any time via a video chat. The theme year’s website, ­wissenschaftspartner.de, is still accessible, ensuring that the conversation continues.

EXCHANGE WITH BUSINESS
The DWIH Moscow always involves the business community in its activities, too. One of its key supporters is the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Russia) with its 900 members. The AHK takes part in events relating to the transfer and application of science. It approaches those of its member companies that are interested in the individual topics. Last year, the AHK helped organise a three-part online event ser­ies entitled “The Post-pandemic City”. It focused on future-proof and ecological urban planning, as well as addressing specific issues concerning social welfare systems, health care and new labour market conditions. Another seminar on “Ecologically Pure and Comfortable Urban Environment in Conditions of Climate Change” was organised in partnership with the Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU) and Knauf, a German company that manufactures building materials and is highly active in Russia.

Finding answers together – both for the future and for the current challenges posed by the pandemic: this was also the focus of the “German-Russian Week of the Young Researcher” that was already staged for the tenth time in December 2020 by the DWIH Moscow, the DAAD and the DFG. This time, 200 young researchers took part in the online format. “They provided impressive proof of how they are maintaining their collaboration despite the coronavirus restrictions”, says Andreas Hoeschen. The event also brought leading representatives of the German and Russian science communities together. In one of two panels, speakers included DAAD President Professor Joybrato Mukherjee and DFG President Professor Katja Becker, as well as Professor Vladislav Panchenko, Chairman of the Board of the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, and Dr Alexander Khlunov, Director General of the Russian Science Foundation (RSF).

When planning future events, the DWIH Moscow intends to consider digital formats as a matter of course. At the same time, stresses Hoeschen, face-to-face exchange is indispensable when it comes to building trust between partners. During the exceptional circumstances of 2020, the trust that had already been established over the course of many years provided a solid foundation for German-Russian relations. “We should give equal consideration to both the digital side and face-to-face encounters.”

Author
Hendrik Bensch
Dr Andreas Hoeschen, Director of the DWIH Moscow
Dr Andreas Hoeschen, Director of the DWIH Moscow
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THE POWER OF DIGITAL NETWORKS

Mikhail Rusakov, Programme Manager of the DWIH Moscow
Mikhail Rusakov, Programme Manager of the DWIH Moscow
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The DWIH’s focus topic for 2020, “Cities and Climate”, had of course originally been planned without any thought of a coronavirus pandemic. “But we then adapted the content accordingly”, explains Mikhail Rusakov, Programme Manager at the DWIH Moscow. Together with the DAAD and the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Russia) in Saint Petersburg, the DWIH staged an online series entitled “The Post-pandemic City” to highlight how much pressure there is on big cities to change.

New opportunities in Moscow

Which new blend of working from home and office-based work is becoming the norm – and how is this changing urban lifestyles? Will new parks and green refuges be created instead of office buildings? These are just some examples of the numerous topics discussed by experts from Germany and Russia. The many facets of the DWIH focus topic were also showcased by the seminar on “Ecologically Pure and Comfortable Urban Environment in Conditions of Climate Change” organised in partnership with the Moscow State University of Civil Engineering (MGSU) and Knauf, a German company that manufactures building materials. Via video conference, the experts talked about research in areas such as air, water and building materials.

Mikhail Rusakov and the DWIH Moscow team took ­advantage of the opportunities offered by digital ­networks. For example, an info event in the city of Tomsk, which was originally intended to focus only on the local region, was expanded to become an online seminar for students and researchers throughout ­Siberia.
Mikhail Rusakov, Programme Manager of the DWIH Moscow
Mikhail Rusakov, Programme Manager of the DWIH Moscow
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A theme year filled with success

A view of the International Space Station ISS: another example of German-Russian cooperation
A view of the International Space Station ISS: another example of German-Russian cooperation
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By coordinating the German-Russian Year of University Collaboration and Research 2018–2020, the DWIH Moscow specifically supported the bilateral culture of innovation. This was also reflected in a wide-ranging competition.

Expectations were high, and the year was a resounding success: “The German-Russian Year of University Collaboration and Research 2018–2020 showcased both the diversity and the tradition of bilateral cooperation”, says Nicole Rohde, who coordin­ated the numerous events for the DWIH Moscow on the German side, working together with the DAAD and its Russian partner, the National University of Science and Technology (MISIS). “The theme year was a great success because it provided a stage for bilateral ­research and science cooperation and significantly ­increased its profile among the wider public.”
One format that stood out particularly during the theme year was the competition “Bridges for German-Russian Higher Education and Research Cooperation”, which attracted 125 applications. Finally, in September 2020, a total of 25 cooperative ventures were singled out for awards by the foreign ministers of Germany and Russia, Heiko Maas and Sergey Lavrov. The projects were diverse, ranging from a dialogue project by German and Russian youngsters relating to history and memory, to the strategic partnership between the Technische Universität Berlin and the  St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU).

At the same time, the competition drew attention to innovations that German and Russian partners are jointly pursuing – in a whole host of different ways in the area of artificial intelligence. For example, the close exchange between two professors from the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) Berlin and the Ershov Institute of Informatic Systems in Novosibirsk won an award. Together, they are helping to further internationalise a summer school that is devoted to exploring new issues in computer science and artificial intelligence. Another partnership that was honoured, between the Ulm University and the Reshetnev Siberian State University of Science and Technology, has already seen more than 30 years of collaboration in artificial intelligence studies and research.

A FOCUS ON PRACTICE
In some cases, the competition winners focus on highly concrete innovations: a prize was given for example to the cooperation between the University of Duisburg-Essen and the National University of Science and Technology (MISIS) in Moscow that involves the scientists of both institutions conducting joint research into a new method of combating cancer. They are using magnetic nanoparticles that are injected into the relevant regions of the cancer patient’s body. This magnetite can be heated, allowing the tumour to be destroyed while leaving the healthy tissue unharmed. “The competition gave us the feeling that our international cooperation is supported and valued”, said Russian Project Coordinator Professor Maxim Abakumov.

Even the advancement of space travel was featured: the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Institute for Biomedical Problems (IBMP) at the Russian Acad­emy of Sciences won an award for their experiments on the International Space Station (ISS). In the “E-Nose” project pursued during the German-Russian Year, the two partners devised innovative technologies with which to identify microbial contamination at places that are difficult to access on board the ISS. In the future, the “electronic nose” could also be used in the healthcare sector to diagnose disease via exhaled air. Considerable hopes are pinned on this application, especially in view of its potential use during pandemics.

Furthermore, the bilateral team has developed hardware in the “Neurolab” project that allows the crew’s brain activity to be analysed with an unprecedented degree of resolution during the complex process of docking a supply ship to the ISS. “During the German-Russian Year, many meetings were arranged with colleagues at the IBMP, which allowed us to continue with our experiments”, says Dr Christian Rogon, “Neurolab” coordinator at the DLR, adding that it is now time to reap the fruits of the theme year.

Author
Benjamin Haerdle
A view of the International Space Station ISS: another example of German-Russian cooperation
A view of the International Space Station ISS: another example of German-Russian cooperation
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Three questions for Professor Nina Danilina, Head of the Department of Urban Planning at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering MGSU (National Research University)

Professor Nina Danilina, Head of the Department of Urban Planning at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering MGSU (National Research University)
Professor Nina Danilina, Head of the Department of Urban Planning at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering MGSU (National Research University)
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Professor Danilina, the focus topic of the DWIH ­Moscow in 2020 was “Cities and Climate”. How ­significant is sustainable urban development for Moscow?
Moscow, like all world capitals, is facing the consequences of climate change. For example, ­extreme weather conditions dictate an increased interest in the kind of city we want to live in and how we can ensure that Moscow successfully tackles the challenge posed by climate change. Studying ways to develop the city sustainably and adapt it to climate change is therefore one of the most relevant areas.

