Mexico: An Alliance for Climate Protection and Sustainability

Mexico plays a special role in Germany’s partnerships with Latin American countries. This is because of both Mexico’s regional importance and economic power as well the traditionally close ties between the two countries.

Latin America © Thinkstock/fpdress

Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is using the format of a “Maria Sibylla Merian Centre for Advanced Studies” to support the establishment of a centre for studies in the humanities and social sciences at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico. Since March 2017 a German-Mexican team was set up at the Maria Sibylla Merian Center for Advanced Latin American Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CALAS) in March 2017 to do research on the topic “Coping with Crisis”. The team is cooperating with three regional research groups at universities in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ecuador that are also receiving funding under the project. A key feature of the Center is its programme for visiting researchers which attracts both world-class and next-generation researchers from Latin America, Germany and other parts of the world to work at CALAS.

Mexican Model of the Dual VET System

In 2015 the BMBF and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) signed a Declaration of Intent with the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education (SEP) and the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs (SRE) concerning cooperation in vocational education and training (VET). This provided the basis for the BMBF to commission the Central Office for International Cooperation in VET (GOVET), and the BMZ the Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), to assist in the development of a Mexican model of dual vocational training (MMFD). GOVET and GIZ are supporting the establishment of an agency for technical and vocational education and training to manage the MMFD and the development of standards for in-company and school-based training.

Starting in 2018 the BMBF and SEP intensified their cooperation in the area of advanced VET and the dual system in higher education. The aim of cooperation is to increase the ease of transfer between initial training, continuing technical education (technicians, Meister certification) and technical academic education.

In order to further support the establishment of the dual training system in Mexico, the BMBF started providing funding in 2016 to several projects that aim to implement elements of the dual training system and carry out VET research in Mexico. The German ministry has funded the development of a continuing education programme in the Mexican automotive sector which aims to provide qualified personnel with key skills in productivity management, work-related learning, tool making and lean management.

Studying Without Borders

The German Higher Education Consortium for International Cooperation and Monterrey Technical University signed a cooperation agreement in 2014, under which 28 German universities and Mexico’s largest private university are setting up joint degree programmes. The programme enables students from the two countries to earn both a German and a Mexican university degree at the same time. Study courses are offered in machine engineering, electrical engineering, automotive engineering, mechatronics and industrial engineering. Industrial companies are also involved to ensure that students are exposed to practical training. The German Federal Research Ministry is supporting the activities.

Diversity in the Innovation Process

One aim is to involve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) more effectively in bilateral research and development collaboration. The BMBF and CONACYT, Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology, published a “2+2” call for proposals for innovative and application-oriented projects in 2016. The projects must involve one SME and one research institution each on both the German and the Mexican side. Currently, six German-Mexican collaborative projects in the areas of biotechnology, health research, materials research and nanotechnology are benefiting from funding.

Natural Disaster Protection Made in Space

In Mexico, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is cooperating closely with local authorities and research institutions as well as with the European Space Agency (ESA). Together they set up a data receiving station in Chetumal on the Yucatán Peninsula. This station allows researchers to receive and analyse information transmitted by satellites and will hence facilitate environmental protection in Mexico and the neighbouring regions. Furthermore, it enables swifter and more targeted action in case of natural disasters such as wildfires or flooding. The ground receiving station was transferred into the possession of the Mexican space agency (AEM) in 2014. AEM is now responsible for operating and using the station, while the DLR continues to provide support for research activities.

Germany and Mexico are taking concerted action to protect our climate. The two countries launched the “German-Mexican Climate Change Alliance” to support the Mexican government in the development and implementation of its climate action programme.