“We hope to provide groundbreaking insights into sustainable development of our forests”

Symbolic groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of the Umwelttechnikum (Environmental Technology Center) (from left): Dr. Matthias Schenek, Chancellor of the University of Freiburg, Michael von Winning, Head of Programs & Strategy of the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, Prof. Dr. Friederike Lang, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, Sabine Kurtz, State Secretary in the Ministry of Food, Rural Areas and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg. Photo: Harald Neumann/University of Freiburg

On October 15, 2021, the groundbreaking ceremony heralded the construction of the new Umwelttechnikum (Environmental Technical Center) at the University of Freiburg, a research center that will allow scientists to simulate diverse ecosystems, recreate extreme weather events or analyze the interaction between plants and insects under real conditions. “We hope that the new Environmental Technical Center at the renowned research site in Freiburg will provide groundbreaking insights into the sustainable development of our forests,” said Sabine Kurtz, State Secretary in the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Food, Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection, at the groundbreaking ceremony, which took place during the Faculty Day of the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources, to which the Environmental Technical Center will belong.

Michael von Winning, Head of Programs & Strategy at the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation, which is supporting construction, emphasized: “The Environmental Technical Center is to become a new unique selling point for the Faculty of Environment and Natural Resources and the University of Freiburg. I am very pleased with the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation’s crucial support to make this project a reality.”

And Dr. Matthias Schenek, Chancellor at the University of Freiburg, said:

“The Environmental Technical Center further strengthens our focus on the environment and sustainability at the University and provides space for new interdisciplinary research approaches. And being able to consolidate University, state and private involvement for such important future-related issues through the Environmental Technical Center is one of our major concerns.”

When we will reach the tipping point in our forest ecosystems? Which tree species are resistant to climate change? Researchers will be able to work on these and other pressing sustainability questions in the Environmental Technical Center starting mid-2023, by which time construction should be completed. It will bridge the gap between laboratory research, large-scale field experiments and observation plots.

The total costs calculated for the realization of the Environmental Technical Center amount to around 5.5 million euros, with the Eva Mayr-Stihl Foundation contributing around 4 million euros. In addition, the Ministry of Food, Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection Baden-Württemberg and the Ministry of Science, Research and the Arts Baden-Württemberg are funding the construction.

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