PRESS RELEASE

Helmholtz launches Climate Initiative

The Helmholtz Association is expanding its work in the field of climate research and will be spending €16 million over the next four years on the Helmholtz Climate Initiative. Research will focus on the regional effects of global climate change. The centres involved will match that amount, meaning that a total of €32 million will be available for the initiative.

President of the Helmholtz Association, Prof. Jürgen Mlynek, was enthusiastic about the project: “The new Climate Initiative will pool the competences of a variety of Helmholtz working groups, allowing us to investigate climate change with a focus on how it affects specific regions.” The initiative will also take socioeconomic aspects into consideration, since a world facing a radically different climate needs concrete proposals for securing the efficient management of water supplies and the sustainable management of woodland areas and agricultural land.

The Climate Initiative, “Regional Climate Change: From Observations and Modelling to Decision Support for Mitigation and Adaptation”, has a total budget of €32.3 million for the period 2009–2013. The initiative will be headed by Prof. Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). Prof. Karin Lochte, Director of the AWI and Vice President of the Helmholtz Association, explained that “fusing the various climate research activities at a number of different Helmholtz centres should allow us to create a world-renowned research pool here at the Helmholtz Association. We are planning to collaborate closely with universities and non-academic working groups, the Climate Service Center, the regional climate offices of the Helmholtz Association and the German Climate Consortium.”

The Helmholtz Association is already heavily involved in climate research. The AWI is conducting investigations in the Arctic and Antarctic, Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe and Forschungszentrum Jülich are active in atmospheric research, and the GKSS Research Centre in Geesthacht carries out coastal research. The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam (GFZ), the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Helmholtz Zentrum München- German Research Center for Environmental Health (HMGU) are also involved in climate research, as is the German Aerospace Center (DLR) with its earth observation activities.

The Helmholtz Association Senate actively recommended pooling these research activities to concentrate efforts and has now approved the Climate Initiative in its proposed form.

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With 28,000 employees in 16 research centres and an annual budget of approximately €2.8 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

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Dr. Antonia Rötger
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