Welcoming address by Dr Georg Schütte State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research in Mbour/Senegal
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Dear members of AIMS-Senegal,
thank you very much for your warm words of welcome. I am particularly grateful to you for having made time for our meeting in the run-up to the Next Einstein Forum despite your tight schedules.
It is a great pleasure to finally have the opportunity to visit the AIMS centre in Mbour.
Cooperation between AIMS and the BMBF kicked off four years ago when the BMBF started funding the German research chair at the AIMS Centre in Senegal in 2012. These have been a successful four years. We were able to appoint Professor Fall as chair holder, a highly motivated, very competent and renowned scientist.
Under the funding measure you have - amongst other activities - successfully initiated industrial collaborations as well as close cooperation schemes with three German research institutes: the Goethe University Frankfurt, the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT) in Bremen, and the Technical University Chemnitz. Thank you very much for your exemplary dedication. International science – and the African science community in particular – profit greatly from committed individuals like you.
The appointment of competent, dedicated scientists and researchers plays a vital role in the development of the AIMS centres. I would like to emphasize that the success of the professorship at AIMS-Senegal was a key precondition for developing this pilot measure into a large-scale BMBF funding initiative, the “German Research Chairs”. Under the German Research Chairs programme, the BMBF will fund a further four chairs at the AIMS centres in Ghana, South Africa, Cameroon, and Tanzania, starting this year until around 2021. The BMBF does not only promote science and research within this measure, however. As you all know, the funding initiative “German Research Chairs” encompasses alongside to the funding for the chair holders through the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, also funding for supplementary activities such as university collaborations and funding for PhD students through the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD. The German Research Chairs funding measure has a funding volume of almost 9 million euros. It has become a pivotal measure within the Ministry’s Africa Strategy (2014-2018)
We want the German Research Chairs funding measure to have a long-term effect and intend to ensure the continued existence of the research chairs even after Germany has stopped providing funding. Only then will we have reached our goal of sustainability, which is the aim of all our funding measures.
The research chair at AIMS-Senegal is also a trailblazer in that regard. As a result of its achievements, the Senegalese Ministry of Higher Education and Research has signalled readiness to cover part of the costs. This is a real success story that we can be proud of! The Federal Republic of Germany and the Republic of Senegal will sign the relevant declaration of intent at the Next Einstein Forum.
We will also strengthen joint cooperation between AMS-NEI and the BMBF by signing a further joint declaration of intent at the Next Einstein Forum tomorrow.
These are very positive developments and I am looking forward to continuing our successful cooperation with AIMS in the future!