News overview

11.2011

Newsletter PS-Park 'n' Science, 7th edition, Nov 2011

English text version of the Park'n'Science newsletter

Table of Contents
Editorial
Blood vessels straight off the printer
EASY LISTEN – hearing what’s going on
Potsdam students at the forefront of research
Tracking down germs with antibodies
Elected
Honoured
Cooperated
Bookmarked
Park ‘n’ Life

Editorial

Year of Science 2011 – Research for Our Health

Contributions from the Potsdam Science Park

Editorial, Year of Science 2011 – Research for Our HealthSince 1946, when the World Health Organization defined health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”, it has been clear that research into health involves more than can be achieved by the doctor at the bedside. Even though the state of Brandenburg does not have its own medical school, the search for contributions for the Year of Science – Research for Our Health yielded a wide variety of results in the Potsdam Science Park alone, although they cannot claim to be exhaustive. Each of the sample projects in this edition reflects the entire complexity of the “health” condition. Just like the BioBricks in synthetic biology, they can be seen as modular components in the health system: the life sciences detect and influence the incidence of disease on a molecular level; without special equipment that has been specifically developed for this, progress would never have been possible. Wholesome food is essential, artificial organs are enabling research with ever fewer animal trials. In a vision of the future, they will directly alleviate suffering or extend life. Even participation in the modern media world is now becoming possible. A further aspect is the significance that inter- and intra-disciplinary exchange has in health research; the “brilliant idea” is today being replaced by a whole explosion of ideas. Various articles on the title page and in the “Cooperates” section pick up on this trend.

I hope you enjoy the issue.
Barbara Buller

Blood vessels straight off the printer

Blood vessels straight off the printer
(Image: Fraunhofer IAP)

Researchers have spent a long time working on cultivating tissues and organs in the laboratory. These days it is certainly possible to grow artificial tissue by means of tissue engineering, but so far scientific efforts to grow larger organs have failed. To give an example, scientists have been searching far and wide for a means of supplying such organs with the nutrients they need. Five Fraunhofer institutes have now joined forces in order to develop biocompatible artificial blood vessels. They have managed to produce structures out of elastic biomaterials in a printing process. To achieve this, they combined two different techniques: 3D printing technology, which is found in rapid prototyping, and multiphoton polymerisation, which was developed in polymer chemistry.

A 3D inkjet printer can very quickly produce 3D objects out of the most diverse materials. It builds up the material in layers which are connected to each other by a subsequent photochemical process. This process is able to create microstructures, but for the reproduction of capillaries this printing technology is, however, still too imprecise. To create a more refined structuring process, the researchers combined this printing technique with multiphoton polymerisation. To this end, scientists at the Potsdam Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP have developed unique materials which are subject to extremely strict requirements: They have to be able to be printed like ink, but then to set chemically with the aid of light pulses from the laser. In addition, the resulting artificial object must be elastic and biocompatible.

So that the future blood vessels can also integrate with natural tissue, the synthetic tubes are made biofunctional afterwards. Thus living body cells are able to latch onto them. In order to do this, scientists integrate modified biological structures, such as heparin, and anchor proteins into the inner walls. Alongside completely synthetic materials, hybrid materials made out of synthetic and natural polymers can also be used for the "printing process". In the second step endothelial cells can attach themselves to the tube systems. These cells form the innermost wall layer of every vessel in the body.

With the blood vessels produced in this fashion, completely artificial organs could be linked to a circulatory system and provided with nutrients. These organs are still not suitable for a transplant, but the organ complex can, however, be used as a test system and thus replace animal testing. All the same, it will be some time before organs made in the laboratory can actually be implanted with their own blood vessels.

The main participants in the project are the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam, Fraunhofer Institute for Interface and Bioprocess Engineering IGB in Stuttgart, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology and Automation IPA in Stuttgart and the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials Engineering IWM in Freiburg.

EASY LISTEN – hearing what’s going on

A new technology is making audiovisual media fit for the future

Ginetta Fassio and Christian Simon, Founder of Easy Listen
Ginetta Fassio and Christian Simon, Founder of Easy Listen

The use of audiovisual media is playing an ever greater role in our everyday lives and our affinity with it seems to have pervaded all ages and classes. However, increasing numbers of users are dissatisfied with what is conventionally on offer, as they find it difficult to hear what is happening. The central problem is the lack of speech intelligibility . In Germany alone, this affects over 15 million older and hearing-impaired people and the number is continuing to rise due to demographic changes and the increased strain on our hearing (e.g. growing use of MP3 players).

