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31 March, 2021

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Sally and Nicola enjoy lab visits in the Centre of Excellence facilities in Hamburg (left) and Bonn (right);

Co-Director Associate Professor Nicola Gaston and Principal Investigator Professor Sally Brooker were invited to join a German Academic Exchange Service-funded delegation to Germany in January 2020.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the largest German support organisation in the field of international academic co operation, akin in role (although not in scale) to Education Aotearoa New Zealand.

The aim of the visit was to increase connectivity between research centres in Germany and Aotearoa New Zealand, with sustainability broadly the theme of the visit. Along with representatives from some other CoREs, Associate Professor Gaston and Professor Brooker spent the week visiting Clusters of Excellence – very similar research centres, in Germany, to the CoREs – from Bonn, to Cologne, to Aachen, Hamburg, and Berlin. In particular, the delegation visited the Cluster of Excellence in Matter and Light for Quantum Computing (ML4Q), in Bonn; the Fuel Science Centre in Aachen; Advanced Imaging of Matter, in Hamburg; the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (also in Hamburg); and the Leibniz Institute for Crystal Growth in Berlin; as well as Unifying Systems in Catalysis, at the Technical University in Berlin.

The delegation, which included Education NZ, MBIE and MFAT, also met with several German Members of Parliament.

Associate Professor Gaston said that at a very personal level – as someone who was once funded by the DAAD to visit Germany on a research stay during her PhD – it was extremely positive to see the emphasis put by these policy makers on the importance of scientific exchange for the relationship between Aotearoa New Zealand and Germany.

There is a lot we have in common, as scientific communities.

Associate Professor Nicola Gaston Co-Director MacDiarmid Institute
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The group of delegates included representatives of Riddet, Te Punaha Matatini, the BioProtection Research Centre, as well as MBIE and Berlin Embassy staff.