10 Years ProLOEWE
Bettina Stark Watzinger, Federal Minister for Education and Research
”Strong as lions! That’s what you, dear active members of the ProLOEWE network, have been for ten years now. Chapeau! I was allowed to experience your strength personally during my time at the LOEWE Centre SAFE in Frankfurt. So now I congratulate you twice: as a former “LOEWin” and as a Federal Minister who follows your leaps in development with great interest. It is impossible to imagine the Hessian scientific landscape without ProLOEWE, and you also have a good reputation at federal level! You succeed in making the state’s top research visible and audible beyond Hessen’s borders. From basic research to the marketability of Hessian innovations, from aluminium alloys to lemon batteries: ProLOEWE finds the right images and sounds.
My anniversary wish for you comes from the heart and in three words: Please keep it up!“
Volker Bouffier, former Minister President of Hesse
”The promotion of science and especially of the LOEWE program has always been a personal concern of mine, and today I am pleased to say that together we have achieved a great deal: Excellent research is the basis for our country‘s success. In a globally net-worked, highly differentiated world, we will only be able to meet the challenges of the coming decades and maintain our high standard of living if we devote a great deal of public attention to cutting-edge research. This was the basic idea when we in Hessen launched our LOEWE program in 2008, which is unique in Germany to date. In the meantime, this program has grown into an outstanding scientific landscape with a total of 82 research clusters and centres in 14 funding phases, which has attracted great attention both nationally and internationally. This is due not least to the fact that a whole series of LOEWE projects have become institutes of scientific societies such as the Max Planck Society, the Fraunhofer Society or the Leibniz Association.
This success is due in particular to the researchers. However, I would also like to expressmy sincere thanks to the ProLOEWE network, which has been fostering exchange with each other and with the public for 10 years now. I wish you every success for your future work and all the best for your birthday!"
Angela Dorn, Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and the Arts looks back on ten years of ProLOEWE and comments:
”With ProLOEWE we are not only celebrating a decade of great networking activities and opportunities for excellent research. Within these ten years, you have also built up very good science communication. This is more important than ever: fear-mongering, manipulation and lies continue to weaken our “immune system”, i.e. the very strength of our democracies. Knowledge is therefore the best “vaccine” in this regard – to be given in the form of clear facts, which we explain to our audiences in an understandable way. Society needs to understand not only facts and findings of science, but also how science works. At the same time, researchers need to learn how to convey their research findings to the public in a way that avoids misunderstandings as much as possible. With its work, ProLOEWE is an indispensable partner for our nationally unique research-funding program LOEWE. In order to lead our society into the future capable of change, we need thoughts and solutions of many clever minds. ProLOEWE gives them visibility. Congratulations on your tenth anniversary!“
Prof. Dr. Ute Clement, President of the University of Kassel
”Innovative formats of modern science communication, an excellent Twitter presence and independent information on high-end research of the Hessian universities in the ProLOEWE NEWS – that is what ProLOEWE stands for. The University of Kassel congratulates on ten years of ProLOEWE as a communication tool for the diverse and always excellent research of the LOEWE alliances. It makes me particulary proud to have ProLOEWE in Kassel. For five years we are hosting Tanja Desch and her team at the University of Kassel from where they manage their diverse activities. ProLOEWE strengthens trust in science, creates transparency and access even to complex scientific topics. After all, science communication is important so that knowledge, insight and facts help to shape social debates.“
OVERVIEW AND OUTLOOK
What is happening in Hessen‘s cutting-edge research? Which questions are the scientists dealing with, and what do they want to achieve? These are just some of the topics ProLOEWE has been dealing with since the LOEWE research centres and LOEWE research clusters joined forces to form ProLOEWE, the network of LOEWE research projects. Since then, their goal has been to jointly publish their activities and to create easy access to Hessian research, and especially to basic research. Since the program start of LOEWE in 2008, 15 LOEWE research centres and 67 LOEWE research clusters have undergone fourteen funding series. ProLOEWE brings together the LOEWE research centres and LOEWE research clusters, with a total of around 1,150 employees in 2021. Their work is made possible by LOEWE funding from the state of Hesse – and thus from society.
