Beyond the ivory tower: keeping society informed
LOEWE initiatives strive for scientific excellence – and consider themselves closely connected to social and economic processes. In many different ways they seek an exchange with society: they pass on their expert knowledge at public events and trade fairs and are geared to politics, business representatives or the general public.
Researchers at the LOEWE Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, for instance, were involved in the establishment of the IPCC’s new global climate report published in March 2014. At present they are also taking part in a global assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The LOEWE research centre SAFE is operating a Policy Center that maintains an ongoing dialogue with members of the government and parliament in Berlin, Brussels and Wiesbaden, the aim being to contribute to a long-term, stability and growth oriented financial policy by providing independent advice. For example, SAFE invites high-level representatives of European governments, central banks and regulatory authorities to an annual Summer Academy in the Permanent Representation of the State of Hessen in Brussels. The LOEWE research centre CASED maintains its profile in respect of questions of IT security addressed in the public debate. In 2014 CASED published studies and trend and strategy reports on the topics of user tracking, software security, Industry 4.0 and research agendas in cyber security. The Commission of Inquiry on the NSA set up by the German Bundestag also invited CASED Director Professor Waidner as an expert to provide sound answers regarding the technical possibilities of ensuring protection against mass surveillance.
In addition, the LOEWE initiatives embarked on numerous activities that are intended to make their research comprehensible and accessible to a broad public. Altogether, more than 20 LOEWE initiatives contributed to the ProLOEWE representation at the “Hessen schafft Wissen” campaign’s stand at the Hessentag in Bensheim and, thanks to interactive opportunities that changed each day, they were largely responsible for the stand’s success. With regard to the opportunities and risks of big data, the LOEWE research centre CASED launched a civic dialogue in December; the plan is for it to be continued in 2015. Interactive exhibits represented the LOEWE research centres Biodiversity and Climate and CASED aboard the MS Wissenschaft (MV Science), which in 2014 called in at 38 towns and cities in Germany and Austria with the exhibition entitled “Digital unterwegs”. Researchers from the LOEWE initiatives HIC for FAIR, Biodiversity and Climate and Integrative Fungal Research took part in the Night of Science at Goethe University on 27 June, while at the Marburg festival in July, SYNMIKRO extended an open invitation to explore synthetic microbiology. The LOEWE initiatives Biodiversity and Climate, Integrative Fungal Research and Extrajudicial and Judicial Conflict Resolution attracted the attention of the youngest target groups at the Children’s University organised by Goethe University in the autumn.