Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Bonn, Germany

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF) draws up and implements education and research programs both nationally and internationally as well as supporting national research institutions. It also provides financing for large research institutions and infrastructure, including research ships and innovation laboratories such as the FS SONNE and Future Work Lab described here.
 
Since the year 2000, the BMBF has announced various annual "Years of Science" on current subjects of research, enabling a dialog between scientists and the general public and inspiring enthusiasm for research. The 2018 Year of Science focuses on the working world of the future. This includes a virtual tour of the Future Work Lab, a factory of the future researching the interplay between people and modern technology. After all, digitization is changing the world of work right down to its foundations. The fourth industrial revolution is putting a new face on factories. The virtual tour around the "Hall of the Future" shows off the solutions that Industry 4.0 has already made possible. Here, visitors can come to understand how people can safely work with large robots, how digital assistants can support human workers, how clever apps can make working processes easier and how an exoskeleton can make it easier to lift heavy loads. These and many other small steps lead to Production 4.0, which both increases operational competitiveness and keeps working environments attractive. In a networked production process, humans still play the starring role. The construction of and research at the Future Work Lab is supported by the BMBF's "Future of Work" program.
 
The 2016-17 year of science (Seas and Oceans) included a virtual tour of the SONNE. The research ship SONNE, launched in 2014, is Germany's most advanced research ship. The SONNE is owned by the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The SONNE can carry up to 40 scientists and around 32 other crew members. It measures 116 meters long and 21 meters wide, and is capable of reaching speeds of up to 15 knots—over 17 miles per hour. It is equipped with echo sounders and various lifting devices for its research work, some with lines and cables measuring over 7 miles long. As well as its four loading cranes, the SONNE has over 17 laboratories and a weather research station. The SONNE operates in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, helping with everything in the ocean from climate research to locating resource deposits.
 
Source of Image: SO237 Vema-Transit/Thomas Walter

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