Previous approaches to improving the situation have been subtitling and sign language display. This service is essential for some 80,000 deaf people in Germany, but it only caters for a small proportion of the remaining hearing-impaired population. Sound engineers Ginetta Fassio and Christian Simon from the Film and Television University “Konrad Wolf” (HFF) started tackling this problem during their studies. Thanks to the excellent support from the HFF, their research was able to be rapidly expanded. As part of their joint diploma thesis, they developed EASY LISTEN, a process for acoustically optimising audiovisual media for older and hearing-impaired people. It combines digital hearing-aid technology with the latest audio technology. In a computer-aided remastering process, a new sound track is created that has excellent speech intelligibility and optimised sound. This can be offered as an additional audio track on the television or on DVDs, for example.

The user simply selects the Easy Listen sound version using the remote control; no additional technology is required. It can also be easily combined with existing services for improving the hearing situation, such as hearing aids. What is more, it can be used by those with normal hearing, which means that media consumption together with the whole family is possible again. In contrast to the existing services, a separate sound version for older and hearing-impaired people offers true accessibility for the first time, as it does not provide a visual substitute but allows the user to “hear what’s going on”.

EASY LISTEN is a world first. The connection between research in the fields of sound engineering and audiology has never been made before. The developers were therefore nominated by their university for the Brandenburg young scientist awards 2011.

Since the beginning of this year, work has been funded by the EXIST Transfer of Research programme. The first product for optimising high-quality media content, such as feature films, has been brought to the market in the shape of Easy Listen HD. Pilot projects have already been conducted with the broadcasting corporations WDR and rbb. The limited liability company (GmbH) was founded in September 2011. On their route from developers to managing directors, Ginetta Fassio and Christian Simon received optimum support from the Golm company Go:Incubator GmbH and its start-up advisor Dr. Jan Alberti. The aim is to establish EASY LISTEN technology as an audio standard and not only achieve true accessibility, but also greater listening pleasure for millions of older and hearing-impaired people.

Potsdam students at the forefront of research

Modular approach provides an overview of biological systems

Potsdam students at the forefront of research
(Image: K. Müller)

The new field of Synthetic Biology represents a crossover of Biology, Chemistry and Engineering. In order to foster ideas at an early stage, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) launched the International Genetically Engineered Machine undergraduate competition (iGEM) in 2004. This year, for the first time, an interdisciplinary student group from the University of Potsdam is submitting a project.

The group of 25 students at various stages of their studies is being guided by Dr. Kristian Müller,Prof. Dr. Katja Arndt and Prof. Dr. Elke Dittmann The so called Potsdam Bioware Team consists of Biochemistry students, who are planning and conducting the laboratory work, Physics students, who are contributing models, and IT/Design students with an application for smart phones. In addition, the students are discussing the possibilities and limits of Synthetic Biology with the public.

The aim of the team is to express a protein from the cyanobacterium Microcystis in E. coli and to optimise it for therapeutic purposes. Microviridin is a tricyclic peptide and acts as a serine protease inhibitor (serine protease inhibitors play an important role in blood coagulation and fibrinolysis [ed.]) With the Synthetic Biology methods; the group wants to enhance the inhibiting properties. For this, the young researchers are using random mutagenesis and developing a screening system and a means of finding suitable proteases using phage display.

One central idea of Synthetic Biology is BioBricks. BioBricks allows abstraction and standardisation to be applied to Synthetic Biology. Similar to the modular design principle of a computer, these are modular DNA components that are designed with a defined structure. This should facilitate the creation of new types of systems. Every team is sent a set of these basic building blocks at the start and bases its project on these. Progress must be documented on an online platform, the wiki.

The team is also drawing further valuable experiences from the project. The networked activities and the coming together of various specialist fields of Biology are challenging the team members in unfamiliar ways. Not only are they consolidating what they have learnt so far in theory, but they are also learning to work creatively in the laboratory. In the interdisciplinary team, the participants are learning their own strengths and weaknesses and how to communicate with the other faculties. Even the overall financing and the meetings and project planning in the laboratory are organised by the students. A good example of this interesting teaching method is the self-led seminars and presentations about the students’ work progress, which encourage their independence and self-confidence.

