Forging contacts, meeting potential partners the start of the 6th Research Framework Programme of the European Union offered opportunities galore. 9,000 research scientists from all over Europe and a number of non-European countries came to Brussels specially for the purpose. It was a welcome opportunity for the University of Heidelberg to present its own achievements in top-line European research, to forge new and interesting contacts with the scientists and decision-makers present at the event and to consolidate existing links.
At the opening event Heidelberg was the only university from Baden-Württemberg to organise a workshop of its own. Twelve scientists from EU countries presented an outline for a major research project entitled "New Therapy Approaches with Adult Stem Cells". The team headed by Prof. Dr. Anthony Ho of the Heidelberg University Hospital for Internal Medicine indicated the promising research objectives and applications for regenerative medicine that exist in this field. The event was also used to publicise the University of Heidelberg's activities in this sector to a broad European audience.
The same purpose was served by a joint reception given by the University of Heidelberg, the Stuttgart Region and the Lyon Region. The reception was a meeting-point for numerous scientists, EU representatives and members of the state government of Baden-Württemberg.
In his initial statement, Dr. Bernd Steinacher of the Stuttgart Region emphasised the innovative potential of the Stuttgart area: "World-ranking enterprises from the automotive industry, the automotive supply industry, the electrical industry and the machine construction industry have their headquarters here." He went on to say that the prerequisite for maintaining high research standards in Baden-Württemberg and establishing top-flight research in such fields as biotechnology and a number of other high-tech areas was to recommend the region to excellent research scientists from at home and abroad as a valuable partner and an attractive location. It was this objective above all that was served by the presence of the region at the opening event of the 6th EU Framework Programme.
Dr. Rolf Linkohr, Member of the European Parliament, confirmed the rightness of this approach, indicating that the 6th Framework Programme opened up major prospects for the European regions and for outstanding research institutions. In future, he said, the EU would be investing several billion euros annually in the promotion of research. Internationally linked institutions would be the ones to profit most from this. Hence it made very good sense to go in search of international cooperation partners, as the University of Heidelberg is doing, in order to divert as much of these resources as possible to the research institution in question. Money, however, was not everything, he added. Fruitful cooperation with national and international partners was above all a source of new ideas encouraging the integration of Europe and its competitiveness.
State councillor Prof. Dr. Konrad Beyreuther (University of Heidelberg) confirmed this view. He saw the 6th Framework Programme as ushering in a new development in European science and research. To a much higher degree than before, this development will link up young research scientists from all the member countries and favour intensive cooperation between research institutions and above all between the European regions. With its presence in Brussels, he concluded, the University of Heidelberg had made a promising start and one that would certainly pay off in the years to come.
The next activity organised by the Research Department of the University of Heidelberg is on 10 December, when the Centre of Interdisciplinary Scientific Computing will be presenting its work at the state of Baden-Württemberg's offices in Brussels.
Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Jens Hemmelskamp
University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542145, fax: 543599
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317