This press release is available in German.
German science and industry have joined together to promote collaboration with Indian partners and expand existing contacts. On 27 October 2012 the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH) opened its doors in New Delhi. Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, this institution combines the expertise of research and funding organisations and businesses active in research. The objective is to further promote Germany as an excellent location for science and innovation. A total of 14 partners are participating in the consortium, which is coordinated by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation).
"Starting today, there will be one umbrella organisation for major organisations operating in India. This is a milestone that will create synergies and drive forward joint initiatives that operate hand-in-hand with Indian partners," said DFG President Matthias Kleiner, addressing the audience during the opening ceremony. The opening was attended by high-ranking politicians, representatives of scientific organisations, and researchers from Germany and India.
In her remarks, German State Secretary Dr. Emily Haber of the Federal Foreign Office stated: "The German House for Research and Innovation in New Delhi is a landmark in cooperation between Germany and India on science and research. The German House will advance our academic and scientific exchange and dialogue with India, a true hub for science and research. It will provide the primary point of contact for academics and researchers from Germany and India." Dr. Karan Singh, a prominent Indian literary figure, politician, and diplomat stated: "Cultural and scientific relationships between Germany and India will bring our people closer together. Focusing on these relationships will strengthen the ties between our two countries."
Commenting on the participating partners, DFG President Kleiner added: "I am very pleased that representatives of 14 German organisations have joined together to bring the DWIH to life. The institution in New Delhi has attracted a particularly high number of partners with regard to the DWIH network worldwide." The consortium includes research funding organisations such as the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH), the Fraunhofer Society (FhG), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the Max Planck Society (MPG). Industry is represented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. Participating research institutions and universities include Research Centre Jülich GmbH, Free University of Berlin, Heidelberg University, RWTH Aachen University, Technical University of Munich (TUM), University of Cologne, and the University of Göttingen.
The DWIH in New Delhi is the fifth consortium of this type. Other centres are located in New York, São Paolo, Moscow, and Tokyo. Over the past two decades, India has experienced continuously strong economic growth, during which time collaboration between Germany and India has also intensified. As a result, an increasing number of German organisations have established a presence in this country - with Indian partners and the public often finding it difficult to distinguish between their competencies and responsibilities. "The time had come to bring things to the next level and systematically establish local structures that give Indian students, researchers, and other interested persons a central point of contact," said DFG President Kleiner during the opening ceremony.
Scientific collaboration in particular is already very intensive. According to a study published by the DFG in 2011, Germany is already India's second most productive cooperation partner after the United States as measured by the number of joint publications. In fact, Indian researchers cooperate with German colleagues on more than 10 percent of all international publications. Overall, binational research collaborations grew by 6.8 percent per year from 2004 to 2009. These include, among other things, the two DFG-funded German-Indian Research Training Groups in the areas of glycochemistry and molecular infection biology, in which early career researchers are trained at a high scientific level through exchanges between the two countries.
The DFG itself has had an office in New Delhi since 2006. According to Dr. Torsten Fischer, who has been the director of the DFG India Office since 2009, the new German House has two primary tasks: First, it will elevate the visibility of all partners, for example through events such as workshops, seminars, and lectures as well as a joint website and marketing activities. Second, it will serve as a one-stop shop for the German and Indian communities during the planning and implementation of joint projects.
The opening of the German House included the first DWIH lectures in which renowned researchers provided a glimpse into their research in engineering sciences, system biology, and supramolecular chemistry as well as a "Science Slam" in which early career researchers gave original talks on their research topics such as contemporary German pop literature, waste recovery, and demarcations in chromosomes and between nations. The opening ceremony also provided the backdrop for a delegation of German scientists under the leadership of the DFG President. In order to further facilitate collaboration, an agreement was signed between the DFG and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) of the Indian government, which defined a framework for close collaboration. During the visit, DFG President Matthias Kleiner was inducted into the Indian National Science Academy (INSA) as a Foreign Fellow. This prestigious distinction further underscores the extraordinarily close scientific relationships between the two countries.
Marco Finetti, Head of DFG Press and Public Relations
Tel. +49 228 885-2230, Marco.Finetti@dfg.de
The DFG Office India and the DWIH New Delhi may be reached as follows:
Dr. Torsten Fischer
DFG Office India
Director of the DFG Office India and coordinator of the DWIH New Delhi
Tel. +91 11 4922-4999, Torsten.Fischer@dfg.de
DFG Office India
Press and Public Relations and Programme DWIH New Delhi
Tel. +91 11 4922-4905, Ruchika.Christ@dfg.de
DFG programme contact:
Dr. Ingrid Krüßmann, International Affairs
Tel. +49 228 885-2786, Ingrid.Kruessmann@dfg.de