The results have been presented at the European preliminaries in Amsterdam and were evaluated by a jury. The Potsdam team among 16 other participants has qualified for the final which will takes place in Boston in November.
Stefan Wahlefel and Niklas Laasch

Contact:
Dr Kristian Müller, Institute for Biochemistry and Biology at the University of Potsdam,
e-mail: kristian@syntbio.net

Tracking down germs with antibodies

The project group
The Project Group

The detection of microorganisms, e.g. in food samples, continues to be a great challenge for consumer protection. In a cooperation project with Analytik Jena AG supported by the BMWi, UP Transfer has developed a new method for detecting microbial DNA using monoclonal, fluorescence-quenching antibodies (“DNA-Q”). This has been evaluated as a model for detecting salmonellae. The method can be used as a real alternative to real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and expanded to detect any DNA samples. It is envisaged that the method will be implemented in a point-of-care application in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT). The core of the method is based on newly developed antibodies against a fluorophore that affect its fluorescent properties.
The Hybrotec project group at UP Transfer GmbH has specialised in the production of monoclonal antibodies and the development of immunoassays and is involved in various projects for antibody and assay development (e. g. for detecting cyanotoxins and mycotoxins) in cooperation with companies and research facilities in the region (e. g. aokin AG, caprotec GmbH and the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing).
Jörg Schenk.

Elected

New President for the University of Potsdam

Senate selects Prof. Oliver Günther to lead the largest university in Brandenburg.

Prof. Oliver Günther
Prof. Oliver Günther (Image: K. Fritze)

Seven months after the appointment of Prof. Dr Ing. Sabine Kunst to the office of Brandenburg Science Minister, the elected representatives of the status groups of the University of Potsdam have chosen a new President. The decision was made in favour of the external candidate Oliver Günther in the first round. With a majority of 8 votes to 3, he prevailed over his opponent Prof. Dr Robert Seckler, who has been Professor of Physical Biochemistry at the University of Potsdam for 14 years.

Prof. Oliver Günther Ph.D., a business informatics specialist born in Baden-Württemberg in 1961, is the fourth President to head the University of Potsdam. Oliver Günther was previously the Dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences at the Humboldt University in Berlin, and director of its Institute for Business Informatics. After his degree in industrial engineering and mathematics at Karlsruhe University, he earned his Ph.D. at the University of California in Berkeley. Prof. Günther has a broad spectrum of national and international experiences. He was employed at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI), and has worked at the University of California in Santa Barbara and at the Research Institute for Application-Oriented Knowledge Processing in Ulm.

After the vote, Günther said: “In the past months, I have learned so much about the University of Potsdam, and know where the problems lie. I also have ideas for solving them. We will have to sail the ship through stormy seas, but I am convinced that we will make good progress together.” In an interview with the PNN newspaper he stated more specifically that, in a second-tier university cluster, the University of Potsdam must maintain a stable position, from which it could push forward into a leading position in certain areas. He also sees great potential in Potsdam’s numerous non-university establishments.

Prof. Oliver Günther is expected to take office in Potsdam on 1 January 2012.

Director of the MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology elected to the Senate of the Max Planck Society.

Prof. Dr Lothar Willmitzer, director of the “Molecular Physiology of Higher Plants” department, and the founding director of the Institute, has been elected to the Senate of the Max Planck Society. The Senate is an important decision-making body of the Max Planck Society. It elects the President and other members of the Board of Directors, and decides on the appointment of the Secretary-General. It determines the founding or closing of institutes and departments, the appointment of the Scientific Members and Directors, as well as the statutes of the Institute.

Honoured

Jeff Schell Prize for Young Scientists

This year at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, the Jeff Schell Prize for excellent scientific work was awarded to a postgraduate and a postdoctoral researcher for the first time. The prize, which is worth 2,500 euros, went to Dr Wagner Luiz Araùjo and Dr Ronan Sulpice this year.

Brazilian Dr Araújo received the prize for a range of publications, which he developed from his doctoral thesis. Shortly after the conferral of his doctorate, he was appointed as a Professor at the Federal University of Viçosa in Brazil.

