A four member German delegation led by Dr. Henk Van Liempt from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research was on Tuesday, 2nd February, 2010 received in the Academic Board Chamber to discuss the possibility of establishing a Centre of Excellence on Climate Change at UCC.
Prof. B. K. Gordor, Vice-Dean of the School of Physical Sciences, received the delegation on behalf of the Vice-Chancellor.
Stating the purpose of their visit, Dr. Van Liempt indicated that they were here to consult with Government and other Educational Institutions on their policies on climate change. He said that due to the recent concerns about the problem of climate change, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, in a partnership with some German-tertiary institutions had presented a proposal to the German Parliament for funding to set up Centres of Excellence to train young African Scientists on possible measures to combat the effects of climate change.
Dr. Van Liempt stated further that the Federal Government had given them the go ahead to carry out the project. He assured UCC the German Government's readiness to finance the establishment of the Centre in order to combat climate change. The first year of the project, he said, would be used to consult possible partners (governments and educational institutions) to draw up a plan for the project.
Contributing, Prof. Paul Vlek, from the Centre for Development Research of the University of Bonn, stated that the Centre of Excellence would be networked through satellite to similar institutions in Germany in order to share ideas and resources. He added that there could be a joint university degree on climate change with partner universities which will be co-signed by both universities involved.
He further explained that the involvement of the German Ministry of Education in the trip to UCC was to enable them "get an impression of how the state of the art is and where the interest is". According to him, the Centres will be developed based on the strengths and interests of the countries and universities involved.
The UCC team also gave an overview of their activities with other universities with respect to climate change. They lauded the idea and promised to give the maximum support needed to bring the idea into reality.
Responding to a question as to the level of political consultation, which is the first step of the project, Dr. Van Liempt stated that there had been a positive response from their Ghanaian counterparts towards the project and expressed the hope that an agreement would be reached soon.
After deliberations, it was agreed that the problem of climate change needed an inter-disciplinary approach to tackle. As such it was suggested that, at the next visit of team, they would be met by key figures in the various disciplines, who would help come up with a structure to kick-start the project.
The Vice-Dean of the School of Agriculture, Prof. F.N.A. Odoi requested that they should be presented with a document on how the structure of the Centre of Excellence would be and he was promised a copy as soon as the team got back to Germany.
In his closing remarks, Prof. B. K. Gordor promised that they would be in touch with the team, and stated further that a team will be set up by UCC in order to draw up a document on the strengths of UCC with respect to the proposed project.
Present at the meeting were, the Vice-Dean, School of Biological Sciences, Dr. Isaac Galyuon; Vice-Dean, School of Business, Dr. Rosemond Boohene, and Mr. Edoh Torgah, Department of Ghanaian Languages.
Other members of the delegation included Dr. Manfred Denich, from the Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn and Gabin Kouevi Ananou from the German Aeropace Centre.