Their topics range from medical research to innovative applied technologies and basic research in the natural sciences to cultural and social issues. Research is teamwork – often across the boundaries of disciplines and individual institutions. The leaders of the participating research projects together form the ProLOEWE Board of Directors. Since the end of September 2018, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Peter Heim (LOEWE research cluster Safer Materials, University of Kassel) has been the spokesperson of the directorate. Deputy speaker since November 2021 is Prof. Dr. Anke Becker (LOEWE research centre SYNMIKRO and LOEWE research cluster MOSLA, Philipps-Universität Marburg). The ProLOEWE managing office has been administratively located at the University of Kassel since 2017, with Tanja Desch as managing director and Vanessa Urbaniak (Samantha Pfanzer/interim) as PR assistant. Since its inception, ProLOEWE has contributed to the integration of LOEWE projects internally and externally, increased visibility of basic research in Hessen, and a better understanding of the importance of the topic among the general public through a wide variety of measures. The network’s activities include the ProLOEWE Days, „LOEWE science at your fingertips“ at the “Hessen schafft Wissen” (“Hesse Knowledge Creation”) booth at the Hessentagen, ProLOEWE-NEWS, proloewe.de, the network‘s website, the Twitter channel @ProLOEWE launched in 2020, and the ProLOEWEBoard of Directors meeting held once a year. Most recently, ProLOEWE also added the ProLOEWE-Science Rallye: an interactive rally for the whole family; and in June this year the ProLOEWE-Mars Mission, a science escape room. Both formats, together with the ProLOEWE image film, ensured that integration between the LOEWE projects was intensified once more and that the LOEWE program received increased attention, especially from the public. The latest project to be launched in July 2022 is ProLOEWE‘s „Hessen‘s Top Research in 45 Minutes: What to do in a crisis?” A virtual format in which LOEWE scientists give politicians a direct insight into their research topics, followed by direct and focussed interaction. The second part of the pilot of this format follows on November 14 with LOEWE-GLUE and the topic „Tailored satchels for drugs free of side effects.” We are using our first double-digit birthday to publish an anniversary edition of ProLOEWE-NEWS. Here you can find out more about some of the ProLOEWE projects, the latest from the LOEWE research projects, get to know a LOEWE scientist in the section ProLOEWE Personal and, starting on page 55, get an overview of the LOEWE research centres and research clusters funded since the start of the LOEWE program!
We hope you enjoy reading and hope you gain many interesting insights into Hessen‘s cutting-edge research!
10 years of ProLOEWE, 14 years of LOEWE – reason enough to celebrate and an opportunity to look backward and forward.
Since 2008, the “State Offensive for the Development of Scientific and Economic Excellence” LOEWE has been promoting top-level research in Hesse. The strategic goals are raising the national and international research profile and further networking, especially between universities, non-university research institutions and industry. This ambitious, visionary research program is without doubt a success model. It has also led
to the establishment of new, permanently federal-state funded research institutions in cooperation between non-university research institutions and universities (e.g. Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Center, IDeA Center DIPF, or SAFE).
The LOEWE program has survived several government formations, despite the intense budget battles between government departments, and is even to be increased to 100 million euros/year by the end of 2024. This due to the clever conception of the program, courageous politicians and the excellent collaborative research in Hesse.
I wouldn’t be possible without the ProLOEWE, the independent network of LOEWE projects, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The idea of ProLOEWE at the time of inception was that science itself needs active involvement in promoting this taxpayer-funded program in society, industry and politics besides being available as a contact for the media. Thanks to the dedicated work of its staff and the commitment of the spokespersons of the LOEWE research initiatives, the ProLOEWE network and ist office have done this very successfully. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved! As the founding spokesperson of the ProLOEWE network, my personal thanks go to the staff members who built up the network and the office at that time, especially Dörte Florack, who had overall responsibility: the small team was wonderful!
As we all know, communicating the scientific landscape to the outside world has become much more important today than it was ten years ago. The societal, economic, environmental and political challenges now present themselves as even more diverse and pressing. Expectations are growing for science to become more open, transdisciplinary and inclusive at the same time (compare, for example, UNESCO’s 2021 recommendation on “Open Science”). I am sure that the LOEWE program and the ProLOEWE network will be able to cope with this high dynamic and the increasing pressure towards application, transfer and communication. In the interest of society as a whole, it is to be hoped that the LOEWE initiative in Hesse will also set an example in the other federal states! As always, the usual birthday wish also applies to ProLOEWE: ad multos annos
Prof. Dr. Dr. h. c. Volker Mosbrugger
Congratulations ProLOEWE – here’s to the next ten years of successful networking!
