Press release

HIGHSEA, the successful classroom instruction project of the Alfred Wegener Institute, gets a new partner school

[23. November 2011] 

Bremerhaven, 23 November 2011. HIGHSEA, the innovative classroom instruction project of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, will cooperate with the Carl-von-Ossietzky School Centre in Bremerhaven as of the coming school year. This means future pupils of the upper secondary school level at the school centre in Schiffdorfer Chaussee have the opportunity of applying for the next HIGHSEA class as of February 2012. In the past five years the HIGHSEA participants had come from the Geschwister Scholl School Centre.



“We are looking forward to close cooperation with the Carl-von-Ossietzky School Centre,” says Dr. Susanne Gatti, marine biologist and head of the HIGHSEA project at the Alfred Wegener Institute. By virtue of its orientation to natural and technical sciences as well as mathematics, she adds, the school offers the ideal prerequisites for this partnership.


HIGHSEA is a unique classroom instruction project in Germany. The 22 pupils it admits to the programme every year learn, experiment and prepare for the “Abitur” (final examination and university entrance qualification) at the Alfred Wegener Institute two days a week in the course of their last three years of school. The special feature: the boundaries between biology, chemistry, mathematics and English are largely done away with during these classes.


“In HIGHSEA the youngsters work together with scientists on an interdisciplinary basis, dealing with such broad questions as ‘Is the ecosystem of the Wadden Sea endangered?’ or ‘What are the risks and limits of modern molecular biology methods?’,” explains Kerstin von Engeln from the Bremerhaven education authority. In this way, she says, the pupils develop great motivation to intensively delve into complex subject matter.


Kerstin von Engeln and Dr. Susanne Gatti have headed the HIGHSEA cooperation project since it got off the ground nearly ten years ago. Their basic idea of getting girls and boys interested in the difficult questions of natural sciences through this innovative learning method has entirely lived up to their expectations during this time. “Of the graduates in our first six classes, 36.1 percent commenced natural science studies. That’s more than double the number on a nationwide average,” says Dr. Susanne Gatti.


The change in the partner school will not lead to any changes for the pupils in the three current HIGHSEA classes. “For these girls and boys from the Geschwister Scholl School Centre everything will stay the way it was,” Dr. Susanne Gatti assures and adds: “We would like to thank the Geschwister Scholl School Centre for the many years of cooperation.”


Information on HIGHSEA

  • Project title: Highsea (High school of Science & Education @ the AWI)
  • Project start: August 2002
  • Project management: Dr. Susanne Gatti, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research; Kerstin von Engeln, Bremerhaven education authority
  • Partners involved: Municipal council of the Seaside City of Bremerhaven (education authority), Geschwister Scholl School Centre (upper secondary school level), Carl-von-Ossietzky School Centre (upper secondary school level), Lloyd Gymnasium (and/or Bürgermeister Smidt School Centre)
  • Information on the admission procedure for 2012 is available on the Internet at:



Notes for Editors: Your contacts at the Alfred Wegener Institute are Dr. Susanne Gatti (tel.: +49 (0)471 4831-1392; e-mail: and Kerstin von Engeln (tel.: +49 (0)471 4831-2264; e-mail: Your contact in the Department of Communications and Media Relations is Sina Löschke (tel.: +49 (0)471 4831-2008; e-mail:


The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and middle latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the seventeen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.


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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.