The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is tendering a total of eight interdisciplinary “Global Centres” to tackle global challenges. Four centres are to be set up to conduct research into climate issues and another four for research into health and pandemic issues. The German Federal Foreign Office (AA) is providing funding of some EUR 22 million up until 2025 for the establishment of the centres.
“As the corona pandemic has shown: global crises require global collaboration. This applies just as much to health research – such as the current search for therapeutic agents and vaccines to combat a pandemic – as it does to the huge challenge of climate change and its consequences. In setting up these new centres for climate and health research, our aim is to make a further contribution to intensifying international cooperation,” said DAAD President Prof Dr Joybrato Mukherjee.
“We face enormous challenges in the 2020s: there are global crises that mankind is seeking to resolve – and indeed has to resolve – in order to preserve the natural basis for existence in this world. As recent months have shown, research into climate change, the environment, health and pandemic issues is a crucial factor in overcoming urgent problems through transnational scientific work,” said Michelle Müntefering, Minister of State for International Cultural Policy at the Federal Foreign Office.
German higher education institutions can apply to establish one of the eight centres and work closely with partner organisations, both German and international. The centres are to be established in the countries of the Global South, with each receiving EUR 600,000 in funding per year, initially up until 2025 but with the possibility of extension until 2030.
Important factors for potential centres are an interdisciplinary approach, strong international networking across different continents and a close-knit exchange between science, politics, business and civil society to ensure that new findings are put into practice. A wide range of funding measures are also available to interested higher education institutions to establish global centres: these range from digital exchange formats in research and teaching and the development of study programmes to personnel exchanges, scholarships and the establishment of guest chairs.
Centres for health
The four centres for health and pandemic provision are to focus on the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. The aim is to expand and improve prevention, treatment and response mechanisms in relation to health and pandemic issues. As such, these centres will network closely with national and international disease control authorities and non-university research institutions as well as the pharmaceutical and medical technology industry.
Centres for climate research
The four centres for climate and environment will cover a range of subject-specific and transnational perspectives to work on research questions such as the reduction of climate-damaging greenhouse gases and the promotion of a climate-friendly economy as well as adaptation to the consequences of climate change. In addition to climate research, they will also involve disciplines such as engineering, natural and social sciences in order to address climate and environmental issues.
Selection process for the centres
A two-stage procedure is planned for the selection of the centres. Higher education institutions can initially submit an expression of interest with a project outline by the end of November. After a kick-off event for pre-selection and networking in mid-December, the anticipated submission date will be 23 February.