In June 2020, you took part in an online event staged by the DWIH Moscow and the German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK Russia) entitled “The Post-pandemic City: How should future-proof cities be planned?”. What did you take away from the event?
It was a very interesting opportunity to ­exchange ideas with international participants and ­colleagues. Despite the restrictions on our mobility, the coronavirus pandemic has united the professional community in the field of long-term urban development. During the event we ­defined common approaches relevant to the ­cities of the future, regardless of their location: polycentric settlement systems, green mobility, development of public spaces and other. I want to emphasize the fact that everyone agreed that cities will change in the future. In the very near future, once the COVID-19 situation has stabilised, it will be time to study the consequences of the pandemic, determine forecasts and research and implement specific measures that will help cities adapt to the changed conditions. This will be a new topic to discuss with ­colleagues at such events.

What do you value generally about the work of the DWIH Moscow?
The DWIH’s work in Russia is important because it coordinates exchange between Germany and Russia. In my field of urban ­planning, this gives impetus to the acquisition of new theoretical and practical knowledge and its further implementation in professional activities.

Interview
Johannes Göbel

Professor Nina Danilina, Head of the Department of Urban Planning at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering MGSU (National Research University)
Professor Nina Danilina, Head of the Department of Urban Planning at Moscow State University of Civil Engineering MGSU (National Research University)
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Director
Dr Katja Lasch (DAAD)

Programme Manager
Aadishree Jamkhedkar

Advisory Board Chair
Dr Matthias Kiesselbach (German Research Foundation – DFG)

Address
German Centre for Research and Innovation New Delhi
21 Jor Bagh
New Delhi – 110003, India

Contact
info@dwih-newdelhi.org
www.dwih-newdelhi.org

Supporters of the DWIH New Delhi
www.dwih-newdelhi.org/en/network/supporters
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Dr Katja Lasch, Director of the DWIH New Delhi
Dr Katja Lasch, Director of the DWIH New Delhi
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“What can we facilitate as the DWIH New Delhi? What does India have to offer German small and medium-sized enterprises in the research sector? What do they need in order to award research contracts in India? This is the field in which the DWIH New Delhi intends to position itself more robustly in the future, together with its partners. Funding of science-based entre­preneurship is also oriented towards our long-term strategic goals, allowing us to plug into a gap in the ­German-Indian context.”

Dr Katja Lasch

The DWIH New Delhi is constantly expanding its activities both on site and in the digital domain – encompassing social media, a wide range of online formats, plus various concepts for conventional conferences and seminars.
From the outset, it was planned to organise selected events of the DWIH virtually. The strategic idea, already set in 2019, is to increase DWIH’s outreach across India. The strategy paid off in 2020. During the pandemic, the DWIH New Delhi was quickly able to switch most of its events to online formats. “After a reflection on the situation, we realised that we should focus on the opportunities of going digital and make the best out of it”, recalls DWIH New Delhi Director Dr Katja Lasch.

WIDENING AUDIENCES
The DWIH New Delhi’s successful “Science Circle Lecture” format continued throughout the year – on site in January and March, and online in July, September and November. The DWIH covered a wide range of topics with its events; these included how to deal with plastic waste, the role of public healthcare systems during a pandemic, nutrition and child health, Blue Economy and sustainable livelihood. “As part of our online strategy, we use our social media channels in a targeted manner and reach out to different target groups by offering them content they would be interested in”, explains the director, adding that the ­response to the virtual Science Circle Lectures in particular has confirmed that this is the right strategy. “We were not only able to engage our existing ­audience, but also to gain new audience from subject areas of the events.”

The DWIH New Delhi also established a new online format, its “Web-Talk” series. Experts and interested audience from India and Germany discussed in several web-talks ongoing research and case studies on a ­topic selected by the DWIH. In July 2020, this included the DWIH’s focus topic of “Cities and Climate”. For three days, several international researchers discussed ­urban mobility, flooding and flood management in cities, and the opportunities for environmental ­research impacted by the pandemic. “Many exciting projects were presented on the subject of mobility in cities, for example; innovative solutions for parking and traffic problems, new technologies and concepts for eco-friendly mobility”, reports DWIH Programme Manager Aadishree Jamkhedkar.

Furthermore, the Web-Talks were an opportunity to present perspectives beyond India and Germany. “We were able to get speakers for our Web-Talks via the DWIHs in Moscow and New York”, says Jamkhedkar. As Katja Lasch adds: “We succeeded to expand our network and use global scientific discourse to enrich the German-Indian perspective.”

SUCCESS IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
The Indo-German Research Day organised by the DWIH New Delhi in December 2020 was a virtual event that surpassed all expectations. The DWIH team had anticipated around 300 participants, but more than 1,800 joined the live event. Four panel discussions were on offer and were watched by up to 800 viewers. “In parallel to the live panels, we organised a virtual fair to present research institutions and funding opportunities for different target groups – from young researchers to experienced scientists”, explains Programme Manager Jamkhedkar. A networking lounge facilitated targeted networking amongst the participants. “The Research Day was also a chance to put a large number of institutions from the entire German research landscape, including our supporters, in touch with the target groups from India”, says Director Katja Lasch, summing up as follows: “The positive feedback shows that our key events can be ideally complemented by digital formats in the future.”

After a year full of challenges, Lasch extends particular thanks to her entire DWIH team: “Everyone joined hands. Despite the difficult situation, we were able to successfully achieve much of what we had planned. These new experiences will stand us in good stead for our future work after the pandemic, when digital formats will continue to play an important part.”

Author
Bettina Mittelstrass
Dr Katja Lasch, Director of the DWIH New Delhi
Dr Katja Lasch, Director of the DWIH New Delhi
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NEW WAYS TO COOPERATE

Aadishree Jamkhedkar, Programme Manager of the DWIH New Delhi
Aadishree Jamkhedkar, Programme Manager of the DWIH New Delhi
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How best to strategically showcase topics for lasting impact? This was the challenge in 2020 for DWIH New Delhi Programme Manager Aadishree Jamkhedkar, who continued her work successfully despite the ­coronavirus pandemic. One good example is the new format for the “Blue Economy” thematic focus that was jointly developed with the ­Leibniz Institute for Maritime History.

Networking in New Delhi

“We organised a Blue Economy workshop to get young scientists from India and Germany together to discuss topical research fields of common interest. This also presented an opportunity to initiate new cooperative projects and networks”, explains Jamkhedkar. “At the same time, we were keen for the workshop to have a clear relevance to ‘Cities and Climate’, our strategic focus topic in 2020.” The DWIH New Delhi also achieved this in its three-part web talk series on ­“Cities and Climate”; it explored for example the risk of flooding due to climate change and the potential offered by mobility solutions. In addition, collabor­ation within the global DWIH network was stepped up: the DWIH Moscow and the DWIH New York each ­provided a speaker for the web talk series, widening the breadth of specialist and international perspectives. “We are determined to follow up on this”, says Aadishree ­Jamkhedkar. “In 2021, we will be looking especially at ways to cooperate with the DWIHs in São Paulo and Tokyo.”
Aadishree Jamkhedkar, Programme Manager of the DWIH New Delhi
Aadishree Jamkhedkar, Programme Manager of the DWIH New Delhi
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A well-timed online strategy for success

The DWIH New Delhi is also an established meeting place in the digital world
The DWIH New Delhi is also an established meeting place in the digital world
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Even before the corona crisis, the DWIH New Delhi had been stepping up its digital activities systematically.

