In the Alumni Special Projects programme professionals from developing countries who have been trained in Germany have the opportunity to come into contact with German representatives from academia and business at important trade fairs and conferences.
As decision-makers in their home countries with close ties to Germany, they are important contacts: academics and executives from developing countries who have studied or done research in Germany, the so-called Germany alumni.
The DAAD supports these experts with the Alumni Special Projects programme where they receive further training at a German university / research institution and then get in touch with companies when they visit a trade fair or an industry convention.
Their new contacts and enhanced expertise enable the alumni to contribute to the economic development in their own countries.
The programme aims to extend the skills of alumni to resolve development-related issues. It also helps alumni engage with other alumni in academic networks both in their own country and internationally. At the same time, alumni often play an active role as disseminators for knowledge transfer. Ideally, they maintain long-term ties to Germany and cooperate with higher education / research institutions and companies in Germany.
Finally, the programme is designed to further strengthen the expertise of the host universities / research institutions in Germany in matters of development cooperation.
Funded projects / measures and partners involved
As part of the programme, specialist seminars for alumni are sponsored on various topics. The thematic focus is based on the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, in particular:
- Water / water management / waste water / waste / recycling
- Nutrition / food security / food technology / rural development
- Renewable energies / climate protection
- Education / lifelong learning / information and communication technology
- Medicine / public health
- Biodiversity / ecology
After the seminar, the alumni visit an international fair or conference in line with these topics. Here, the participants familiarise themselves with new product developments and technologies and get to know exhibitors, companies, and other experts. This enables both sides to establish important contacts and initiate collaboration.
Projects are advertised, for example, during the following events:
- IFAT (Munich, Johannesburg and Mumbai)
- HANNOVER MESSE
- The Smarter E
Planned and already implemented Alumni Special Projects
In 2018, 225 alumni from developing countries participated in further education seminars and trade fairs as well as in specialist conferences and conventions. The target-group participants come from a broad range of regions and professions. In order to review whether the objectives of the Alumni Special Projects have been reached, the participants are asked for feedback immediately after each event. Questions are asked about procedures at the trade fairs and conventions and the quality of the preceding specialist seminar. Overall, the response to the events is very positive.
For example, 32 out of 50 alumni attending the HANNOVER MESSE 2019 reported they had made business contacts.
Further, after participating at re:publica 2019 in Berlin, the largest and most exciting conference about digital culture in the world, 44 out of 50 alumni reported that they had established contacts with 325 business representatives and other academics. All 18 participants at IFAT India 2019 in Mumbai stated that they had expanded their knowledge by attending the trade fair.
According to the respondents, a large number of alumni stay in touch with other participants, the German higher education institutions, and business partners. In other words, the Alumni Special Projects programme is successful in helping alumni continue their education, exchange ideas, and establish contacts in the academic and professional community.
Gilda Monjane (Participant at HANNOVER MESSE)
Gender Adviser and Solar Entrepreneur, Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy,
I appreciate the link between the DAAD training seminar and the trade fair. This gives Alumni a great opportunity to share research and work experiences on an international level, to learn from experienced German and global operating companies and to identify potential partners.
In order to achieve the intended programme objectives even more efficiently, the DAAD targets the needs of developing countries with its funding instruments and evaluates the impact of its funding programmes. In 2014, the DAAD introduced a comprehensive in order to further improve the quality and transparency of its work.
Supported by the