Federal Environmental Foundation Awards Leuphana Projects 420,000 Euros

Lüneburg. Good news for two sustainability initiatives of Leuphana University Lüneburg: The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) has awarded more than 400,000 Euro for Leuphana projects. Prof. Dr. Werner Wahmhoff, Vice General Secretary of the foundation presented the award letter to the two scientists, Prof. Dr. Andreas Fischer und Professor Dr. Gerd Michelsen. One project seeks to improve the integration of sustainability themes into the curricula of German vocational schools, while the other introduces an innovative qualification certificate for sustainability journalists. University president Sascha Spoun is pleased with the accomplishment: "Leuphana has already an excellent reputation in the area of sustainability research. These two prize-winning projects are motivated by the desire to make scientific insights tangible and immediately useful for society."

The DBU awarded just over 372,000 Euro to the project ‚bbs-futur-2.0’, lead by Prof. Dr. Andreas Fischer, a vocational and business education expert. A network of up to 100 vocational schools and study seminars will be participating in the project whose goal is to improve subject-specific skill of both students and teachers in the realm of ecology, economics and social affairs. With his project Fischer hopes to set sustainability oriented development in motion at the curricular, personnel and school administrative levels. Regional companies will likely be integrated into project as well.

"In the first phase of the project we will train managerial and pedagogical staff at vocational schools to develop teaching concepts and materials, in an exchange between schools, for testing models in the classroom and in school life generally," says Fischer, explaining the next steps. Members of the school management will at the same time be working on concepts and criteria for a school development model based on sustainability, while generating a set of criteria that define "sustainable vocational schools," Fischer continued. Finally, with the help of a newly built network system, the project hopes within the next two and a half years, to diminish the existing structural deficits in the area of sustainable vocational training, both in terms of subject matter and career development,

The DBU granted 51,000 Euros to Prof. Dr. Gerd Michelsen in order to initiate a continuing education program for professionals, entitled "Sustainability and Journalism." As an expert for environmental communication, he will use the funding to develop a new training module as part of the educational process: students will develop a newspaper supplement on the topic of sustainability for the German weekly "Die Zeit." They will be trying out a new format of journalistic reporting about sustainability and in the process acquire further qualifications. “With the new concept we hope to strengthen the journalists’ understanding of frequently complex sustainability themes and to encourage them to create innovative journalistic reports,” Michaels explained. "The ZEIT supplement will, on the one hand, focus on analytical questions and communicate knowledge about sustainability. On the other hand the supplement will have a practical orientation and show how sustainability can succeed, inform, and shape action," Michaels elaborated. The ZEIT supplement is scheduled to be published at the end of October 2013 and will be published in the federal states of Lower Saxony, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Berlin, thereby reaching about one million readers.