The desire to foster networking and exchange on all aspects of innovation, not only in the capital but throughout India, spurred the use of digital tools at the DWIH New Delhi at an early stage. When conventional conferences and meetings were also prevented from taking place in India because of the corona­virus pandemic, the DWIH was ready to quickly move its events online. In early May 2020, for example, a new web-talk series about research-based start-ups was launched, its content having already been prepared long in advance.

“We had developed new online content even before the corona crisis”, says Garima Behal, PR and Communications Officer at the DWIH New Delhi since the end of 2018. “A communication strategy for social media was also developed. The focus was on addressing the right target group with the right content using the right channel so as to create added value for our audience.”

TARGETED POSTING OF DWIH TOPICS
At the first web-talk, Indian entrepreneurs had been invited to learn more about Germany’s funding and innovation ecosystem. Three further web-talks staged during the summer revolved around “Cities and Climate”, which was the DWIH’s focus topic in 2020. “Throughout the year, we posted a variety of content relating to this topic in a targeted manner on social media”, reports Garima Behal.

At the DWIH New Delhi, in other words, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn serve not only to convey information about events. “In addition, we have been using the channels to present German and Indian perspectives on the subject and to provide details of scholarships and funding opportunities, for example”, explains Behal. “We have also posted strategy papers from governments and think tanks. We have conducted interviews with policymakers and identified Indo-German collaborative research projects in the area of climate protection which we then published on our website and on social media.” Addit­ionally, a digital newsletter was created that proved successful right from the outset, attracting around 500 subscribers. Each newsletter features one current research topic and offers insights from different perspectives.

PRECISE ANALYSIS OF THE TARGET GROUPS
This success can be attributed to a systematic strategy and planning. A precise target group analysis forms the basis for the DWIH New Delhi’s communication strategy, as does a long-term agenda for online content. Both of these elements tie in with the centre’s overarching strategy and are designed specifically to expand the Indo-German networks at the level of science and research-based industry in the online sphere, explains Dr Katja Lasch, director of the DWIH New Delhi. “In our view, a systematic approach is crucial. We want not only to increase the number of our followers, but also to target those people who are most relevant for us and to motivate them to interact. ” For example, science journalists in India use Twitter a lot, while scientists and science-oriented companies are best reached via LinkedIn.

One way the DWIH team can tell that its new online strategy is working is the increased traffic on its website. “The number of people interested in our content has nearly doubled”, says Garima Behal. “There is also more interaction, engagement and active dialogue about our regular posts, and more people are using social media to sign up to our events.

“The goal for the coming years is to systematically advance and hone the online strategy. Not all the event formats that had to be offered online in 2020 are perfectly suited to this. “Spreading information across this huge country can be done very well online and thus meets one of the central objectives of the DWIH New Delhi”, says Katja Lasch. “However, when it is a question of co-creation and postdoc workshops for instance, where new research topics and innovations are discussed over the course of several days, the virtual domain has its limits. So, we are looking forward to being able to use our established formats in situ again.” In other words, the recipe for the DWIH New Delhi’s success in future will continue to lie in pursuing a balanced strategy tailored to meet specific needs of the target groups.

Author
Bettina Mittelstrass
The DWIH New Delhi is also an established meeting place in the digital world
The DWIH New Delhi is also an established meeting place in the digital world
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Three questions for Sharif Qamar, Area Convener at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi

Sharif Qamar, Area Convener at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi
Sharif Qamar, Area Convener at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi
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Mr Qamar, you are an expert in sustainable mobility. What is the relevance of this topic in India?
The consequences of climate change are clearly evident in India in the form of frequent rainfall and a sharp increase in cyclone events. Climate change affects everyone, not only the poor and underprivileged. According to a current study by the Swiss organisation IQAir, 22 of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India. In India, transport is the second largest contributor to CO2 emissions. Sustainable mobility, under the ­overall mission of a low-carbon and zero-­emissions transport sector, is very important for the country. Currently, the number of cars per capita in Delhi is as high as in major cities of ­Europe or North America. The extreme air pol­lution caused by traffic has serious impacts on the people of Delhi. In addition, proliferation of private vehicles is not ideal from the equity ­perspective. That is why we should really focus on public transport solutions to reduce the ­number of vehicles and emissions.

Where do you see the greatest opportunities for more climate-friendly urban development in the area of mobility?
Looking at the costs, emissions per capita and ­lifecycle perspective, it makes absolute sense to have a more bus-based public transport system in Indian cities. But we should not forget that ­India is quite diverse; other categories of vehicles like trams or metro could also form the basis for a more sustainable public transport system. The main task is to work on the appropriate ­infrastructure and policy frameworks. Also, the energy efficiency of vehicles and fuels has to be improved. Cleaner engines have been developed in recent years, but we have to keep this mo­mentum going. Potential also lies in alternative fuels like hydrogen and biofuels. The deployment of electric cars can be a successful short/medium-­term strategy, but in the long run, ­public ­transport systems based on renewable energy could reduce CO2 emissions more effectively.

In 2020, you were a speaker at DWIH New Delhi’s web-talk series “Cities and Climate”. What did you take away from the event series?
It was a very valuable opportunity to learn from different international experiences of the ­challenges of sustainable development. Apart from some regional differences, all the world’s major cities are facing the same problems and challenges. And all cities need to follow a holistic and better planning approach if they are to ­become more liveable communities.

Interview
Johannes Göbel
Sharif Qamar, Area Convener at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi
Sharif Qamar, Area Convener at The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) in New Delhi
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DWIH New York

Director
Benedikt Brisch (DAAD)

Program Manager
Dr. Kathrin DiPaola

Advisory Board Chair
Professor Kurt H. Becker
(NYU Tandon School of Engineering)

Address
German Center for Research and Innovation New York
871 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017, USA

Contact
info@dwih-newyork.org
www.dwih-newyork.org

Supporters of the DWIH New York
www.dwih-newyork.org/en/network/supporters
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Benedikt Brisch, Director of the DWIH New York
Benedikt Brisch, Director of the DWIH New York
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“Science and business are each essential for finding a way out of the Corona-crisis. As rarely before, scientists are involved in political decision-making processes, and companies are also making a crucial contribution to getting the pandemic under control. But innovation is not a foregone conclusion. It’s about creating a framework in which ideas can quickly mature into solutions for as many people as possible. That’s what we’re working on at the DWIH New York.”

Benedikt Brisch


Looking back on 2020, Benedikt Brisch’s focus is not on the COVID-19 pandemic, but rather on the lessons and opportunities that can be taken from the global challenge. “COVID-19 is proof that you can only tackle highly complex global problems with international cooperation,” emphasizes the Director of DWIH New York. “This succeeds particularly well when you make opportunities to exchange ideas cre­atively and generate momentum for innovative solutions. In the transatlantic context, this is precisely one of our most important goals.”

Accomplishing this goal was also the focus of the three-part event series “COVID-19 and the Future of Our Cities,” which the DWIH New York realized together with the Ruhr University Alliance and the global network of Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI). At the series launch in May 2020, Professor Don Carter, Senior Research Fellow at Carnegie ­Mellon University’s Remaking Cities Institute, set the tone for the series: “The Lockdown has profoundly changed the way we use the city, but it will also have long-term implications for how we see our cities in the future.” 

