Research collaborations and student entrepreneurships blossom as existing links with University of Bremen continue to thrive during pandemic.
Staff and students at Cardiff University have continued to take advantage of the opportunities presented by a strategic partnership with the University of Bremen, despite the challenges of global pandemic.
Whilst international travel has been restricted, both institutions have developed new ways of working to strengthen existing links and provide new opportunities for collaboration.
The Bremen-Cardiff Collaborative Fund, set up to encourage joint research between the two institutions, as well as the mobility of teaching, technical and professional services staff to share best practice, has remained open.
In light of the pandemic, a virtual or blended approach to delivering projects has been encouraged.
Dr Flavia Boscolo-Galazzo, who was previously a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Earth and Environmental Science, recently secured a prestigious Marie Sklodowska-Curie European Fellowship to join the University of Bremen’s Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM).
On receiving the Fellowship, she said: "This fantastic result would not have been possible without the Bremen-Cardiff Alliance, through which I’ve started this collaboration with the MARUM group.
"My award from the Collaborative Fund supported an extended research visit to University of Bremen, to develop and refine the ideas for my Fellowship application and to really get to know the research group I will now be joining. My move to MARUM will further enhance the partnership and research links between our universities, as well as giving a major boost to my academic career."
The University’s Enterprise and Start-up team has also been exploring innovative ways of engaging students in international activities, capitalising on relationships with Bremen to develop a new joint programme offering insights into business culture in both countries.
A total of 30 students from both Cardiff University and the University of Bremen worked together on an online project exploring social entrepreneurship ideas, developing their enterprise skills through creativity, problem solving and pitching to investors.
Cardiff University student Cat Hindson took part in the project and said: "I loved the experience, it way exceeded my expectations, and it was evident how much effort had gone in to make it a really great couple of weeks.
"The Cardiff-Bremen programme was an amazing experience connecting with like-minded people and working creatively, whilst also boosting my confidence and gaining practical skills for starting up my own business."
The Enterprise and Start-up team also designed and developed an online platform to provide students and graduates across Wales the opportunity to showcase their products and services and reach a bigger audience base.
The market was created in direct response to COVID-19 and the realisation that the restrictions were going to hamper plans for traditional test trading opportunities.
The Bremen-Cardiff Alliance aims at increasing the movement of both staff and students between institutions and providing better access to research funding.
By aiming to have reciprocal honorary appointments in place between research groups, it is enabling staff to take part in long-term collaborative research projects, to supervise PhD students and, most significantly, apply for external funding through the respective national systems of the partner institution.
The University of Bremen is one of Germany’s leading ’young universities’, with around 20,000 students and 2,300 academics. Its teaching and research activities span across a wide range of disciplines in the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences and the humanities.
From 2012, it has received funding as one of the eleven top universities in the German Excellence Initiative.