German and Russian Early Career Researchers Discuss “Chemical Energy Storage and Conversion” in Kazan

(26.09.18) A growing world population and rising standard of living are continuously increasing the demand for energy in our modern world. Meanwhile, fossil fuels and natural resources are becoming increasingly scarce. What kind of world do we need in the future to convert and utilise energy efficiently? New approaches to chemical energy storage and conversion are key to the development of innovative concepts for low-pollution energy use.

In early September the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) organised the eighth German-Russian Week of the Young Researcher under the umbrella of the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH Moscow) on the topic of Chemical Energy Storage and Conversion. At the German Russian Institute for Advanced Technologies in Kazan, some 50 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers and professors presented their research approaches. The German participants included several DFG-funded professors, among them Wolfgang Bensch (Kiel), Franziska Scheffler (Magdeburg), Jürgen Behm (Ulm) and Malte Behrens (Duisburg-Essen), who were accompanied by a new generation of doctoral researchers.

Participants in Week of the Young Researcher at KNRTU-KAI Kazan


The Week of the Young Researcher was formally opened in the great hall of the host university, the National Research Technical University in Kazan, at an event attended by more than 400 researchers, students and representatives of other universities, research institutions and funding organisations. The guests were welcomed by the Rector, Albert Gilmutdinov, who underlined the pre-eminent importance of collaboration with German universities to the internationalisation of his institution. On behalf of the German side, there were words of welcome from Johanna Kowol-Santen, deputy head of the DFG’s Scientific Affairs department, and Christian Müller, Deputy Secretary General of the DAAD. Michael Dobis from the Department of Economic Affairs and Research at the German embassy in Moscow conveyed the congratulations of German ambassador Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch.

Prof. Malte Behrens began the scientific part of the week with her opening lecture on “Inorganic Materials for the Catalytic Generation and Chemical Storage of Hydrogen”. This year’s event brought together experts in material chemistry, physical chemistry, process engineering and chemical engineering from Germany and various parts of Russia, for example Kazan, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and Saratov. The participants discussed a variety of approaches to the energy conversion of the future, covering a range of potential solutions from sustainable solar energy technologies and innovative fuel cells, to the development of novel catalysts, the use of thermoelectric materials and energy storage in new, efficient battery systems. Special emphasis was placed on the challenges of developing improved materials and process optimisation, and the impacts of these developments on existing and future applications and innovations.

The German attendees, in particular, who this year travelled from Ulm, Bochum, Magdeburg, Munich, Duisburg-Essen, Jena, Leipzig, Mühlheim, Berlin and Kiel, took advantage of the opportunity for in-depth discussion of possibilities in German-Russian cooperation. In addition to the specialist lectures, the research organisations in DWIH Moscow presented their funding programmes with Russia as part of a Science Café, which provided an opportunity for direct dialogue with the DFG and its Russian partner organisations, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research and the Russian Science Foundation, as well as other German representatives.

The German-Russian Institute for Advanced Technologies (GRIAT) was founded in 2014 in partnership with the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Technical University of Ilmenau and Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. The aim of the GRIAT project is to train highly qualified engineers to both German and Russian educational standards. As an education platform, GRIAT also brings together universities and industry and promotes intercultural understanding between Germany and Russia. In the framework of seven master’s courses culminating in a dual degree, students and staff at Kazan National Research Technical University (KNRTU-KAI) and German partner universities work on joint research projects and also maintain direct links with German and Russian engineering companies. GRIAT is based on the campus of KNRTU-KAI, which was established in the 1930s with a focus on aerospace engineering and is named after Russian aircraft designer A. N. Tupolev. The university belongs to the select circle of National Research Universities of the Russian Federation.

The basic purpose of the Week of the Young Researcher format is to encourage wider networking and stronger collaboration between early career researchers. They incorporate interdisciplinary and forward-looking themes reflecting key current issues or potential in bilateral cooperation between Germany and Russia. The Weeks of the Young Researcher were set up in 2011 as an initiative of the DAAD and DFG as part of the German-Russian Year of Science, Education and Innovation. Held once a year at changing locations in Russia, they aim to address current issues through international cooperation. They are organised together with the country’s leading universities and research centres (Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg and Moscow).

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