University of Bonn Rector Professor Michael Hoch met with high-level delegates from the prominent University of Saskatchewan (USask), Canada, and engaged in productive talks. The eight-member delegation was headed by the university’s President Professor Peter Stoicheff and Professor Baljit Singh, Vice-President Research. Held in the Universitätsforum, the meeting marked another key milestone in the nascent partnership between the two institutions.
Last spring a smaller delegation had visited Bonn, then in early September members of the University of Bonn management visited the University of Saskatchewan in turn, including the deans Professor Bernd Weber, Professor Heiko Schoof and Professor Walter Witke as well as the Vice Rector for International Affairs, Professor Birgit Ulrike Münch. This time around the focus of the exchange in Bonn was on various topics of an academic nature. These included research matters of major worldwide importance like the development of new vaccines and medicines, food safety, sustainable food production, quantum science, sustainability and water and interdisciplinary study of "indigenous knowledge" in relation to health, AI, heritage and material and immaterial archives, among other topics. Academics from the two universities held round tables on the specific areas of discussion, reviewing research issues jointly pursued thus far and considering possibilities for future collaboration.
Rector Hoch was satisfied with the meetings, commenting: "Our partnership with the University of Saskatchewan is greatly important to us as a substantial element within our international network. At this third meeting held between us this year, we initiated highly concrete steps that we will be taking in our collaborative research efforts. Within this framework our researchers will be jointly addressing topics of global impact, and I could not be more pleased at this very positive and dynamic development!"
Dr. Markus Brinkmann, who is USask’s special advisor to the vice-president, Research on strategic research partnerships with Germany, pointed to a series of core "clusters of excellence" laid out by the University of Bonn as key places where the two institutions could overlap and share knowledge. "Those topic areas, they are all globally important. Think about sustainability, water security - those are intricately linked with climate change. Think about food security, sustainable food production - our food systems are global and interconnected. Think about vaccines and therapeutics - COVID-19 was one of those examples where you could see how easily a public health issue in one part of the globe can affect all of the planet," Dr. Brinkmann said. "Solutions to any and all of those problems need to be global, as well."
Vice Rector Münch outlined the specific next steps to be taken, agreed on in the concluding discussion of the meeting: "These steps include jointly taught classes, networking events and colloquia via Zoom and specific projects within the framework of German-Canadian grant programs. In August the Rector and I attended a meeting of the German U15 with our Canadian counterpart alliance in Ottawa, representing the first bilateral meeting of its kind as an effort to permanently increase German-Canadian partnership across the board, as set out in an official joint statement by the two countries. These latest developments in our relationship with our partners in Saskatchewan, and the timing thereof, are thus most favorable and welcome."
Founded in 1907, the University of Saskatchewan is one of Canada’s largest public higher education institutions, with main campus in Saskatoon. Roughly 26,000 students are enrolled there in over 100 fields of study.
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