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900,000 Euros for the Earth System Research PhD Training Program in Bremerhaven and Bremen

04.07.2007 - (idw) Alfred-Wegener-Institut für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Bremerhaven, 2 July 2007. The Helmholtz Association has granted 300,000 Euros yearly, over a total of 3 years, for the training of young scientists in Bremerhaven and Bremen. Each year, the "Earth System Science Research School" trains 24 PhD students as earth system researchers. In this way the competence triangle of the Alfred Wegener Institute, the University of Bremen and Jacobs University is fully utilized.

The funding, a total of 900,000 Euros over three years is coming from the Helmholtz Association's (which the Alfred Wegener Institute is a member) impulse and integration fund. In this way the Helmholtz Association would like to offer "young scientists the possibility of a structured training program, over three years, leading to a PhD coupled with other key qualifications" announced Prof. Dr Jürgen Mlynek, President of the largest German Scientific organisation. At the end of the three years, the project will be evaluated. An extension of the funding for another three years is possible.

In earth system research, observations and model construction are linked in order to better understand the earths climate system. The Institute of Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen offers expertise in remote sensing and atmospheric chemistry. The Jacobs University emphasises new methods in data analysis and geographical information systems. The Alfred Wegener Institute will teach the students modern measurement techniques and development of complex models. In this way knowledge about the current and past conditions on earth can be combined.

"The new point will be that during the PhD program, bridges will be built between the disciplines, whereas, traditionally, students were trained in the subjects of Physics, Geology and Biology" Prof. Dr. Gerrit Lohmann from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research In Bremerhaven explains. "Climate Science, Biology and Geology will be combined here. In this way we are offering a way to obtain a better understanding of the complex earth system". The Helmholtz course of lectures in Earth System Research contains a great deal of very necessary technical and specialised areas. The students attend primary block courses at the beginning for the basics of their science. Specialists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, University of Bremen, Jacobs University and national and international collaboration partners will deepen the knowledge through further seminars, conferences and summer schools. In addition international stays are planned in the second and third years of the course. Gerrit Lohmann: "Today, a successful scientist requires other skills in addition to research. Therefore we have made so-called soft skills, such as presentation techniques, communication and scientific management compulsory course requirements".
In the context of this Helmholtz program 12 of the 24 PhD students will be directly financed. The other 12 young scientists will take part in the course as external students. The places will be assigned by an international selection process, and will begin next year.

Notes to Editors:
Contact persons for the Helmholtz Earth System Science Research School:
Prof. Dr. Gerrit Lohmann (Alfred Wegener Institute,, phone +49 (0)471/4831-1758)
Prof. Dr. Justus Notholt (Institute for Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen,, phone +49 (0)421/218-8982)
Dr. Angela Schäfer (Jacobs University Bremen,, phone +49 (0)421/200-3177)
Contact person at the communications department of the Alfred Wegener Institute: Dr. Jens Kube,, phone +49 (0)471/4831-2007

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and in oceans of both low and high latitudes. It coordinates Polar research in Germany and provides important infrastructure such as the research icebreaker "Polarstern" and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic, available for use by international scientists. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the fifteen research centres belonging to the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.
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