Volker Moosbrugger asked me at the beginning of 2015 whether I would like to stand for election as spokesperson for ProLOEWE. I was delighted and immediately agreed to this proposal.That I would do this one day was not necessarily foreseeable. “Totally stupid” was the unanimous tenor of my colleagues at that time. The LOEWE focus “ELCH”, which I coordinate, had just joinedthe membership of ProLOEWE. Stupid to spend the research funds we had won so hard in the competitive review process on (unnecessary) additional tasks that was how we saw ProLOEWE at that time – and not on actual research. I am sure that similar discussions have taken place in most other LOEWE consortia and may still be taking place in some of the new ones. Over time, however, we became very aware of how important the work of ProLOEWE is for us and for the other LOEWE projects. Through the highly professional work of ProLOEWE, citizens are informed about the diverse topics of the LOEWE projects and sensitized to their particular importance. This is essential not only because we are all financed by tax money and thus by society, but also to increase acceptance for what we do in basic research. ProLOEWE is also a mouthpiece for politicians in order to make us scientists, with our usually quite specific needs, heard there as well. Politicians have to understand what we do and why we do it. The acting (and deciding) persons there are mostly not scientists. It is no trivial task to translate the findings into understandable language. Often hidden behind complex technical vocabulary and without making too many concessions to the accuracy of the presenta- tion, science topics are hard to communicate. The technical vocabulary normally used was created precisely in order to describe the facts as accurately as possible. So a translation into more generally understandable language often goes hand in hand with a loss of definitional clarity. The team at the ProLOEWE office plays an outstanding role in the field of communication here . Thus, my attitude has changed from a rather ProLOEWE-skeptical person to a big supporter of ProLOEWE, which
since 2017 is located at the University Kassel. Over time ProLOEWE developed a variety of external communication formats. Additionally, the network also offers the possibility of exchange among the scientists of the LOEWE projects, often with completely unexpected opportunities for new ideas and collaborations. Through this effort the LOEWE projects have grown together with ProLOEWE into a truly trusting and thoroughly influential network. With this in mind, I wish you a lot of fun reading about 10 years of ProLOEWE and many new insights into Hesse’s cutting-edge research. I wish ProLOEWE and all current and future LOEWE projects every success for the next ten years!
Prof. Dr. Arno Ehresmann
Communicating science and generating enthusiasm – the network of LOEWE research initiatives has been doing this successfully for 10 years! Happy birthday ProLOEWE!
With this special issue, we are celebrating the 10th anniversary of a very special network. Since its founding in 2012, ProLOEWE has linked 15 LOEWE research centres and 67 research clusters, with hundreds of scientists, and made their research accessible to the public. And what has this achieved? I personally have a very clear opinion on this: science thrives on networking and exchange. For this reason alone, ProLOEWE is important and right. Today, communication of science internally and externally is more indispensable than ever. In my opinion, ProLOEWE has the task of communicating science from the inside. Ideally in such a way that it becomes part of society, arouses understanding, interest and even enthusiasm.
This is exactly what ProLOEWE has been doing for years. Although I am undoubtedly biased as the acting spokesperson, I find what the small but mighty ProLOEWE-team has put together quite extraordinary body of work: The column „ProLOEWE-faces“ on the homepage and in the ProLOEWE-NEWS, the great activities for young researchers on the Hessentag state fair, the ProLOEWE science rallye for pupils in the difficult Corona times and of course the Escape Room, the ProLOEWE-Mars Mission, which was used for the first time this year. These are only some of the projects that have particularly impressed me.
For all these and many more activities in 10 years of science communication and networking, I congratulate the team of the ProLOEWE office led by Tanja Desch very warmly and with full conviction and say „Thank you!“ for the excellent work. I also extend an equally heartfelt „Thank you!“ to the large LOEWE community. It is fun to see how enthusiastically the scientists implement these joint actions and make them a success.
Both LOEWE and ProLOEWE are unique and enjoy an excellent reputation in the scientific world. The best part is that bright minds get the opportunity to work on topics in interdisciplinary collaboration and make something great out of it. Just like the bright minds, the LOEWE research projects are spread throughout Hesse, enabling excellent, cutting edge research-related teaching at all Hessian university locations and transfer projects with regional companies. But above all, excellent research distributed across all scientific disciplines is funded throughout Hessen. The funding is open-topic (and that‘s a good thing!) but by no means arbitrary due to the rigorous review process, and thus automatically starts precisely where gaps in knowledge need to be filled with life.
I fully trust that this will continue for many years to come. Hessen will remain a highly attractive science location and ProLOEWE will accompany this for many years to come just as competently, sympathetically and individually as it has done for the last 10!
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Hans-Peter Heim