University of Bayreuth, Press Release No 139/2021 08 October 2021
Green IT, solar energy, and hydrogen: Annual colloquium of the Bavarian Academic Forum BayWISS provides fresh ideas for a climate-neutral Bavaria
The Free State of Bavaria is to become climate-neutral by 2040 - the Bavarian Science Forum (BayWISS) has taken up this imperative and dedicated this year's colloquium to the question of what it would take to achieve this. Around 120 experts from the 31 BayWISS member universities met at the University of Bayreuth on Thursday, 7 October, to learn about the state of research at Bavarian universities and colleges. Concrete measures to counteract climate change, and thereby positively influence developments were presented and discussed.
Who would ever have thought about heating a house with a supercomputer? Dr. Michael Ott from the Leibniz Rechenzentrum of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities brought up this idea in the workshop "Green IT at Bavarian Universities" on the environmentally friendly use of information technology. The occasion was the annual colloquium of the Bavarian Academic Forum (BayWISS), which took place this year at the University of Bayreuth.
Other workshops revolved around the better use of resources on campus and, healthy and ecologically sustainable food in the cafeteria. However, not only the universities, but all of Bavaria is to become climate-neutral by 2040. The state government has set itself this goal. Clever minds and innovative technologies are indispensable in this pursuit. "With the hot topic of climate neutrality, it is once again clear how much the research groups of universities and universities of applied sciences in Bavaria can achieve in united solidarity," said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Baier, President of the East Bavarian Technical University Regensburg and Chairman of the BayWISS Steering Council. The annual colloquium is always a showcase of the educational institutions.
Young academics benefit from this in particular. This is because university graduates can do structured doctoral studies within the framework of eleven interdisciplinary joint colleges. There are currently about 250 doctoral students. The concept of BayWISS was also praised by the Bavarian State Minister for Science and the Arts, Bernd Sibler, in his video greeting: "I am firmly convinced that cooperation and networking are of central importance for the innovative strength of science in our state.” His predecessor in the minister's office, Wolfgang Heubisch, vice president of the Bavarian state parliament, stressed that intersections between science and business also needed to be found.
A panel discussion, moderated by Oberfranken-Offensiv Managing Director Frank Ebert, was not only about obvious climate protection measures such as the use of solar energy, wind power, and hydrogen, but also about indirect connections, such as the preservation of biodiversity for ecosystem services and the renaturation of peatlands as carbon sinks. Prof. Dr Susanne Tittlbach, Vice President for Digitalisation, Innovation & Sustainability at the University of Bayreuth and Chair of Social and Health Sciences in Sport, emphasised: "Sustainable mobility is beneficial to health as well. Walking and cycling are good for the climate." According to Tittlbach, it is about motivating people to permanently change their behaviour.
In the 2021 BayWISS Prize for "outstanding or forward-looking research achievement in a respective field of science", second and third place went to Andreas Schütz from the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt and Ina Schmidt from the Nuremberg University of Technology. First place went to Peter Steininger from the Regensburg University of Applied Sciences. His doctoral thesis was dedicated to "Experimental and numerical investigations on a solar-selective thermal insulation system".
At the end of the annual colloquium, Bayreuth University President and Deputy Chairman of the BayWISS Steering Council, Prof. Dr. Stefan Leible, pointed out that the Bavarian universities and universities of applied sciences have an important tool in BayWISS, in exchanging knowledge across universities, strengthening research, and achieving synergy effects. "At the BayWISS Colloquium, we used this great potential - once again - to jointly discuss important future issues of climate change and climate protection. A field in which the University of Bayreuth has been active since its founding and for which it is renowned worldwide today, in this respect we were particularly pleased to host more than 100 experts."
About the Bavarian Academic Forum BayWISS
BayWISS is the cooperation platform of all eleven Bavarian universities and 19 universities of applied sciences (HAWs) as well as the Munich University of Philosophy. The 31 member universities use the diversity of competencies, profiles, and ideas of the Bavarian universities to address common problems and represent common interests. They strengthen the culture of cooperation in research, teaching, and further education - and Bavarian science as a whole. Since its founding in 2015, BayWISS has grown into a unique nationwide instrument for institutionalised exchange between universities and HAWs. As this year's organiser of the BayWISS Colloquium, the University of Bayreuth is a member of the following collaborative colleges: Energy, Economy, Digitalisation, Social Change, Life Sciences and Green Technologies, Resource Efficiency, and Materials. Further information here: www.baywiss.de