Issue 29, August 2012
bulletComing Up: GCRI News & Events
bulletEducation vs. Training: Reflecting on the Purpose of University Education in the 21st Century
bulletChildren with Rare Diseases: From Therapeutic Orphans to Pioneers of Personalized Medicine
bulletGerman Science Evening: An Introduction to the Leibniz Association
bulletScience for the Benefit of Humankind: Interview with the President of the Leibniz Association, Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer
bulletInnovation: Gooooal or No Goal? GoalRef Changes the Game
article1Coming Up: GCRI News & Events

A lot has happened at the GCRI in the past weeks: We published our second annual report and welcomed a new team member, Jennifer Audet. With the academic year about to begin, the GCRI team is in full swing preparing for another season of activities. A brief overview of upcoming events can be found below. We look forward to seeing you this fall!  

  • Education vs. Training: Reflecting on the Purpose of University Education in the 21st Century (9/5 & 12/6, NYC)
  • GAIN-TEN Transatlantic Entrepreneurship Network: Second Transatlantic Entrepreneurial Breakfast (9/7, Boston, MA)
  • German Science Evening: An Introduction to the Leibniz Association (9/10, Washington D.C.)
  • Children With Rare Diseases: From Therapeutic Orphans to Pioneers of Personalized Medicine (9/10, NYC)
  • Research and Development Roundtable (10/11, NYC)
  • Healthcare and Information Technology (10/17, NYC)
  • Transatlantic Cooperation in Graduate Education (10/25-26, NYC)
  • Manufacturing and Workforce Development: German and U.S. Approaches (11/7, NYC)
  • The Tech Campus and Its Impact on the Regional Economy (11/12, NYC)
  • Focus: Smart Grid (11/15, NYC)  
Are you a scientist or an administrator at a university or research institution? Would you like to learn more about biodiversity and climate change research in Germany? You may be interested in the 2012 DAAD Science Tour (11/25 to 12/1). Applications are being accepted until 9/15.

article2Education vs. Training: Reflecting on the Purpose of University Education in the 21st Century

As tech campuses increasingly populate the academic landscape and current economic realities demand job-ready graduates, are our universities moving away from the principles of a traditional liberal arts education, or are they adapting to the needs of the 21st century? Are these concepts mutually exclusive? The role of higher education in society, the employability of college graduates, and the commercialization of university research are just a few of the issues being discussed on a global level, particularly in North America and Germany. On September 5, 2012, join Prof. Dieter Lenzen (President, University of Hamburg), Prof. Beate Schücking (President, University of Leipzig) and Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher (Chancellor, State University of New York) as they address the rapidly changing relationship between a traditional university education and the university degree as preparation for a career. Prof. Jeffrey M. Peck (Dean, Weissmann School of Arts and Sciences, Vice Provost for Global Strategies, Baruch College, City University of New York) will moderate the discussion, which is being organized with the German Rectors' Conference (HRK). Click here for event details. Unable to attend? A video recording will be available on shortly after the event - or follow @gcri_ny for live tweets. 

Prof. Christoph Klein
article3Children with Rare Diseases: From Therapeutic Orphans to Pioneers of Personalized Medicine

Fewer than five in 10,000 children suffer from rare and devastating diseases caused by genetic defects, often without hope for curative therapy. These children have long been neglected in science and medicine, and they belong to the weakest of the weak in our societies. Recent advances in technology, the completion of the human genome project, and increased awareness on a global level may hold promise for these patients. In a Leibniz Lecture on September 10, 2012, Prof. Christoph Klein (Hospital Director, Dr. von Haunersches Kinderspital; Founder, Care-for-Rare Foundation) will address how the deciphering of the underlying genetic causes of rare diseases will open new horizons for the development of innovative therapies. Patients with rare diseases may also represent the avant-garde in the journey towards personalized medicine, characterized by tailoring diagnosis and therapy to the needs of the individual patient, based on knowledge of individual traits of their genome.


