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International Office

Academic Programme

Sustainable Innovations and Engineering: Made in Germany

Week 1: Understanding the Germans 

A week full of welcome events and visits to some of the highlights of the region. During the “A Taste of German Language and Culture” program you will be introduced to the sound of the German language and learn your first words and sentences in German. We will also provide links and tips on how you can develop and improve your language skills on your own (e.g. by helping you to find a partner for tandem language learning). We will invite you to go out and discover what is typical of our region. You can also look forward to some culinary taste experiences from German cuisine! German and international students will develop their intercultural communication skills and competences. Together with exciting excursions and events, this week will help you to get to know the area and really get to know your fellow international summer school participants.


Week 2: Engineering and Management for Environmental Protection

The focus this week is on engineering and how aspects of environmental protection can and should be taking into account in the development and planning of projects and resulting products. In the morning the lectures include:

  • Why renewable energy is sustainable - examples from solar energy, wind and waterpower (Prof. Dr. Dieter Franke)
  • From cradle to grave: Life cycle assessment and sustainability analysis (Prof. Dr. Stefanie Meilinger)
  • Give it a try: Test strategies and production management in engineering research and development (Prof. Dr. Iris Groß and Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith) 
  • Renewable materials: not once in a lifetime  (Prof. Dr. Corrina Thomser)
  • Making better materials: digital tools for materials technology (Prof. Dr. Corinna Thomser)

In the afternoon it is your turn to give it a go. Students will select a project which they will follow for three days.

The projects are:

The good, the bad and the ugly: choosing sustainable materials (Prof. Dr. Corinna Thomser)

We look together in material databases (e.g., CES Edu Pack from Granta Design) and compare based on environmental and technical aspects different metals, polymers, and natural materials. We search for a special self-chosen application the most suitable material, or we design virtually a new one more suitable composite material. The project is self-organised and managed based on innovative project management methods and agile tools with elements of Scrum. 

The engineer's playground (Prof. Dr. Iris Groß and Prof. Dr. Dirk Reith)

In this course we will use very simple means to build a stable bridge natural materials as cardboard and string. The structure should be able to carry people across a metre-wide gorge. To do so, we will take a look at which lightweight construction principles can be used (e.g. trusses or the supporting effect of curvature) and which failure mechanisms must be considered. Above all, we will work as a large team, have lots of fun and learn to use our skills and strengths in the right place!

The power of 5 watt in machine learning (Dr. Alexander Haag)

To use novel machine learning algorithms we often need large amounts of energy for training and inference. This development is going into a direction that puts an even higher load on the climate and is incompatible with our future survival. The goal of this workshop is to understand that often energy-efficient computing machines are all we need to solve engineering problems. You will learn how to use machine learning on this Linux platform, using the Python programming language.

Week 3 : Materials Science and Software Engineering for Environmental Protection

This week focuses on how subject specific approaches from software engineering and material science can contribute to environmental protection. In the morning the lectures include:

  • Software engineering: A lot of bits thrown over a wall? Or something to make life easier? (Prof. Dr. Irene Rothe) 
  • Plastics: A curse or our savior? (Prof. Dr. Johannes Steinhaus)
  • Better plastics, less pollution? Routes towards sustainable plastics (Prof. Dr. Mandy Geiler)
  • Entrepreneurship and the Circular Economy: Towards Sustainable Development (Joyce Treptow)
  • Let's Print in 3D (Prof. Dr. Johannes Steinhaus) 

In the afternoon it is your turn to give it a go. Students will select a project which they will follow for three days. The projects are:

Lego - more than just a game: towards sustainable business modelling through Lego Serious Play (Dr. Ivan Paunovic)

The course deploys an LSP (LEGO SERIOUS PLAY) method to introduce sustainability-oriented entrepreneurship process in a creative and playful way. The students can expect the basic introduction to the LSP method and to business modelling, coupled with a workshop on preparing and presenting a business case in entrepreneurial teams. The workshop will be engaging, interactive and tailored to the needs of the participants. No previous business knowledge is required, just an interest in making impact through new technologies.

Pull up your sleeves: we collect plastic waste, analyse and evaluate (Prof. Dr. Johannes Steinhaus)

Have you ever thought of plastic consumption and littering? What happens to plastic waste in our environment? Is recycling a realistic and sustainable option? And how can we design plastic packaging in a sustainable and recyclable way? We will answer these and many more questions by collecting, sorting, analysing and evaluating plastic waste. Are you ready to pull up your sleeves?

Ready in no time: Low-code programming and mock-up production of applications for sustainability (Prof. Dr. Sascha Alda)


*Program may be subject to changes