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Press Release No. 15 | 15 April 2008
Science TV Brings Research to Life

DFG Undertakes New Methods of Science Communication - Launch of www.dfg-science-tv.de

With today's start of DFG Science TV, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) undertakes new methods of science communication. In this project, which is unique in Germany, extraordinary research projects are presented in short films via the internet. What makes Science TV special: The material for the films is recorded by the participating scientists themselves. The original raw material is then compressed into three-minute short films by a professional production firm. With the "research video diaries" from all areas of science, the DFG aims to bring research to life, primarily for youth between 14 and 19 years of age.

"Beginning today, it is possible to watch over the shoulders of scientists via Internet TV and become captivated by the fascination of research. For Germany, as a research location, it is particularly important that young people become familiarised in the methods and results of modern research and science at an early age. We need the interest of young people in order to ensure that we have researchers in the future. We must explore new methods in order to convey that research is exciting," explained DFG President Professor Matthias Kleiner at the press conference held today in Berlin at the start of DFG Science TV.

Professor Frauke Kraas from the Department of Geography at the University of Cologne pointed out the significance of transparency in science: "It is important that young people in particular have the chance to understand what social change processes transpire, how science works to this end and, above all, what the consequences are for their own lives. DFG Science TV offers an excellent opportunity for achieving this. The research problems as well as the work of the scientists become clear and concrete and a reference is established to daily life. Personally, I am excited about the project and am happy to support it," said the professor.

The DFG developed the project together with television producer and author Gisela Graichen ("Schliemann's Heirs" and "Humboldt's Heirs") and film producer Peter Prestel. Against the backdrop of the growing importance of internet platforms with video images and the changed habits of the users, especially those of younger people, the DFG decided to have short films suitable for presentation on the internet produced and to make them available through a platform of its own.

Ten extraordinary research projects were selected, scientists trained how to use the camera, and scripts for twelve episodes developed. "Decisive is what is filmed. For this reason we placed great value on the development of the storyboards. We visited each project and, together with the scientists, developed the stories to be told," said Peter Prestel.

Week after week, the scientific camera men and women now send in approximately 30 minutes of material on their respective projects. This material is then edited by film production professionals to produce three-minute short films. Video-based research diaries are, in this way, produced for topics across all areas of science. On the DFG Science TV internet site, viewers can chronologically follow the formation and development of the scientific work of the individual projects: Are there any initial results? Which scientific methods do the researchers use? And: What next? DFG Science TV addresses the fascination of research: How is lightweight concrete made? Can a robot learn from humans? And what is it like to live in megacities such as Delhi or Dhaka? The selected projects take place on land and water, in Germany, Ecuador, China and Cambodia. With the help of the camera, the viewer gains direct insight into the world of research and research methods - science becomes visible.

The target groups of DFG Science TV include youth between 14 and 19 years of age as well as teachers, media specialists and the broad group of viewers interested in science.

The project has initially been created as a pilot project for a period of three months. From 15 April to 15 July, ten new short films will be uploaded every week to www.dfg-science-tv.de. During this period, a professional evaluation will be performed; if successful, DFG Science TV will be continued and expanded.

Further Information

Dr. Eva-Maria Streier, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Press and Public Relations, Director, Tel. +49 228 885-2250, Eva-Maria.Streier@dfg.de

Susanne Roth, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Press and Public Relations, Tel. +49 228 885-2376, Susanne.Roth@dfg.de