The second prizewinner, Dr Ronan Sulpice, is French. Since 2004, he has been working as a postdoctoral researcher in the working group of Prof. Mark Stitt at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology. In addition to his scientific works on the correlation between metabolic processes and plant growth, among other things, Dr Sulpice also impressed the jury with his professional support and instruction of young scientists, and with the central role which he played in the development of “Frosty”, a robot which makes it possible to homogenise and proportion small samples of plant materials at -80 degrees.

German-French prize for Professor Markus Antonietti

Prof. Markus Antonietti
Prof. Markus Antonietti (Image: MPIKG)

Professor Dr Markus Antonietti has been awarded the Victor Grignard - Georg Wittig Prize for his work in the field of material chemistry of organic solid bodies. The award is conferred by both the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker (GDCh) and the Societe Chimique de France (SCF), (the German and French Chemical Societies). The Director of the Colloid Chemistry Department of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces received the distinction at a prizewinners’ conference of the SCF in Marseilles.

In his award lecture, Antonietti described new approaches to artificial photosynthesis, that is the direct transfer of light into chemical energy storage molecules. The prizewinner also develops CO2-abatement technologies which will allow our technical civilisation and the environment to be reconciled.

Roy L. Whistler Award 2012 given to Peter Seeberger

Prof. Peter Seeberger
Prof. Peter Seeberger (Photo: MPIKG)

The Roy L. Whistler Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry 2012, worth 10,000 US dollars, has been given to Peter Seeberger. This was announced by the International Carbohydrate Organization. Peter Seeberger is a Professor at the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Free University of Berlin, and Director of the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam-Golm. Peter Seeberger is one of the world’s leading scientists in the “Glycomics” research sector - the study of carbohydrates, which chemists also call sugars. Seeberger developed a novel synthesis machine for producing complex sugars, in order to be able to analyse synthetic vaccines.

 

Cooperated

Top Turkish researchers in GO:IN

Podium discussion and participants in the Turkey day on 30/06/2011 in the Golm Science Park
Podium discussion and participants in the Turkey day on 30/06/2011 in the Golm Science Park

Cooperation with international scientists leads to new impetus, so for the Potsdam Research Network pearls, the promotion of international exchanges is an important aspect of its networking. As well as contacts with e.g. universities and research institutes in Brazil, pearls is currently developing new contacts in Turkey. In spring and summer, two top Turkish scientists, Prof. Hüseyin Öktem (Middle East Technical University in Ankara) and Prof. Candan Tamerler (University of Washington in Seattle and Istanbul Technical University) visited the Potsdam-Golm Science Park. Presentations on the topics “Innovative Nanobiotechnology” and “Modern Biosensor Methods” were met with great interest by Potsdam scientists from the Fraunhofer Institutes and the University.

On the initiative of pearls, an information day on Turkey was held in June 2011, with the theme of “Politics and Education of Past and Present”. The contributions of the guest scientists Prof. Süheyla Schröder, Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the Bahcesehir University, Istanbul, and Dr Meltem Akbas¸, together with the closing podium discussion, gave the participants an excellent opportunity to learn more about Turkey as a country of education and research.

In October, a delegation of German experts and pearls employees travelled to Izmir for a ‘Biogas-process technologies’ workshop. This meeting was initiated and organised by researchers from the Leibniz Institute for Agricultural Technology, Potsdam Bornim (Prof. Dr Bernd Linke). Discussions were also held about the possibility of common projects and research initiatives.

The coordination point for the Scientific Faculty of the German-Turkish University led by Dr Borissenko is also at the Golm site. Laying the first stone of this international university took place in March 2010, under the patronage of Prof. Dr. Rita Süssmuth, former President of the German Bundestag. The faculty coordinated in Potsdam is supported by the Vice President for International Affairs of the University of Potsdam, Prof. Dr. Ria DeBleser, and will consist of two major domains, biosciences and geosciences. The start of the first geoscientific master’s degree course “Natural Hazards” is planned for 2013. The concept for this degree course was finalised in cooperation with the German Research Centre for Geoscicences and scientists from the University of Potsdam, with active participation of the PROGRESS research association.

Contact:
e-mail: info@pearlsofscience.de

Ein neuer Baustein

Universität Potsdam und Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich verbindet Kooperationsabkommen.