Prof. Klein received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize, the highest honor awarded in German research, in 2010. The prize, which was established in 1985 and includes a monetary award of up to €2.5 million, provides an unparalleled degree of freedom to outstanding scientists and academics to pursue their research interests. It is conferred by the German Research Foundation, which is also the co-host of this event. Click here for event details.


Logo Leibniz Association
article4German Science Evening: An Introduction to the Leibniz Association

One of Germany's four major research organizations, the Leibniz Association unites 86 research institutes covering the humanities and educational research, economics, social sciences and spatial research, life sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, engineering, and environmental research. At this German Science Evening on September 10, 2012, in Washington D.C., Karl Ulrich Mayer, who has been the Leibniz President since 2010, will provide an overview of the Leibniz Association including career opportunities for young scientists. His presentation will be followed by a talk by Karl Lenhard Rudolph, the Scientific Director of the Fritz-Lipmann Institute (FLI), the Leibniz Institute of Age Research located in Jena, Germany. He will speak about "Delaying Decline: The Relationship between Stem Cells, Aging, and Cancer" and address growing evidence that age-related alterations of stem cells can cause both tissue aging and carcinogenesis. For more information and to attend this German Science Evening at the German Research Foundation's Washington D.C. office, click here. The event is being sponsored by the Leibniz Association, the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and the German Center for Research and Innovation.

Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer
article5Science for the Benefit of Humankind: Interview with the President of the Leibniz Association, Prof. Dr. Karl Ulrich Mayer

The Leibniz Association is a network of 86 scientifically, legally and economically independent research institutes and scientific facilities with an annual budget of approximately 1.4 billion euros. The areas covered by Leibniz Institutes range from regional research and economics to the social and natural sciences, life sciences, engineering, environmental research, and the humanities. Leibniz Institutes have made significant contributions to Germany's clusters of excellence in a number of fields, including mathematics, optical technologies, materials research, medicine, environmental research, bio- and nanotechnology. In addition, the Leibniz Association also comprises eight research museums in natural and cultural history, for example the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany, as well as numerous infrastructure facilities, such as specialist libraries, collections and databases.

Prof. Dr.
Karl Ulrich Mayer has been the President of the Leibniz Association since 2010. In this month's GCRI interview, he introduces the Leibniz Association's networks, explains how Leibniz Institutes differ from other research institutions in Germany, and encourages excellent post-docs to apply for a Leibniz-DAAD research fellowship. Prof. Mayer is Stanley B. Resor Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Yale and Director Emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin. His major research areas focus on social stratification and mobility, life course and aging, education and labor markets. To read the interview, click here. 

article6Innovation: Gooooal or No Goal? GoalRef Changes the Game

Goal or no goal? GoalRef, the goal-line technology provided by Fraunhofer IIS, will soon answer this question. On July 5, 2012, FIFA, the international football association, has approved the use of GoalRef. This goal-line technology will be implemented for the first time at the FIFA Club World Cup Japan 2012 in December. For the first time in the history of professional soccer, sensors will tell referees whether the ball has passed the crucial white line or not.  


Fraunhofer's GoalRef system uses antennas to create low-frequency magnetic fields in and around the goal. Wires inside the goal posts generate the field. "GoalRef is like an invisible 'curtain' which hangs behind the crossbar and the goal line. As soon as the ball fully passes through this 'curtain,' it is recognized as a goal," says Ingmar Bretz, GoalRef's project head. Every time the soccer ball, which is equipped with three embedded flexible copper coils, approaches the goal line, slight changes in the magnetic field around the goal occur. In less than a second, these changes are then detected, processed, and sent directly to the referee's wristwatch via encoded radio signals.


Compact and easy to install, GoalRef consists of three key components: intelligent goal posts, balls, and referee watches. Its researchers say that it provides accurate information regardless of what is happening on the pitch, even if the ball has been obscured by a player. For more information, click here.