Press release

New training strategy for climate research in the German federal state Bremen

[01. October 2008] 

The joint graduate programme “Earth System Science Research School” (ESSReS) will be inaugurated today in Bremerhaven. The interdisciplinary graduate programme will train 24 PhD-students of geo- and climate sciences during the next three years. Apart from the doctorate, far-reaching skills in geo-, bio- and climate sciences will be confirmed for the PhD-students. The research training group is a joint project of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association, the University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen. It is sponsored by the Helmholtz Association with 900.000 Euros for three years.

“The concept of the Helmholtz graduate school is new, since the focus during the doctorate will lie on cooperation and communication between the disciplines; without it, modern climate research will not work,” explains Prof. Dr. Gerrit Lohmann, climate scientist and speaker of the graduate school at the Alfred Wegener Institute. “We will impart a better understanding of the complex system “earth” to increase the awareness of future scientists for the important questions of the interaction and change of the earth and climate system against the background of global change.”

Regarding content, the main focus will lie on the connection between data acquisition, analytical methods and modelling. To achieve this, complex measurements and analyses of climate data are conducted, for example on seashells, sediment or ice cores. The various measurement data are depicted in computer models of climate events and put into a global context. Modern processes of remote sensing and atmospheric chemistry are equally employed as methodological approaches of data analysis, geographic information systems and their interpretations. A good cooperation of the three institutions, which contribute their expert knowledge in these fields to the research school, is required for this.

{image_right)“Next to the actual supervision during the doctorate, we do not only offer the PhD-students state-of-the-art laboratories and infrastructure. We also prepare them with workshops on methods and seminars on key competencies for a successful professional life – both in science and private enterprise”, says Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, president of the Helmholtz Association. “The pact for research and innovation allows us to establish these new structures for junior scientists”, continues Mlynek.

Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, director of the Alfred Wegener Institute, is also glad about this new way of structured education of PhD-students: “It is the result of long years of mutual efforts of the institutions involved. It strengthens the network of universities and big research institutes in the federal state Bremen.” This is a major factor why the vice-president of the University of Bremen, Prof. Dr. Wilfried Müller, and the president of the Jacobs University Bremen, Prof. Dr. Joachim Treusch, have confirmed their participation at the inauguration ceremony. “The approval of the post graduate programme for earth system research can also be viewed as the jump start for a graduate school for the entire Alfred Wegener Institute. It was approved by the Helmholtz Association in May 2008 and is currently being established”, explains Lochte.

The lectures of the Earth System Science Research School incorporate a rich canon of expert and interdisciplinary contents. The students will at first enrol into block courses on the principal foundations of their own disciplines. Specialists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, the Jacobs University and the University of Bremen as well as national and internal cooperation partners further improve their knowledge in additional seminars, conferences and holiday courses. Furthermore, studies abroad are purposefully sponsored. In the framework of sponsoring by ESSReS, twelve of the 24 PhD-students are financed directly through scholarships. The other twelve junior scientists participate in the courses as visiting students from the involved institutions. The scholarships were announced in an international selection process in international periodicals. 116 applicants from 34 countries had handed in their application documents.

Further Information:

Your contact persons at the Alfred Wegener Institute are Prof Gerrit Lohmann (phone: +49/471/4831-1758; email: and Dr Klaus Grosfeld (phone: +49/471/4831-1765; email: Your contact person in the public relations department is Dr Ude Cieluch (phone: +49/471/4831-2008; email:

The Alfred Wegener Institute carries out research in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as in the high and mid latitude oceans. The institute coordinates German polar research and makes available to international science important infrastructure, e.g. the research icebreaker “Polarstern” and research stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. AWI is one of 15 research centres within the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest scientific organization.


AWI Pressemeldungen als RSS abonieren

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.