Durch dieses Abkommen wird die bereits intensive Zusammenarbeit zwischen dem Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften und dem Department for Earth Sciences festgeschrieben und auf andere Institute erweitert. In den Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften fand die bisherige Zusammenarbeit im Rahmen des Virtual Campus of Earth Sciences statt. Es handelt sich dabei um ein Konsortium der Universitäten Potsdam, ETH, Grenoble, Arizona State, Stanford, Cornell UC Santa Barbara und Montana. Es dient zur Netzwerkbildung und gemeinsamen Betreuung von Doktoranden. Schwerpunktthemen der Zusammenarbeit mit der ETH Zürich sind Erdbeben-Seismologie und Naturgefahren, Paläoklimatologie sowie die Untersuchung klimatisch und tektonisch gesteuerter Oberflächenprozesse. Seit 2008 existiert das gemeinsame, durch die Leibniz-Preise von Prof. Dr. Manfred Strecker (Universität Potsdam) und Prof. Dr. Gerald Haug (ETH Zürich) finanzierte DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) Leibniz Center for Earth Surface and Climate Studies. Gerald Haug ist an zahlreichen Projekten der Universität Potsdam beteiligt.

In den kommenden vier Jahren wird darüber hinaus Prof. Dr. Frank Scherbaum zeitweise eine Gastprofessur am Schweizer Erdbebendienst der ETH Zürich wahrnehmen und so die Zusammenarbeit auf dem Gebiet der Erdbeben-Gefährdungsanalyse voran treiben.
Schließlich besteht eine enge Kooperation zwischen den Universitäten Potsdam, Cottbus und Zürich über gemeinsame Projekte im Rahmen eines Sonderforschungsbereiches. Ziel ist es auch, die Mobilität der Studierenden beider Einrichtungen zu erhöhen und die internationale Netzwerkbildung zu forcieren.
B. E.

Bookmarked

‘alle zeigen’

Drawings by the artist Samuel Rachl in the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Potsdam-Golm

“The exhibition title ‘alle zeigen’ (show all) suggests a whole range of people, brought together on the Facebook platform, for example. The drawings are arranged on the wall as if they were called up by the user and spread out on the screen”. This is how Dr Birgit Löffler approaches the title in the brochure to the exhibition.

The exhibition includes drawings from 2010/2011 in mixed media on paper. Opening hours are Monday-Thursday, 12-5pm, until 30 March 2012. Guided tours are also possible with prior reservation by telephone. Tel.: +49 (0)331 581 870 00.

Park ‘n’ Life

A summer of celebrations

The Long Night of Science, the 20th anniversary of the University of Potsdam, and the Open Day captivates Potsdamers and the many guests

A relativistic bike tour at the speed of light through virtual Tübingen
A relativistic bike tour at the speed of light through virtual Tübingen (Image: E. Müller/AEI)

Wide awake until the very last minute, even the youngest visitors were fascinated by the great range of activities on offer on the “cleverest night of the year”, the Long Night of Sciences. As stakeholders in this event at the locations Am Neuen Palais and Golm Campus, students and teachers opened the summer 2011 season of Potsdam science celebrations with witty performances, interesting presentations and elaborate experiments under the slogan “Stars under the stars”. The Potsdam Research Network pearls was among the organisations to present themselves at the premises of the University, also the Standortmanagement Golm gGmbH . Non-university institutes such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research (IAP) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology (IBMT) gave insights into their current research. Overall, the University of Potsdam welcomed more than 14,000 visitors to the sites.

In the Fraunhofer IAP, children and adults saw how hot ice cream turns into alien slime, how juice drops are formed, and how you can make sand float. The visitors found out what nappies have to do with environmental protection, or how you can pump concrete. They were introduced to using light as a tool, and were captivated by polymer lasers. Using the example of artificial eye corneas, Dr Joachim Storsberg explained the importance of polymers as biomaterials for medicine. The secret of red snow was revealed in the Fraunhofer IBMT - the cause, snow algae, can be used as a source for antifreeze. Sophisticated ‘lab on a chip’ technologies for medical diagnostics gave an impression of future preventive measures.

A week of celebration
A week of celebrations

Around its birthday, 15 July, the University of Potsdam showcased a variety of events, with the highlight being a whole week of celebrations from 11-17 July. As well as the official celebratory events with friends and patrons from business, politics and society, each faculty organised its own programme for one day of this week of celebrations. At the age of 20, the best age to celebrate, there had to be a proper summer celebration, and UP Transfer GmbH organised a concert by Ray Wilson.

