About two years ago, scientists of KIT met to discuss projects with colleagues in Chile. Andreas Braun remembers: “Many participants were well informed about the country and culture.” This marked the fruitful start of a series of talks “that eventually gave rise to a network identity - a “we” feeling,” says the professor of the Institute of Regional Science (IfR). By and by, more than 45 scientists from 17 KIT institutes joined the network. In 2016, the Cluster succeeded in convincing the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) of establishing the German-Chilean Institute for Eco-Industrial Development (IEDE).
On November 01, 2017, BMBF started to fund the establishment of the virtual institute. KIT closely cooperates with the Universidad de Chile UCh (Santiago), the Universidad de Concepción UdeC (Concepción), and the Universidad Austral de Chile UACh (Valdivia). In the initial phase of two years, the KIT consortium will be granted nearly EUR 300,000. After an evaluation, it will receive another EUR 600,000 in the consolidation phase of three years. The name of the institute refers to the conception of “industrial ecology.” (Link audio) It refers to business concepts for efficient production with little impact on the environment and society.
In the opinion of Professor Thomas Hirth, KIT Vice President for Innovation and International Affairs, it is only logical that the new virtual institute has partners in Chile: “Chile’s economy is growing strongly, the demand for energy will increase – this results in the necessity to invest in renewable energies and increasingly complex technologies. Joint research is the basis.”
It is planned to establish an office on either side. At the KIT office, Dr. Fredy Rios will work. The next big step now consists in developing these structures on both sides. It needs committed partners at the Chilean universities. At Valdivia, Gonzalo Tampier, professor for ship technology and marine engineering, does this.
Text: Klaus Rümmele
Translation: Maike Schröder
Audio Editing: Santiago Horne