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Minister of Science Visits University of Freiburg

Petra Olschowski learns about sustainability in research and day-to-day operations

Freiburg, Feb 16, 2023

Minister of Science Visits University of Freiburg

The Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science Petra Olschowski (center) in conversation with Rector Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Rühe from livMatS, in the livMatS pavilion. Photo: Sandra Meyndt

On February 16, 2023, Baden-Württemberg’s Minister of Science, Research and the Arts, Petra Olschowski, visited the University of Freiburg. The focus of her visit was on sustainability and the transfer of knowledge. The minister learned all about how the day-to-day running of the university is becoming sustainable, and the wide-ranging climate protection and environmental safety measures. She also visited the livMatS pavilion. Named after the Freiburg Cluster of Excellence Living, Adaptive and Energy-autonomous Materials Systems (livMatS), the pavilion is a model for sustainable construction. It was developed with the involvement of researchers from the University of Freiburg, among others.

An excursion into the underworld of the university

The minister’s visit also took her into the underworld of the university: deep in the catacombs of the university, where the infrastructure channel clearly shows the measures the university is taking to save energy, she learned about how the day-to-day operations of the university are becoming sustainable. The University of Freiburg has also established a climate protection concept for the management of its buildings. This concept includes not only objectives but also clear, specific measures targeted at achieving them. The minister praised the commitment of the university: “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time, and we all have to do our bit to tackle it. The University of Freiburg’s efforts to reduce its CO2 emissions fit in perfectly with the climate protection measures of the federal state government, with the aim of achieving a climate neutral regional administration by 2030,” said Olschowski.

Presenting the livMatS pavilion

Afterward, the minister visited the livMatS pavilion. By combining natural materials with advanced digital technologies, it enables a unique bioinspired architecture. This makes the pavilion a sustainable alternative to conventional building techniques with efficient use of resources. “Made of renewable and biodegradable material, the pavilion impressively demonstrates how universities are contributing to the greater good of society with research, by developing solutions for the greatest challenges of our time. We need innovations like this in order to make more responsible use of resources and our planet in future. Cutting-edge research from Baden-Württemberg such as this at the University of Freiburg can make a fundamental contribution.”

“We were delighted to welcome the minister,” declared Prof. Dr. Kerstin Krieglstein, Rector of the University of Freiburg. “At the University of Freiburg we are continuing to pursue ambitious objectives with regard to sustainability. During the minister’s visit we were able to show the approaches we are taking to improve operational sustainability, and the innovative solutions our research is developing for better protection of the climate and the environment.”