This dynamic of urban change was demonstrated by focal points on social inequality in post-industrial ­cities, green architecture, and the future of work in metropolitan areas. A large number of experts from German and American universities and institutions provided valuable input, always with the aim of bringing together as many different perspectives and ex­periences as possible. One critical issue, for example, was the discrimination of non-white communities in healthcare, which, according to Professor Françoise Knox-Kazimierczuk from the College of Allied Health at the University of Cincinnati, is still evident in many American cities including post-industrial cities like Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Issues in architecture and urban planning also emphasized the importance of equitable access to urban green spaces. 

THE COMPLEXITIES OF CHANGE
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only highlighted the value of sustainable urban development, but is also changing working life in metropolitan areas. “One example is the issue of remote work,” says Benedikt Brisch. “Here in the U.S.,working from home has been implemented much more consistently than in Ger­many. The growth of remote work has provided a strong reason to think very fundamentally about the future of work.”

The future of urban life was central to the DWIH New York’s FUTURE FORUM 2020, which took place in a virtual format from October 14-17. Titled “Building Biopolis,” the event aligned with the DWIH’s focus topic of “Cities and Climate” and brought together a wide range of discussions, ­networking and workshop formats to envision a ­sustainable city of the future. It also reflected on the contradictory role of urban spaces as both creators and problem solvers of the global climate crisis. ­“Cities are places of innovation, or work, of education and science, of ideas. At the same time, they consume massive amounts of energy and condense space and land area,” Benedikt Brisch sums up.

For Berlin-based sustainability expert Solène Wolff, part of the solution lies in overcoming the dichotomy between “urban” and “natural.” The city of the future, Wolff said in her talk “Rewilding the Future,” must first and foremost reduce its still disproportionately high consumption of resources. Although cities make up only 3% of the planet’s total land area, they consume 75% of natural resources. And this gap con­tinues to grow as urbanization does; every seven weeks cities take up an additional global land mass equal to the area of London. This is also a problem ­because the construction and infrastructure sector is responsible for about half of the world’s CO2 emissions, as Ginger Krieg Dosier pointed out in her talk at the FUTURE FORUM. With her company bioMASON, she is working on a more sustainable alternative to traditional, CO2-intensive concrete. “Portland cement, the main ingredient in concrete, is the second most consumed substance on earth after water. Four billion tons are produced each year and account for 8% of CO2 emissions,” she said.

IMPETUS FOR INNOVATION
In 2020, the DWIH New York’s work has once again brought together countless ideas that Benedikt Brisch’s team wants to pursue further with the growing DWIH network. “Our job is not to feed these impulses directly into a product or research publication,” Brisch says. “Rather, we feed them into the discourse of research institutions and companies–those actors who then actually transform them into concrete innov­ations.” In addition, he said, it is central to raise awareness of how much science and business can bene­fit from each other’s innovative power. “There are still fears of contact on both sides here, because we are talking about different approaches to innovation. We also see it as our task to bring these two cultures closer together.” 

Author
Klaus Lüber
Benedikt Brisch, Director of the DWIH New York
Benedikt Brisch, Director of the DWIH New York
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A WIDE RANGE OF EXCHANGE FORMATS

Program Manager Fenner (left) and the team behind the FUTURE FORUM 2020
Program Manager Fenner (left) and the team behind the FUTURE FORUM 2020
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“We took advantage of the opportunities offered by digital networking,” says Dietrich Wolf Fenner, ­Program Manager of DWIH New York from 2019 to 2020. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the DWIH New York developed more digital formats than ini­tially planned including successfully designing the ­virtual spotlight conference the FUTURE FORUM: Building Biopolis. Originally planned to take place in Chicago, the FUTURE FORUM on the topic sustainable urban development became an online event in ­October 2020 with 22 renowned speakers, a wide range of ­exchange formats and an international audience.

Renaturation in New York

“Our increased online presence made us a bit more independent in 2020,” says Fenner. “Detached from a specific venue, the FUTURE FORUM was also open to a wider audience. If nothing else, we reached people in DWIH’s global network.” The “Building Biopolis” audience benefited from a diverse mix of formats: TEDx Talks, virtual networking, workshops, even a “Fireside Chat” on accelerated planning for the “Green City“ were among them. In “Innovation Spotlights,” for example, Berlin-based researcher Solène Wolff presented her vision of the renaturated city, and Erika Allen presented the women-led “Urban Growers Collective” in Chicago, which focuses on the equitable and sustainable distribution of food. That the majority of speakers at the FUTURE FORUM were female was no accident, as Dietrich Wolf Fenner makes clear: “Diversity is of particular concern to the DWIH New York.”
Program Manager Fenner (left) and the team behind the FUTURE FORUM 2020
Program Manager Fenner (left) and the team behind the FUTURE FORUM 2020
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Diversity in Focus

Mridul Agrawal and Nakeema Stefflbauer (bottom row, 3rd and 5th from left) support the initiative #InclusiveResearchGermany
Mridul Agrawal and Nakeema Stefflbauer (bottom row, 3rd and 5th from left) support the initiative #InclusiveResearchGermany
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With the campaign #InclusiveResearchGermany, the DWIH New York has taken up the discussion about diversity and discrimination.

After George Floyd, a Black man, was violently killed during an arrest in Minneapolis in May 2020, people across the U.S. took to the streets to protest racism under the slogan “Black Lives Matter.” In universities and research communities across the U.S. and globally, the events sparked a broad debate about racism in society, culminating in the question of how to overcome discrimination and structural inequality.

“What does this mean for our work?” DWIH Communications Officer Jarred Johnson asked himself. In reflecting on their work representing the German science community, the DWIH New York Team recognized that minorities including those from Black, Hispanic and Asian backgrounds or people from the LBGTQ community had been underrepresented as presenters at events or as interviewees in their newsletter, for example. “We wanted to bring to light the true diversity of the German science and innovation community,” Johnson says.

Thus the idea for a Twitter campaign was born. The communications expert tracked down 30 inspiring people who stand for diversity, including people of color, those with international backgrounds or from the LGBTQ community. Startup founders were among them, as were researchers, professors and politicians. The DWIH New York used their Twitter channel to highlight the work of these 30 individuals using the hashtag #InclusiveResearchGermany.

RESONANCE OF THE CAMPAIGN
The DWIH New York’s German-American audience responded very positively to the initiative. The tweet that launched the campaign was the most successful tweet in the organization’s history, receiving nearly 400 clicks, likes, and retweets. Such a response demonstrates the DWIH New York network’s desire to see ­diversity represented and to engage with content that is timely, impactful and people-oriented. “As the campaign went on, people emailed us to thank us for the initiative and sent us recommendations for other ­people we could feature,” Johnson says.

But the initiative also went beyond the Twitter campaign. The DWIH New York put together a digital folder for its many supporting institutions, including the many German universities with offices in the United States. Among other things, information on topics such as diversity and inclusion in science is collected there. These resources include contact information for diversity and inclusion advisors. “We want to use it to give other German-American organizations ideas on how they can accelerate their own work with the topic,” Johnson says.

The DWIH additionally partnered with the DAAD New York Office to organize a training session on diversity and inclusion. A diversity coach demonstrated the different histories and present-day iterations of ­racism in the U.S. and Germany during the workshop. In small groups, the participants then worked out how they could better address the issue of diversity in their organizations in the future.