The opening of the 3D laboratory for the focus area of Earth Sciences and integrated Earth systems analysis was a special start to the run-up to the anniversary events of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences in Golm. The new laboratory, which was set up as part of the Potsdam Research and Technology Network for Georisks, Climate Change and Sustainability (PROGRESS), is used for visualising and processing multi-dimensional image data, such as 3D city models, and data structures, for example. There is now specialised computing capacity and powerful visualisation technology available for this from the company BARCO. The laboratory is used by the scientific establishments of the PROGRESS network, their partners, as well as companies and service providers in the region, and is subsidised with a total of 600,000 Euros by the Federal Government, the state of Brandenburg and the EU. It is the first publicly realised project of its kind in the state of Brandenburg.

At the end of the celebratory season, the Max Planck Institutes - the MPI for Gravitational Physics, the MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology and the MPI of Colloids and Interfaces - held an Open Day. Other hosts of the day at the GO:IN centre were the Brandenburg State Archive, Standortmanagement Golm gGmbH, the Potsdam Research Network pearls, as well as the German Society for Food Safety, Water and Environmental Health (DGL).

The special presentations, guided tours and demonstrations in all institutes were very popular and well attended.

The topics which the Albert Einstein Institute (Gravitational Physics) had prepared for its visitors ranged from pure mathematics to simulation, measurement and analysis of gravitational waves. The visitors could really “experience” the effects of Einstein’s Theory on a relativistic bike tour at the speed of light through virtual Tübingen.

children’s research area
(Image: IAP)

There was a whole children’s research area with exciting experiments at the MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology. Molecular gastronomy and ice-cream making were just as besieged as the Kammerakademie Potsdam orchestra’s stand with its craft activities - oboes made of drinking straws and horns made of garden hoses.

The offering of Standortmanagement Golm gGmbH in the GO:IN centre had a very international feeling. Visitors could while away the day in taster lessons for language courses, playing international children’s games and sampling culinary delights from all over the world.

Jumping frogs liven up the Science Park

New kindergarten opened in the Science Park

The “Springfrosch” FRÖBEL kindergarten, whose name means jumping frog, opened in Potsdam-Golm in September. In total, 120 children from crèche to kindergarten age can be looked after in the new building. Its opening hours, which have been arranged with the daily routines of parents working in the sciences in mind, allow a balance to be achieved between careers and family life.

“One, two, three” and they’re off! Ten little jumping frogs greeted the guests at the opening celebration with their song - in perfect English. As well as providing an education which aims to have a natural and scientific approach, the teaching staff is rounded out by two native English speakers. With this bilingual and intercultural approach to education, the organisation takes an interest in the everyday experience of the children - the world of the “jumping frogs” is an international one.

New kindergarten opened in the Science Park
(Image: FRÖBEL)

After a first spade cut in the pouring rain, problems with the subsoil and a harsh winter, the many guests at the opening celebration were all the more pleased with the colourful new kindergarten in the Science Park, the “longed-for child” as it has lovingly been called by Rainer Borgmann-Quade, the Chairman of Fröbel e.V.

“Together with FRÖBEL and the Potsdam-Golm Science Park, a prime example of successful cooperation between companies and institutes in the interest of family-friendliness has been created here with a kindergarten organisation,” says Anke Latacz-Blume, Director of the Social Affairs, Health and Environment Department of the city administration of the state capital Potsdam, full of praise for the common initiative of the local institutes, student unions and the site management.

An open and friendly atmosphere is created over two floors by the furnishings, architectural details and the colourful design of the premises, which are bathed in natural light. The children have fun with the “FRÖBEL door” - a small-scale door installed especially for them. For scientific curiosity and variety, there is an experimentation area, a workshop, a theatre stage, a language laboratory and a children’s restaurant with its own children’s kitchen. The playfully designed radio-show room is a particular highlight in the FRÖBEL kindergarten.

With its year-round opening times of 6am to 8pm, and at weekends if necessary, the kindergarten is tailored to the needs of parents employed on the site. Applications can be made all year round. The director of the kindergarten, Tina Axt, can be reached by telephone on: +49 (0)331 647584 94 for all queries from interested parents and for information on free places.