The University has multiple ties with German Institutions ranging from individual collaborations between researchers to major institutional initiatives and partnerships. Here are a few examples of recent accomplishments.
Celebrating extraordinary chemistry with German researchers and institutes
On May 2 and 3, the University of Ottawa hosted a series of events to highlight the visit of Professor Holger Braunschweig, Chair of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Würzburg, Germany, and winner of the prestigious Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize. As winner of this prize, the highest honour awarded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), Professor Braunschweig is invited to present his research internationally.
Professor Braunschweig’s activities on campus began early on May 2 with presentations by uOttawa doctoral students from seven different chemistry research groups. In the afternoon, he took part in a high-level, international scientific conference that was organised concurrently by the uOttawa Center for Advanced Materials Research.
To conclude the conference and initiate the Leibniz Lecture, Sylvain Charbonneau, Associate Vice President, Research, welcomed the audience members and greeted Elisabeth Hornung, First Secretary of the German Embassy, who described the many beneficial ties that link uOttawa and German institutions, as well as the importance of Canadian-German collaboration in the field of science. Annette Doll-Sellen, director of DFG offices in New York, spoke about the history and importance of the Leibniz Prize and introduced Professor Braunschweig, who delivered his lecture entitled “Turning boron chemistry on its head: The unusual chemistry of boron in low oxidation states.” The audience members were impressed by the scientific originality of Dr. Braunschweig’s research, and the high profile of modern boron chemistry at the University of Würzburg, which recently founded an institute that focuses on sustainable chemistry and boron catalysis.
Science and Technology Networking Event
On April 11, 2017, the Office of the Vice-President, Research hosted a lively Science and Technology networking event at the Alex Trebek Alumni Hall. The well-attended evening featured representatives from the European Union and from the embassies of France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland and the U.K., who presented posters about their countries’ science and research priorities.
Nearly 100 uOttawa researchers, staff members and senior officials took part in the event to discuss the potential for international scientific partnerships and related funding opportunities provided by international funding agencies.
Mona Nemer, uOttawa’s Vice-President, Research, welcomed the attendees and highlighted the importance of the University of Ottawa’s close relationships with embassy representatives. She and uOttawa President Jacques Frémont made the most of this opportunity to network with members of these diplomatic circles.
Given the many promising contacts made over wine and cheese during the course of the evening, and the positive feedback received from all participants, this event may become a regular occurrence.
Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation
On May 5, 2016 the president of the German Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation, Dr. Helmut Schwarz, visited the University of Ottawa. Dr. Schwarz, a chemist by training, gave a seminar at the Department of Chemistry. He also gave a talk about German-Canadian research relations, followed by remarks from Professor Boyd, a uOttawa Humboldt Awardee. The Foundation offers a multitude of programs for researchers at all stages of their career, from the postdoctoral fellow to the internationally recognised cutting-edge researcher. Every year the Foundation grants more than 700 research fellowships and awards, primarily to academics in the natural sciences and in the humanities. Fellowships and awards from the Foundation are considered to be among the most prestigious and generous awards in Germany.
Max Planck Society
The University of Ottawa and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light in Erlangen have established a strong research partnership through international workshops and collaborative research projects. To formalize the partnership, the two institutions signed an agreement in 2012 to collaborate on research in photonics, nonlinear optics, and quantum optics. Based on this agreement, the Max Planck–University of Ottawa Centre for Extreme and Quantum Photonics was established in May 2015. The unveiling ceremony took place on April 13, 2016 in the presence of the president of the Max Planck Society, Dr. Martin Stratmann. The president took the opportunity to meet with Allan Rock and with high-level representatives from Canadian Science and Innovation Organizations during a luncheon organized by the Office of the Vice-President, Research. He also met with a group of uOttawa Faculty members involved in research with various Max Planck Institutions in Germany. With a yearly budget of 1.7 billion euros, the MPS is internationally recognized for its cutting-edge research and is with 18 laureates one of only two non-US institutions in an elite Top 10 that produces Nobel Prize winners.
Canada–Germany Initiative on Governance, Citizenship and Democracy
Following a 2012 meeting between the U15 presidents and their German counterparts in Berlin, President Allan Rock agreed to spearhead the Canada–Germany Initiative on Governance, Citizenship and Democracy in collaboration with Bielefeld University. In 2013, an initial exploratory workshop in Bielefeld led to a second workshop, which took place in 2015 at the University of Ottawa during the annual Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. This workshop was supported by the Office of the Vice-President, Research, as well as the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). One of the German co-chairs of the workshop was invited to give a Big Thinking Lecture at the Congress, entitled “Integration and citizenship in North America and Europe: Different paths, similar outcomes?”
The University of Ottawa, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the German Embassy invited Rainer Forst, recipient of the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize and professor of political theory and philosophy at Goethe University, Frankfurt, to give a lecture entitled “Toleration and Democracy.” The Leibniz Prize is Germany’s most prestigious award for research excellence. The University of Ottawa and the DFG continue to collaborate to sponsor a series of Leibniz Lectures on our campus.