The training and the whole initiative have contributed to continued change at the DWIH New York. In the future, the DWIH plans to pay even more attention to diversity when selecting speakers for events. And the topic will also play a greater role in communications in the future. Jarred Johnson emphasizes, “Our work should aim to bring the strengths of German and American collaboration and innovation culture to a diverse audience. To be successful, we need to rep­resent and celebrate the diversity of the scientific ­community.”

Author
Hendrik Bensch

“As a German with Indian roots, I have a natural connection to the topic of diversity and inclusion. I have experienced time and again in different situations, whether as a doctor, scientist or founder, that progress and innovation are only possible through diversity and inclusion. The diversity of people, opinions and lifestyles is enriching and essential for finding the best possible answers to the challenges of our time. That is why I support the important initiative #InclusiveResearchGermany.”

Dr. Mridul Agrawal, founder of iuvando Health and Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School


“Because I am in regular contact with immigrant women through my WomenLoop program, I thought it was especially important to be visible as a mother, immigrant, and experienced IT manager. For women who want to work in IT, I think you can never show enough diversity - regardless of background, marital status or age. All bring certain skills to the table and should feel entitled to make a positive contribution.”

Dr. Nakeema Stefflbauer, founder of the NGO FrauenLoop
Mridul Agrawal and Nakeema Stefflbauer (bottom row, 3rd and 5th from left) support the initiative #InclusiveResearchGermany
Mridul Agrawal and Nakeema Stefflbauer (bottom row, 3rd and 5th from left) support the initiative #InclusiveResearchGermany
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Three questions for Priya S. Nayar, Director, Hochschule Fresenius North America Office

 Priya S. Nayar, Director, Hochschule Fresenius North America Office
Priya S. Nayar, Director, Hochschule Fresenius North America Office
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Ms. Nayar, what links you to the DWIH New York?
As the Director of Hochschule Fresenius in North America, I serve as one of the main supporters of the DWIH. Over the past six years, I have also served on the local program committee and have partnered with DWIH for multiple events. However, my relationship with the DWIH goes as far back as to its opening in New York in 2010, and I remain impressed not only by the scope and ­diversity of the work but also the organization‘s alignment with the institutional vision and goals. It has a who’s-who roster of supporters that span both continents as well as access to various stages where German-American research, innovation and cooperation are promoted.

In December 2020, Hochschule Fresenius cooperated with DWIH New York for the web-talk ­“Rethinking Cities: Smarter, Sustainable, more Livable Communities.” Why is this topic in particular important for Hochschule Fresenius?
Hochschule Fresenius focuses on applied research that is at the intersection of academia and industry. In our web-talk on rethinking ­cities, it was our priority to highlight the human element of sustainability and smart city living while also preserving a spirit of collaboration over competition. We did this by introducing an interdisciplinary expert panel that included ­topics of governance, compliance, energy, architecture and transport with our co-collaborator UAS7. The panel brought to the fore real-world case studies and drew a connection between the practical and the theoretical. It is this unique characteristic that is part of the Hochschule Fresenius ethos to drive the next generation of leaders, thinkers and managers grounded in theory while ready to tackle solutions focused on social impact.

Recently, the DWIH New York put special emphasis on diversity in research. What is your opinion on that topic?

I would like to note that I would identify as a mixed-ethnicity American of Indian origin. I have had the privilege of living and working in mulitple countries and cultures and in doing so I have come to the conclusion that diversity in ­research – both academic and in industry – is ­absolutely essential. It is essential because it is this inclusion of different backgrounds, perspectives, insights and experiences that truly drives the engine of innovation and creativity from a human lens. The next step for us has to be a conscious deliberate effort to assimilate and include diversity in our programs. In recent years, there has been a shift towards more representation – the conversation from gender representation has moved very quickly towards minorities, and I applaud DWIH for taking the inititative in 2020 for addressing the very relevant topic on “strengthening representation”.

Interview
Johannes Göbel

 Priya S. Nayar, Director, Hochschule Fresenius North America Office
Priya S. Nayar, Director, Hochschule Fresenius North America Office
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Director
Dr Jochen Hellmann (DAAD)

Programme Manager
Marcio Weichert

Advisory Board Chair
Sören Metz (Technische Universität München)

Address
German Centre for Research and Innovation São Paulo
Rua Verbo Divino, 1488 – Térreo
04719-904 São Paulo – SP, Brazil

Contact
info@dwih-saopaulo.org
www.dwih-saopaulo.org

Supporters of the DWIH São Paulo
www.dwih-saopaulo.org/en/network/supporters

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Dr Jochen Hellmann, Director of the DWIH São Paulo
Dr Jochen Hellmann, Director of the DWIH São Paulo
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“The path from university to innovative product development encompasses four stages, which the DWIH São Paulo keeps sight of at all times: academic training, basic research, application and ­cooperation with business, and finally pre-commercial development. Because universities and industry in Brazil often operate separately from one another, the long-term strategic task of the DWIH São Paulo is to permanently strengthen this four-link chain.”

Dr Jochen Hellmann

The DWIH São Paulo consolidated its role in Brazil’s science and innovation scene in 2020 and even succeeded in raising its appeal. This is evident among other things from the sharp 76 percent rise in the number of digital followers on LinkedIn since the DWIH switched its event information there from Portuguese to English. “This allowed us to increase bilateral and international interest considerably, not only in our activities but in those of our supporters, as is gradually reflected in the numbers of people taking part in our digital events”, reports Programme Man­ager Marcio Weichert. The live streams of formats that had to take place online because of the coronavirus pandemic, like the Falling Walls Lab and an online talk about the focus topic “Cities and Climate”, were very well received.

ANALOGUE AND VIRTUAL PRESENCE
The final of the innovation competition Falling Walls Lab (FWL) Brazil attracted 1,090 digital viewers in September. The videos that were posted online afterwards also received more clicks than had been ­expected. Around 300 people subsequently watched the innovative ideas of the 14 candidates in the ­national FWL competition and could therefore gain a better understanding of the solutions proposed for issues such as food waste, air pollution, recycling or water supply. “We have become a platform for bilateral ­relations that is recognised as such by the ­government, researchers and science institutions, and is used in both analogue and virtual forms”, says DWIH São Paulo Director Dr Jochen Hellmann, ­adding that this has increased if anything during the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though the pandemic restrictions saw some formats postponed to 2021, the DWIH São Paulo ­remained very present as an important actor in the scientific calendar of 2020 and new initiatives were rolled out. For example, the DWIH supported an attractive online workshop for international students on the subject of urban development. It was organised by the Unisinos University in southern Brazil and by UAS7, an alliance of seven research-oriented German universities of applied sciences with a strong inter­national focus. A collaboration between the DWIH São Paulo, the g.a.s.t. (a German society for academic studies preparation and test development) and the Federal University of Paraná (UFPR) also had an impressive outcome. 700 participants signed up ad hoc for the e-symposium staged in June 2020 on the subject of “Digitisation in foreign language learning as a means of fostering internationalisation in higher education”. “If we had run a face-to-face event, we would probably have been lucky to welcome just ten percent as many”, says Marcio Weichert.

The new series of “Online Talks” on key issues relating to vaccine development, healthcare and the changes in society and higher education brought about by the coronavirus pandemic were also highly successful. Organised in cooperation with the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) in November, the debate about the DWIH’s focus topic ­“Cities and Climate” involved German and Brazilian experts attracting over 100 participants in a discussion of the social, ecological and economic effects of climate change on big cities.

