The fifth BMBF funding announcement in the fields of health research and medical technology, sustainable cities, renewable energy and energy efficiency, as well as environmental and water technologies, generated enormous interest in the German scientific landscape.
Out of more than 160 project outlines 27 projects were selected for funding (eight projects with China, six projects with Australia, three projects with Japan, two projects each with India and New Zealand and one project each with Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam). They took up their work between August and October 2017. In the first phase (development phase), which is funded with 100,000 euros per year for two years, the research presences are first drafted and established with the partners. Thus, in the first phase, the BMBF is investing 6.25 million euros in the development of its research presences. Following an evaluation by a panel of experts, the most promising projects receive funding for the three-year consolidation phase, each worth € 150,000 a year.
On the 21st and 22nd of november 2017 the kick-off workshop of the 27 projects took place at the Wissenschaftszentrum (Science Centre) in Bonn. More than 60 participants from the projects, but also from funding and intermediary organisations and the BMBF attended the workshop. The aim was to initiate an exchange of experience and to network the projects among themselves right from the start. Presentations of successfully established research sites such as the German-Chinese research platform SILO in Suzhou (China) and the Indo-German Center for New Media & Green Printing in Manipal (India) were used for this purpose.
Four regional workshops for Australia / New Zealand, China, India / Southeast Asia and Korea / Japan, were marked by lively discussions and helped to establish first links between the individual projects. On the second day, a panel discussion with representatives of the German Rectors' Conference (HRK), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft (FhG) and the University of Tübingen tackled the general conditions and specific challenges for German research presences in Asia and confirmed the importance of networking events for a successful project implementation.