Germany keen on scientific collaboration with India

Thiruvanthapuram, Dec 5: Germany has invited Indian scientific community to make use of the infrastructure and expertise at their institutions for collaborative research activities. German institutions are open not just its citizens but to excellent scientists from all over the world, said Mr Hans-Guenther Loeffler, the Deputy Consul General, German Consulate General in Bangalore, while delivering the inaugural address at the three-day Indo-German Conference on Laser Applications and Nano Science here. “International cooperation in science is necessary and is a driving force of progress and German collaboration is very much directed to India; we have very high regard for the potential of Indian scientists,” he said.

“Conferences like these are particularly welcome because they contribute to the networking between scientists and to enable us to know each others’ qualities.” Mr Loeffler said laser technology and nano sciences has been identified by Germany as an area with enormous potential for innovation, for the future growth of industries and for the creation of new, qualified workplaces. The German government launched an action plan in 2010 to promote nanotechnology R&D and translational research to take the technology from laboratory to the industry.

The German nanotechnology industry is projected to be worth one trillion euros (approx 80 trillion rupees) by 2015. Germany has several networks of science and research institutions, some of the most important ones being Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, Helmholtz Gemeinschaft and the Max Planck Society. “All these institutes are open to you. They are not just for Germans but for excellent scientists from all over the world. A number of science institutes today have directors who are not from Germany. We always want to attract the best and facilitate scientific collaboration by lowering the by lowering the psychological, linguistic and administrative barriers,” Mr Loeffler added. The conference which will conclude on December 7, is organised by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – DFG) in collaboration with the Srinivasa Ramanujan Institute for Basic Sciences, under the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE), the Goethe Zentrum and The Humboldt Club, Thiruvananthapuram. Prof V N Rajasekharan Pillai, who presided over the inaugural function today said research institutions in Kerala are in discussions with those in Germany on collaborative projects in specific areas including climate change, laser applications and nano technologies, as well as science education. BASF Kids’ Lab, an educational, hands-on project to introduce young children to science that is popular in Germany, had a pilot run in Kerala early this year.

Prof Pillai informed that the first permanent Kids’ Lab out of Germany is planned to be attached to the Science Museum in Thiruvananthapuram. Prof. K. P. Rajappan Nair, the Academic Chair of the Conference and Visiting Scientist, Leibniz University, welcomed the delegates and Dr. Monika Sharma, Senior Program officer, DFG, India, released the conference abstracts. Prof (Dr. Joseph Francis, President of the Humbolt Club of Kerala and Shri Syed Ibrahim, Director, Goethe-Zentrum, also spoke. Professor Dr. Jens-Uwe Grabow, from Leibniz University, Hannover, Germany, delivered the keynote lecture on microwave coherence spectrometry.

The first day’s sessions included presentations on imaging sensors, the forensic applications of lasers, new materials for fibre lasers and the history of spectroscopy. On the second day of the conference on Friday, December 6, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Kerala Shri Oommen Chandy will inaugurate an interactive meeting of scientists and delegates at 5 pm. The sessions that follow will be moderated by Prof. K. P. Rajappan Nai and Shri Syed Ibrahim. More than 100 delegates, including scientists, researchers and subject experts from the two countries, are taking part in the conference.

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