Staged jointly by the DWIH São Paulo and the Brazil Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC), a ­panel session during the SBPC’s annual conference in December 2020 explored science scepticism, infor­mation overload and fake news. Scientists from Brazil and Germany discussed barriers to communication both within the academic community and between it and society. “Trust in and communication of science are key issues, especially in the context of the pandemic”, stresses Marcio Weichert.

EXCHANGE WITH BUSINESS
With the aim of promoting exchange with business and industry, the DWIH São Paulo further expanded its relations with the German-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce (AHK São Paulo) in 2020. The German-­Brazilian Innovation Congress, which was organized once again by the AHK in cooperation with the DWIH in 2020, featured some inspiring online lectures, for example about the impetus that the coronavirus ­pandemic can give to a sustainable circular economy and an eco-friendly market. Furthermore, the DWIH São Paulo was a partner in the AHK’s “Startups ­Connected” competition, co-organizing the “Sustainable Brazil” category. The winning German start-up receives broad-ranging support and advice from the DWIH and the AHK São Paulo to help it gain a foothold on the Brazilian market. “We are also opening doors by promoting advanced ­qualification and training”, emphasises DWIH ­Director Jochen Hellmann. However, despite the many innovative new online offerings, which the DWIH is keen to continue as hybrid formats, he ­also stresses the importance of “trust on the three-­dimensional level”: “To reduce fears and reticence, and to increase exchange between the worlds of ­higher education and business, people need actually to meet in person and get to know one other – and that isn’t possible in the virtual domain.” 

Author
Bettina Mittelstrass
Dr Jochen Hellmann, Director of the DWIH São Paulo
Dr Jochen Hellmann, Director of the DWIH São Paulo
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THE VALUE OF SCIENCE

Marcio Weichert, Programme Manager of the DWIH São Paulo
Marcio Weichert, Programme Manager of the DWIH São Paulo
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The DWIH São Paulo was transformed into a TV studio in September 2020. Online talks about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on society and science had already been streamed by the DWIH; September then saw a major competition broadcast – the Falling Walls Lab Brazil. “We worked together with a professional film team”, reports DWIH São Paulo Programme Manager Marcio Weichert. His hosting of the event, the presentation of the 14 candidates who were taking part via video links, and of course the awards ceremony, were all filmed – the live stream alone attracting an audience of more than 1,000.

Strong dialogue in São Paulo

The main prize of the Falling Walls Lab Brazil competition went to Jonas Cunha da Silva, a student of bioprocess engineering at the Federal University of Pará (UFPA), for his idea of a liquid bioplastic made of fruit skins that could be used as a protective film to increase the shelf-life of foods. Five prizes were awarded in all, including an audience prize decided by a viewer vote. The DWIH São Paulo promotes audience-friendly science communication in a variety of ways. Its partnership with the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) was institutionalised in 2020, while a jointly organised online event about science communication sparked a lively debate on the internet. As Marcio Weichert emphasises: “We will continue to highlight the value of science with a range of different formats.”
Marcio Weichert, Programme Manager of the DWIH São Paulo
Marcio Weichert, Programme Manager of the DWIH São Paulo
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Ideas competition

 Creative mind: Christopher Dörner, company founder   and a winner of  “Startups Connected”
Creative mind: Christopher Dörner, company founder and a winner of “Startups Connected”
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The DWIH São Paulo is strengthening the start-up culture in German-Brazilian exchange.

The more climate change results in prolonged periods of hot and dry weather, the more ­important it will be to use water sparingly. Every idea will then be needed to save resources – especially in Brazil, where on average 37 percent of the drinking ­water that is distributed does not reach the final ­consumers, according to a 2015 survey, for example ­because of leaking pipes.
“We have come up with an innovative solution for a more effective water supply system”, says Christopher Dörner. The young engineer is one of the three bright sparks behind PipePredict, a new spin-off from the Technical University of Darmstadt. They are keen to place their technology, which involves the early detection of damage in pipe systems, on the Brazilian market – and thanks to the “Startups Connected” competition they now have the chance to thoroughly prepare for this step. In 2020, PipePredict won the “Sustainable Brazil” challenge, a category curated by the DWIH São Paulo.

OPPORTUNITIES FOR START-UPS
The competition, which focuses on start-ups and spin-offs, has been staged by the German-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce São Paulo (AHK São Paulo) since 2016; the DWIH São Paulo has been responsible for one specific category since 2017. The prize is ­presented at the German-Brazilian Innovation ­Congress hosted by the AHK and DWIH São Paulo. While the AHK has many awards to link Brazilian start-ups to German companies in Brazil such as BASF, Bayer and Siemens, the DWIH’s category helps a German start-up enter the Brazilian market. As DWIH São Paulo Programme Manager Marcio Weichert stresses: “We want to promote the internationalisation of German start-ups by offering them a perspective in Brazil.” Exchange with the Brazilian innovation landscape allows the award-winning start-up “also to obtain creative input that it will find useful in turn for the German market or other international markets”.

PARTNERSHIP FOR INNOVATIONS
Companies that participate successfully in “Startups Connected” receive wide-ranging support and advice from the DWIH São Paulo and the AHK São Paulo. Both institutions help the German start-up winners to compile an individual market analysis and to create some PR strategies in Brazil, as well as putting them in touch with companies and potential clients, investors and research partners. The start-up winners also ­benefit from a co-working space in São Paulo, and most importantly, they can take part in the AHK’s ­multi-award-winning Accelerator programme. “This speeds up the interaction between start-ups and ­major German-Brazilian companies on selected innovation projects”, says Bruno Vath Zarpellon, who heads the Innovation and Technology Department at the AHK São Paulo. “With its expert knowledge of the German research and innovation landscape, the DWIH is an important partner.” The DWIH category has already seen start-ups supported in areas as diverse as agriculture 4.0 and digital education.

PERSONAL SUPPORT
The jury in the DWIH category “Sustainable Brazil” was convinced by PipePredict’s approach, which ­involves among other things using acoustic sensors and digital twin technology to analyse networks of water pipes. The sensors provide an early warning of even the tiniest leaks in the pipes. The whole process is monitored by an artificial intelligence system developed by the start-up itself. The AI also analyses the data in real time and calculates forecasts of when a pipe will burst; this can be used as the basis for long-term management of the pipe network. “Brazil is close to our hearts from personal experience, and now we hope that the ‘Startups Connected’ award will help us to assess the market and establish contact with potential customers or partners for pilot and ­research projects”, reports Christopher Dörner, co-founder of the start-up. “It is not possible to gain an understanding of market structures by conducting online research only; personal contacts are what is needed. The DWIH São Paulo is already giving us just the support we need in this context, and we are looking forward to the business trip to Brazil that we won with the award.” 

Author
Bettina Mittelstrass
 Creative mind: Christopher Dörner, company founder   and a winner of  “Startups Connected”
Creative mind: Christopher Dörner, company founder and a winner of “Startups Connected”
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Three questions for Professor Ildeu de Castro Moreira, President of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC)

Professor Ildeu de Castro Moreira, President of the Brazilian  Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC)
Professor Ildeu de Castro Moreira, President of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC)
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Professor de Castro, the partnership between the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC) and the DWIH São Paulo was institutionalised in 2020. Why was this important to you?
The partnership between the DWIH São Paulo and SBPC is very important to us. We have interacted for some years now, especially in activities organised each year during the SBPC Annual Meeting and when important debates on topics relevant to ST&I took place. The institutional­isation of this partnership consolidates these initiatives and paves the way for further-­reaching exchange. In addition, this partnership is particularly significant for SBPC because it demonstrates that an organisation as important as the DWIH values the work and role of our ­scientific society within Brazilian science.

