Coal phase-out: large-scale research center planned in the Central German mining area
HTWK Leipzig is applying for a new large-scale research facility in close cooperation with science and industry. Under the name EARTH, it will use its findings to provide solutions for climate and environmentally friendly change and create sustainable jobs. State boarders do not matter. A decentralized network will be built in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt in order to fully exploit the Central German mining areas’ cross-border potentials.
Leipzig – An international research association consisting of top-level scientists is planning on building a major research facility in order to combine expertise in natural science and engineering as well as social and economic science. Therefore,
EARTH brings together Education, Application, Research and Transfer in one Hub. EARTH is the association’s entry to the competition “Wissen schafft Perspektive für die Region!” (“Knowledge creates prospects for the region!”). Saxony’s head of government, Michael Kretschmer (CDU) sees the competition as an opportunity for industrial and economic growth, even predicting a new Gründerzeit (founders period) for the state. On January 16th, shortly after the announcement of the agreement on the national coal phase-out, he said in the city of Görlitz: “In terms of this process, we cannot think small, we have to think big. We now have the opportunity to do things that haven’t been possible up until now”. This is supposed to be EARTH’s purpose.
Ensure intergenerational justice. Pursue more cooperation!
The planned research facility is supposed to give the smartest minds in the world a platform to conduct research on strategically relevant topics in the fields of energy engineering and climate and environmental protection. According to the association, scientists want to use location advantages that are unique across Europe in order to test ground-breaking green technologies and innovative land use concepts on a realistic scale. Prof. Markus Krabbes, professor of computer science at HTWK in Leipzig and one of the four spokespersons of the project points out: “We understand these topics as an engine of growth that will last for decades. They will majorly contribute to Germany’s and Europe’s technological sovereignty”. EARTH is supposed to create a new path for the structural cooperation between science and economy by providing an attractive setting for both high-tech industries and start-ups.
Accelerate Transfer. Stop Climate Change.
The consequences of unabated climate change would be catastrophic. The research association therefore wants to contribute to a faster and more effective implementation of climate and environmentally friendly solutions. In order to do that, EARTH is building a network consisting of both regional and national companies which will create innovative ways for society to participate in science and economy. Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and Philosophy at Leipzig University, Prof. Astrid Lorenz states: “Even the best technological innovations are useless if they are not accepted by society or increase social divisions”. Therefore, EARTH combines sociological and economic expertise to develop game-changing participation- and management strategies. “We want to support companies, communities and countries worldwide in creating and accompanying customized local change”, Lorenz continues.
The federal government and the state of Saxony launched the competition “Wissen schafft Perspektive für die Region!” offering up to 340 million Euros in funding per year. The money is supposed to finance two major research facilities, one being located in the Central German mining region and the other one in Lusatia. A perspective commission is to select up to three proposals per region in the 3rd quarter of 2021. After a six-month funding phase, the federal government and the Free State will jointly decide which two concepts will receive the final award.
Prof. Dr. Markus Krabbes
Chair of Information Systems HTWK Leipzig
Phone +49 341 3076 1124