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Visit from students of the BTU Cottbus

by Julia Kunkel

Campus tour at UFZ

On the 9th of June we welcomed 20 international students from the BTU Cottbus at the UFZ to show them around and to present the research in our group and at the UFZ in general. The idea originated in the module "Analysis and Modelling of Human-Environment Systems" that Birgit and Gunnar taught at the BTU last winter term. The visiting students were not only from this course, but generally from the Master's programme "Environmental and Resource Management" or PhD students in this field at the BTU Cottbus.

After a guided tour of the UFZ campus, we were introduced to the EE-Monitor, a web application that maps all renewable energy plants in Germany and assesses their environmental compatibility. This is a project in cooperation with the German Biomass Research Centre, which is located in the immediate neighbourhood of the UFZ.

In order to address the international background of our guests, we discussed the opportunities, difficulties and things to know when starting a research career in Germany with staff from HIGRADE, the graduate school at the UFZ. In particular, they pointed out the possibility of doing a doctorate at a non-university research institution in cooperation with universities, funding opportunities and how this is all connected to the Wissenschaftszeitvertragsgesetz (German Act on Temporary Scientific Contracts).

In the afternoon, short input talks by scientists gave a deeper insight into the actual work of researchers at the UFZ. Andrea Kaim from the Department of Computational Landscape Ecology introduced her junior research group AgriScape, which identifies trade-offs on the way to multifunctional agricultural landscapes. Jasmin Heilemann from the Department of Economics presented DroughtMAS, a multi-agent system for simulating the effects of drought on German agriculture. Finally, Julia Kunkel from our POLISES group presented InsuranceGrass, a project to identify how insurance solutions can help grassland farmers to cope with drought risk.  Afterwards, there was time for exchange between the students and scientists on the concrete methods and steps of the projects.

We were very pleased with the enthusiastic participation and the interest of the students and think that it was a fruitful day for both sides. For the students to get an insight into a large research centre in Germany relevant to their field of study and to obtain possible career paths, and for us as a research group of the UFZ to reach out to potential employees and present our research topics.

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