LOEWE 2016-2018 Basic research: Motor for economic and social development
Even if the understanding of the benefits of science for society and the image of researchers has improved in recent decades with a stronger interest in scientific subjects in the general public, it remains the case that many people do not understand just how important research is for the economy and the society as a whole. It is therefore an important concern for each of the Loewe initiatives to make clear the connection between their striving for scientific excellence and the social and economic processes that define all of our lives. The initiatives therefore seek exchange with society at large in many different ways: They pass on their expert knowledge at public events and trade fairs, addressing political representatives, business actors or the general public. The LOEWE initiatives also take part in numerous activities with the aim of making their research accessible and understandable for a broad range of people. In the past three years, for example, 40 LOEWE initiatives have taken part in Hessentag (Hessen Day Fair) events occurring in Herborn in 2016, in Rüsselheim in 2017 and in Korbach in 2018. The ProLOEWE activities at the Hessentag booth were part of a research promotion campaign („Hessen schafft Wissen“) and featured new interactive offerings each day that were a great success. At the „Nacht der Lichter“ (Night of Lights) as part of an open-door day of the Biology Department at TU Darmstadt, the LOEWE research clusters iNAPO and Compugene offered various activities designed to bring science and research closer to the general public. Also in Darmstadt at a TU Darmstadt Event entitled „hellwach“, the LOEWE research cluster BAMP! gave guided tours to visitors to parts of their facilities which are otherwise closed to the general public with researchers answering questions on the subject of building with paper. „Fungi – Food, Poison and Myths“ was the name of an exhibition that was prepared under the scientific direction of the former LOEWE research cluster Integrative Fungal Research (IPF) and attracted much positive attention during its presentation from June 2017 to August 2018 at the Museum Wiesbaden. The exhibition gave visitors insights into the great diversity of fungi and their diverse uses for science and society. At the Chemikum in Marburg, the LOEWE research centre SYNMIRKO organised a one-day workshop in September 2017 with the title „Photosynthesis 2.0 – Improved photosynthesis thanks to designer metabolic processes and turbo algae“. The workshop focused on new approaches for increasing the photosynthetic productivity of algae and other plants. In view of climate change and the challenge of feeding a continuously growing world population, the workshop was dealing with a subject of immense significance. With more than one hundred participants from science, industry and the general public, the event was also very well received. In conclusion, a look ahead: In November 2018, the first „East-West Dialogue Symposium“ will take place at which the LOEWE research cluster Regions of Conflict in Eastern Europe and the Leibniz Institute ‚Peace Research Institute Frankfurt‘ will invite public participation at a panel discussion.