Generally speaking, how significant is Germany as a partner for Brazilian science in your opinion?
In the last few decades, there have been many collaborations between institutions and organ­isations in Brazil and Germany that have made important contributions to our country. They were particularly significant for instance in physics, which is my field. Our relationship is ­also fruitful in the case of innovation, an area in which Germany has enormous experience in both industry and academia. Allow me also to highlight one important joint research project carried out in partnership between the Max Planck Society and the National Institute for Ama­zonian Research (INPA): the ATTO – Amazon Tall Tower Observatory is an essential instrument for analysing the forest and climate change.

In 2020, the focus topic for the German Centres for Research and Innovation (DWIH) was “Cities and Climate”. What is the relevance of sustain­able urban development in Brazil?
It has great relevance for Brazil, as it does for the vast majority of countries. In Brazil, where most of the population has lived in cities in recent ­decades, ensuring sustainable urban development poses an immense challenge. We have large cities that are in a critical condition in this regard. Unfortunately, this aspect is not addressed in many of the discussions and decisions of politicians and managers, although it is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. We have to make sure that it is discussed, generate feasible proposals and incorporate them into public policies in our country.

Interview
Johannes Göbel
Professor Ildeu de Castro Moreira, President of the Brazilian  Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC)
Professor Ildeu de Castro Moreira, President of the Brazilian Society for the Advancement of Science (SBPC)
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Director
Dorothea Mahnke (DAAD)

Programme Manager
Laura Blecken

Advisory Board Chair
Dr Susanne Brucksch
(German Institute for Japanese Studies)

Address
German Centre for Research and Innovation Tokyo
OAG Building 4F
7-5-56 Akasaka, Minato-ku,
Tokyo 107-0052, Japan

Contact
info@dwih-tokyo.org
www.dwih-tokyo.org

Supporters of DWIH Tokyo
www.dwih-tokyo.org/en/network/supporters
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Dorothea Mahnke, Director of the DWIH Tokyo
Dorothea Mahnke, Director of the DWIH Tokyo
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“The DWIH Tokyo boasts a highly effective network for ­German-Japanese exchange. We are an established platform for encounters, discussions, information sharing and the initiation of future partnerships. We bring people together so that they can work jointly on key issues of future relevance. At the same time, we are continuously expanding and enhancing the services we offer our supporters and partners. Our focus on artificial intelligence is an excellent example of how wide-ranging our network activities are.”

Dorothea Mahnke

The year 2020 began with the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) Tokyo co-­organising the forward-looking “energie.wenden” ­exhibition. At Miraikan – the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo, it showcased successful ways of using energy sustainably. ­Visitors were able to learn about the relevance of ­different energy sources and policies in view of the challenges posed by climate change. As was the case during the exhibition’s premiere in Germany, visitors in Tokyo were also encouraged to choose between ­different energy options. What should be given preference: solar, hydroelectric or wind power? What roles are played by sustainable mobility or nuclear energy? The exhibition served not only to expand knowledge, in other words, but also to obtain a better understanding of attitudes in Japan and Germany.

The major challenges of the future can only be ­overcome by working together and sharing ideas ­internationally. The DWIH Tokyo has long been establishing highly effective networks between Germany and Japan; France is also an important partner in the trilateral dialogue on artificial intelligence (AI). At the same time, the network of DWIH Tokyo supporters has grown steadily in recent years. “Moreover, the coronavirus crisis has shown just how stable our network is”, stresses Dorothea Mahnke, director of the DWIH Tokyo. Throughout the pandemic year of 2020, the DWIH ­Tokyo, its supporters and other partners presented an impressive diversity of exchange formats and events. As early as March, a discussion of the future of work and the significance of the Japanese concept of Society 5.0 in view of COVID-19 was switched to an online platform: renowned experts from Germany and Japan shed light on different ­aspects and then answered audi­ence questions in a session that was streamed live.

Professor Junichi ­Tsujii, director of the Artificial Intelligence Research Center (AIRC) in Tokyo, talked for example about the opportunities and risks of artificial intelligence, while Embassy Counsellor Dr Martin Pohl from the German Embassy in Tokyo explained the role of politics in the rapidly changing world of work.

All kinds of different events in 2020 revealed how multifaceted the network of supporters highlighted by DWIH Director Mahnke is; these included online talks about the role of monetary policy during the corona­virus crisis that were organised by the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ) and the DWIH, and the ­conference “Responses to the Coronavirus in Japanese and German Law”, staged by the German-­Japanese Association of Jurists (DJJV) and the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law.

“The DWIH Tokyo presents the diversity of German science and business in Japan”, says Dorothea Mahnke, pointing to the “win-win” situation for everyone concerned: “The DWIH profits from the strengths of its supporters, who value us as an established platform for exchange and networking. And in Japan it is very clear to people that we bring key stakeholders from all kinds of different areas together.” These stakeholders are linked by their desire to jointly shape the future. When the Federation of German Industries (BDI) wanted in December to organise its “International ­Innovation Talk with Japan”, it contacted the DWIH Tokyo. Together, they thus continued the German-­Japanese exchange on the subject of “Society 5.0”, among other things with a lecture by Professor Yuko Harayama, executive director of international ­relations at RIKEN, Japan’s largest non-university research institution.

INNOVATIVE BUSINESS
The DWIH Tokyo also reflects the innovative potential of business. Its supporters include for example the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan (AHK Japan), the State of Bavaria-Japan Office and NRW.Global Business Japan, the institution that promotes foreign trade in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In a web talk in November 2020, it teamed up with the DWIH Tokyo to present Germany’s strengths in electromobility.

For years, the DWIH Tokyo has been successfully highlighting issues and raising points to follow up on with an unusually wide range of exchange on every aspect of AI. One major highlight in November 2020 was the 2nd French-German-Japanese Symposium on Artificial Intelligence. “As compared with the first large-scale symposium, we significantly widened the range of specialist perspectives”, says Dorothea Mahnke. The topics covered extended from the controversial issue of man-machine interaction to innovations for sustainable technological development in harmony with nature and the question of “AI and COVID-19”. The high calibre of the event was underlined by the fact that it was opened by French Ambassador Philippe Setton, German Ambassador Ina Lepel and Dr Hiroaki Kitano, president of the Sony Computer Science Lab­o­ratories. The importance of ecologically sustainable progress was emphasised in the final joint statement. As Director Mahnke stresses, the DWIH Tokyo is ­continuing to play an important part in this: “The high level of interest has confirmed our desire to co-­organise the next trilateral AI symposium in 2022.”

Author
Johannes Göbel
Dorothea Mahnke, Director of the DWIH Tokyo
Dorothea Mahnke, Director of the DWIH Tokyo
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AI AND SOCIAL ISSUES

Programme Manager Laura Blecken: focusing on more than just technology
Programme Manager Laura Blecken: focusing on more than just technology
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Work on the future cannot wait: this was stressed by participants of the 2nd French-German-Japanese Symposium on Artificial Intelligence in a spontaneous and powerful closing statement. It explained that the ­issues we face in the Anthropocene will be addressed from a broader perspective “that includes not only ­humans and AI technologies, but also the environment we live in”. “We are particularly pleased by this em­phasis on the importance of ecological development, especially in view of the DWIH’s 2020 focus topic of ‘Cities and Climate’”, says Laura Blecken, Programme Manager at the DWIH Tokyo, which organised the symposium in cooperation with the French Embassy in Japan and the AI Japan R&D Network.

