Speaking on February 13 – the anniversary of the bombardment during WWII of Dresden – minister president of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer, reiterated the importance of international collaboration.
“What you have managed in the past 10 years, I find extremely remarkable,” he told attendees.
Kretschmer continued to say that the UK is recognised as a “great location for sciences” and KCL as a “beacon for international medical sciences”.
“Now the UK is unfortunately no longer a member of the European Union but it is nonetheless still a European country,” he said, pointing to its shared ideals, judicial systems and societies.
“As western countries we need to stick together,” he added. “We must work together if we… are to [overcome] the biggest challenges of these times… We will only manage that if we bring together the smartest people in the whole world.”
Chief officer technology transfer and internationalisation at TU Dresden Ronald Tetzlaff also emphasised that “in the time of war in Ukraine… it is even more important to make strong collaborations between friends in Europe”.
“We have one team, we have joint professorships, a joint administration and a place where we are friends and develop new technology for the new society,” he said
The initiative specialises in training in various fields of medicine, biology, technology, engineering and communication sciences.
“Our two excellent universities [work together] in a complementary way, we bring together expertise and we are connecting in the future much more engineering science in to these topics… We combine basic research, big technology transfer in order to develop systems for a digital world.”
Up to now, key projects undertaken at the transCampus include new approaches in diagnosis and treating diabetes, depression, long Covid and cancer.
Stefan Bornstein, transCampus dean, concurred that today’s biggest problems “can only be resolved by a global approach”.
“Now more and more we try to bring this knowledge to society, to our patients, to the market, to be used in the wider space,” he said.
“We are reaching out to many places now in Africa”
“We are reaching out to many places now in Africa… [and] a new collaboration that started with India. And it’s not only that we are bringing something to them, but… we are learning something from them to bring back. It’s not only bridging Germany and UK, but also in disciplines.”
Other partners of the initiative include NTU in Singapore and ETH Zurich, Bornstein said, adding, “We are not only now Kings and Dresden, but many universities are joining”.
‘Funmi Olonisakin, vice-president for international, engagement & service at KCL highlighted the institution’s Vision 2029 during a “moment of opportunity”.
“When you think of global mobility in the traditional sense and the mobility of academics and students, there’s no other way to see the world through the eyes of another, but to move around and to do so elegantly, seamlessly, and in ways that empower people without disrupting in a major way,” she said. “And that’s what this partnership has represented in many ways.”
And the partnership has been successful even through the difficult Brexit period, speakers suggested.
“I dare say that our partnerships in Germany overall and particularly in TU Dresden have reflected a kind of longevity, of innovation, of like-mindedness that has made it very easy for us to remain in Europe in every sense,” Olonisakin said.
In addition to current academic collaborations, the initiative is looking to expand further.
“What we want to do, what we hope can define the next moment, is that we begin to see the partnership expand toward other areas of knowledge, pushing the frontiers of interdisciplinary and also involving more our two cities and our universities,” Olonisakin concluded.