Strong centres: DWIH New York
German Houses of Research and Innovation promote the internationalisation of science and research around the world.
How do you attract interest in a city that may never sleep but where there are countless other organisations also vying for attention? “We offer quality,” says Joann Halpern, Director of the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York. Since 2010 this German House of Research and Innovation (DWIH) has been successfully promoting Germany as a centre of research, technology and innovation, fostering German-American exchange and organising events with renowned personalities – not only here, but also on the West Coast and in Canada. For example, the DWIH brought Eric Kandel, American Nobel laureate in Medicine, and Ursula M. Staudinger, a leading international expert in lifespan research, together for a debate. Their meeting had consequences: Staudinger, Vice President of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, is now Founding Director of the Aging Center at Columbia University in New York, where Eric Kandel has had a major influence on research.
Networking is a fundamental task of the five German Houses of Research and Innovation (DWIHs) around the world and the German Science Centre (DWZ) in Cairo, which were established as part of the Research and Academic Relations Initiative of the German Federal Foreign Office in close collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the Alliance of German Science Organisations and the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK).
In New York alone, eleven consortium partners have joined together under the DWIH umbrella. The consortium leaders in New York are the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the world’s largest funding organisation for the international exchange of students and researchers, and the German Research Council (DFG), Europe’s largest research funder. The GCRI’s address is also exceptional: 871 United Nations Plaza, which also houses Germany’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations and several research organisations. “The networking of research and business conducted by the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York is what makes it unique,” emphasises Halpern. After all, it aims not only to promote research, but also to provide impetus for innovation. That is why it organises a broad spectrum of events ranging from meetings on smart electricity grids, including participation from German software giant SAP, to the future potential of Germany’s dual vocational education system, on which US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker reported in June 2014.