Danubius Young Scientist Award 2023
40th anniversary of the Danube Rectors’ Conference in Timișoara – Danubius Young Scientist Award for Ulm chemist Benedikt Bagemihl
News from: 25. October 2023 | Zur Original-MeldungExterner Link
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Danube Rectors’ Conference (DRC), representatives of more than 60 member universities met at the West University of Timișoara in Romania from 19 to 20 October to discuss current topics in research and university teaching. They not only looked back into history, but also dealt with the future of the network. The consequences of the Russian war of aggression for Ukrainian universities and the resulting academic exodus were also discussed.
Cross-institutional cooperation as well as joint activities and projects have characterised the Danube Rectors' Conference for four decades. The founding members had once conceived it in order to establish institutional contacts with universities in countries with communist regimes behind the Iron Curtain. The University of Ulm has been involved from the very beginning. It was one of the four founding universities in 1983. And the idea for cooperation also originated in Ulm, during a visit by the rector of Budapest’s Semmelweis University, as University President Professor Michael Weber reports in his contribution to the commemorative publication. And he continues: The association of Danube universities also aims to create a more united, more cohesive Europe. It is important to continue building knowledge bridges across the Danube and to create a better future for education, research and social development.
In the European Capital of Culture 2023 Timișoara, several high-level working sessions dealt with topics such as relations between Austria and Romania, shaping a sustainable and democratic European society, and higher education in times of war. In addition, the DRC Initiative Fund was presented, which can be used to support doctoral students from DRC member universities with up to 5,000 euros.
A highlight of the conference: the presentation of the Danubius Young Scientist Awards 2023. Among the honourees is the chemist Benedikt Bagemihl from Ulm. He is currently doing his doctorate under Professor Sven Rau on solar fuels - a topic of particular relevance for the Danube region, whose ecosystem is already significantly affected by climate change. "The exchange with the international award winners in Timișoara showed me that we can only overcome the future challenges in the Danube region, for example the consequences of climate change and the energy crisis, together in strong scientific collaborations," says Bagemihl. The award comes with prize money of 1350 euros.
On the history of the Danube Rectors' Conference
"To consolidate the relations of the university Danube riparians with each other in a permanent institution": This was the goal of the Danube Rectors' Meeting, which took place for the first time in Vienna in spring 1983 and in Ulm in September of the same year. The wording is documented in the October issue of "Uni Ulm Intern" of that year. The focus of the Ulm talks at that time was how university access was organised in the member countries. The establishment of the Danube Rectors' Conference is said to go back to a suggestion by the former Rector of Ulm, Professor Detlef Bückmann. "Forty years ago, our predecessors recognised the potential in bringing universities along the Danube together," writes University President Professor Michael Weber in the DRC commemorative publication. "They understood that by crossing borders and forging strong partnerships, they could bring forth a platform for intellectual exchange and joint initiatives that would have a lasting impact on education, research and innovation."