Thematic diversity in Tokyo and online

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the symposium took place online as a virtual reality event complete with avatars for the participants, digital conference and breakout rooms, and even a virtual beach for ­networking. 100 speakers from the three partner countries, more than 1,000 participants and over 4 million impressions on social media are clear evidence of the symposium’s reach and impact. It addressed technical and ecological aspects of AI, such as its benefits for ­agriculture, as well as exploring political, social and ­legal issues. Laura Blecken believes that the final statement sums up one of the trilateral network’s ­central goals: “Together, we are striving for a society in which technical progress, rather than being an end in itself, should always contribute to sustainable ­development.”
Programme Manager Laura Blecken: focusing on more than just technology
Programme Manager Laura Blecken: focusing on more than just technology
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Focus on artificial intelligence

Professor Arisa Ema teaches and researches at the University of   Tokyo and is ­also a visiting researcher at the RIKEN Center for Advanced ­Intelligence Project.
Professor Arisa Ema teaches and researches at the University of Tokyo and is ­also a visiting researcher at the RIKEN Center for Advanced ­Intelligence Project.
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Arisa Ema, professor at the University of Tokyo, talks about the unusually wide-ranging networking potential of the 2nd French-German-Japanese Symposium on Artificial Intelligence.

Professor Ema, for two years you have been a member of the planning committee for the 2nd French-German-Japanese Symposium on Artificial Intelligence. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the symposium could not take place at the Miraikan – National Mu­seum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo as originally planned. Instead, you decided not to hold a conventional online conference, but a meeting in a virtual immersive world. Why was that important to you?
We wanted to emphasise networking. Creating your own avatar, walking around the virtual space, and talk­ing to people was certainly a valuable experience that cannot be had in a regular online conference. In the end, there were more than 1,000 participants from all over the world including 150 staff and ­speakers combined, experiencing one way to hold a networking event in the Corona era.

What did you take away from the symposium?
Discussions were held from a variety of perspectives, but the final consensus was to move forward and to build a society that pays attention not only to people and machines, but also to the environment that surrounds them. At present, global warming, pandemics such as COVID-19, and global fragmentation are so­cial issues, and the question of how AI can provide solutions to these issues is one that the three advanced AI countries Japan, Germany, and France have in common as a proposal for the upcoming years.

How has the global view of artificial intelligence ­changed recently?
AI is used more and more in various areas such as automated driving, medical care, and recruitment. On the other hand, issues of fairness and safety are also being raised. Such as accidents caused by self-driving cars, false arrests due to misjudgements by facial recognition technology, and election interventions by deepfakes and fake news. These are no longer problems that can be solved by AI technology alone but require the creation of frameworks in different fields and industries from a variety of perspectives, includ­ing law, ethics, society, policy, and economics. In fact, in addition to the AI strategies of national governments, discussions on the development and utilisa­tion of AI are taking place in international organisations such as the OECD, WHO, UNESCO, and Interpol, as well as in international networks such as the World Economic Forum.

Which AI issues need to be addressed in the future?
The society, technology, and environment surround­ing us will continue to change at a dizzying pace. How­ever, it is precisely because we live in such an era that human connections are important, and we must continue our efforts to form and maintain networks. Currently, we are at the stage where individual countries or international organisations are developing principles, toolkits, education, and research on the use of AI. But we should not forget that these discussions are actually being led by the US, China, Japan, Europe, and other advanced AI countries. In African countries and Southeast Asia, technologies from ­these advanced AI countries are being exported and are penetrating the region first, a phenomenon known as leapfrogging. In many of these countries, the frameworks for personal information protection and quality assurance are not yet in place. It is important to formulate a discussion involving the Global South on the issues brought about by AI technology.

The DWIH Tokyo is accompanying the exchange on ­artificial intelligence in many ways. What do you appreciate about the DWIH as a partner?
The DWIH Tokyo has played a very important role in selecting the theme. During the two years of prepar­ation for the French-German-Japanese Symposium, a number of other DWIH-organised events related to AI were held. I participated in several of them, and this not only provided networking opportunities to find common ground between Germany and Japan, but also gave me an opportunity to learn about Germany‘s progressive thinking on such issues as environmental measures and the future of work. AI is a technology, but at the same time it is becoming a social infrastructure, so we need to address it from a multitude of angles. As the DWIH Tokyo takes up vari­ous topics in the future, we would like to continue our relationship as good partners in order to maintain the network we have gained through this series of events.  

Interview
Johannes Göbel
Professor Arisa Ema teaches and researches at the University of   Tokyo and is ­also a visiting researcher at the RIKEN Center for Advanced ­Intelligence Project.
Professor Arisa Ema teaches and researches at the University of Tokyo and is ­also a visiting researcher at the RIKEN Center for Advanced ­Intelligence Project.
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Three questions for Professor Yuko Harayama, Executive Director of International Affairs at RIKEN, Japan’s largest non-university research institution

Professor Yuko Harayama, Executive Director of International  Affairs at RIKEN, Japan’s largest non-university research institution
Professor Yuko Harayama, Executive Director of International Affairs at RIKEN, Japan’s largest non-university research institution
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Professor Harayama, what is your connection to the DWIH Tokyo?
I first came into contact with the DWIH Tokyo in 2016 when I was a member of the jury at the first Falling Walls Lab Tokyo staged by the DWIH and EURAXESS. In 2016, together with Mr Takeshi Nakane, the Ambassador for Science and Technology Cooperation, I was heading the Japanese delegation at the 22nd Japan-Germany Joint Committee on Cooperation in Science and Technology held in Bonn. While in Bonn, I met Dorothea Mahnke of the DAAD who was going to become the director of the DWIH Tokyo. Our meeting led to close cooperation. I have been ­involved in preparing the first Japanese-­German-French Symposium on Artificial Intelligence and in subsequent events like the “AI for SDGs” conference in 2019. In 2020, I was a ­panellist at the second symposium on Artificial Intelligence and, in December, spoke at the ­“International Innovation Talk with Japan” that was organised by the Federation of German ­Industries (BDI) and the DWIH Tokyo and focused on Japan’s concept of Society 5.0 and Japanese R&I Policies.

Could you briefly outline for us why the concept of Society 5.0 is important for Japan?
Society 5.0 is a concept designed to advance our society. Rather than proceeding as usual and ­focusing on technological innovations, we want to re-empower people so that they are prepared for our rapidly changing world and for unexpected developments like COVID-19, for example. We are focusing not only on technology and ­economic growth, but above all on sustainability and inclusiveness. People should not use ­technology passively; they should become smart users.

With regard to Society 5.0, where do you see potential for collaboration between Japan and Germany?
Society 5.0 is focusing on people’s well-being throughout their lives, which is especially import­ant for ageing societies like Japan and Germany. In the last decades, both countries have been very successful with their economic models. ­Regarding the digital transformation, Germany’s achievements in Industry 4.0 are very interesting for Japan, but we need to work together to achieve a more integrated development of ­society. Autonomous driving is a good example of collaboration between Japan and Germany; it involves bringing about a technological ­transformation while meeting people’s needs at the same time.

Interview
Johannes Göbel
Professor Yuko Harayama, Executive Director of International  Affairs at RIKEN, Japan’s largest non-university research institution
Professor Yuko Harayama, Executive Director of International Affairs at RIKEN, Japan’s largest non-university research institution
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