BERLIN (AP) — Germany has given 20 young scholars from across the globe the chance to carry out research on climate change and sustainability as part of Berlin's push to get 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.
Awards were handed out Thursday to the young scientists and engineers from China, India, Brazil, South Africa, the United States and elsewhere in Latin America and Asia.
They won the chance to carry out fully funded, three-month research projects in Germany as part of a euro2 billion ($2.6 billion) government research fund earmarked for research and development of renewable technology.
Deputy research minister Thomas Rachel, who handed out the "Green Talents" awards to the youngresearchers, encouraged them to continue their efforts to help develop environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies that will help fight climate change.
"This is a challenge not only for Germany, but for the whole world," said Rachel. "We need to develop global solutions and need to strengthen international cooperation."
Germany runs several cooperation agreements with several nations to support efficiency, renewable energies and environmentally sound urban and industrial development in developing and emerging economies in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
But award recipients from the United States also say their time in Germany has given them opportunities they wouldn't have had elsewhere.
"It really opens a huge door," said Andrew March, 25, from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who won a grant in a 2010 and is now in Berlin working on his project that explores ways for companies to reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions.
He said the most interesting aspect was the German view of environment research as a key to remaining competitive in the future.
"Public reception is so important," March said. "I don't think there is that mentality in the U.S. yet."
Najwa Obeid, 30, who is working on her Ph.D. in environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the holistic approach to green technology in Germany was one of the most important aspects of the program.
"There is a real cooperation here between science, industry and public policy," said Obeid, one of the 2011 award winners.