German research station in Antarctica inaugurated

February 20, 2009

Today Federal Minister of Education and Research, Dr. Annette Schavan, will inaugurate the new Neumayer III station in Antarctica. Although the actual topping-out ceremony will take place on the Ekström ice shelf in eastern Antarctica's Dronning Maud Land, a live video feed to Berlin will allow Dr. Schavan to participate. Neumayer Station III was set up by the Helmholtz Association's Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. Thanks to the station's new, patented construction, it is expected to have a useful life of about 25 or 30 years. "The circumpolar regions are key areas where the interdependencies between the earth's biosphere, geosphere and atmosphere can be seen particularly clearly. Year-round data from the Antarctic are especially crucial for climate research," says the Helmholtz Association's president, Prof. Jürgen Mlynek. As Germany's biggest research organisation, the Helmholtz Association is charged with developing and maintaining a complex research infrastructure, which includes the research vessel Polarstern, research stations, satellites and supercomputers - to the benefit of its own scientists as well as that of many others from various universities and other research institutions. Thus several thousand researchers from all over the world come to Germany each year to work with these facilities. "The sophisticated infrastructure and facilities we have to offer - many of which are the only ones of their kind in the world - help attract some of the brightest minds in science to Germany," Mlynek pointed out.

One of the Helmholtz Association's top priorities is climate research, not only in polar regions, but also in the more temperate latitudes of Europe. This entails the long-term collection of a wide variety of data documenting the effects of climate change on ecosystems and their management, and maintaining four regional climate centres that offer concrete advice to municipalities, companies and citizens. Helmholtz scientists also occupy prominent positions in the Institute for Advanced Studies Climate, Earth System and Sustainability Sciences (IASS), which receives funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Brandenburg State Ministry of Science, Research and Culture.
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The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Aeronautics, Space and Transport. With 28.000 employees in 15 research centres and an annual budget of approximately 2.4 billion euros, the Helmholtz Association is Germany's largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

Helmholtz Association

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