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Launch of the Einstein Research Unit on Climate and Water under Change

Berlin-Brandenburg as a Model Region for Research on the Risks and Solutions of Altered Water Resources under Climate Change

News from Jul 02, 2021

How does climate change affect the availability and quality of water? How can the new challenges for water resource management be addressed together with stakeholders? These and other issues on the topic of “Climate and Water under Change” are the questions that the second Einstein Research Unit (ERU) of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) will address. The interdisciplinary research team of the partner institutions Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin has set itself the task of researching the risk of water availability and quality caused by climate change and finding solutions for the sustainable management of water resources together with society, administration, economy, and politics. The Einstein Research Unit “Climate and Water under Change” (CliWaC) will be funded with six million euros for an initial three years.

The ERU is dedicated to the German urban capital and its surroundings, which is severely affected by water scarcity representative of many regions worldwide. “We don't have to go to the Arctic to see how much the climate crisis is affecting our lives. All it takes is a day trip from Berlin to Brandenburg,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst, spokesperson of the BUA and president of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. “The German federal state most abounding in water is drying up. Around a hundred forest fires a year make it clear how much we endanger nature and thus our livelihood with our way of life. In order to preserve water as a resource and to investigate possible solutions, the Berlin University Alliance is bundling its expertise with stakeholders not affiliated with academia. CliWaC is thus representative of research that cares about the future of our society.”

Water is fundamental to human life, natural, agricultural and forest ecosystems, and many social and economic sectors. In particular, due to more frequent extreme events such as droughts and floods, climate change is affecting water availability and quality. The research team around ecologist Prof. Dr. Britta Tietjen and meteorologist Prof. Dr. Uwe Ulbrich of Freie Universität Berlin, anthropologist Prof. Dr. Jörg Niewöhner and climatographer Prof. Dr. Christoph Schneider of Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and forest scientist Prof. Dr. Birgit Kleinschmit and the climatologist Prof. Dr. Dieter Scherer of Technische Universität Berlin deals with the topic of climate and water under change from a transdisciplinary perspective, since sustainable strategies can only be developed by addressing all affected areas and working together with the stakeholders.

“CliWaC marks the launch of another forward-looking research project as an Einstein Research Unit,” says Prof. Dr. Günter Stock, chair of the executive board of the Einstein Foundation Berlin. “In particular, the comprehensive cross-institutional approach of numerous researchers has convinced the international reviewers.” Einstein Research Units are intended to establish research alliances in strategically important areas of the Berlin University Alliance.

The first Einstein Research Unit of the Berlin University Alliance is dedicated to quantum computing – one of the key technologies of the 21st century. It is funded with two million euros annually for an initial three years and uniquely combines expertise in theoretical and experimental physics, applied mathematics, computer science, and machine learning.


Prof. Dr. Britta Tietjen
Theoretical Ecology, Freie Universität Berlin
Email: britta.tietjen@fu-berlin.de 

Dr. Claudia Wiedner
Head of Office for Grand Challenge Initiatives
Email: grand-challenges@berlin-university-alliance.de


The Berlin University Alliance

The Berlin University Alliance is a consortium consisting of three major Berlin universities – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin – and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, established to shape research and education in Berlin. The four partners joined forces to further develop Berlin as a research hub with international drawing power. Together the partners explore major societal challenges, increase public outreach, promote the training of junior researchers, address issues of quality and standards in research, and share resources in the areas of research infrastructure, teaching, diversity, equal opportunities, and internationalization. The Berlin University Alliance is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Berlin under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder.

The Einstein Foundation Berlin

The Einstein Foundation Berlin is an independent, not-for-profit, science-led organization established as a foundation under civil law in 2009. Since then, its task has been to promote international cutting-edge science and research across disciplines and institutions in and for Berlin. To date, it has funded 172 researchers, including three Nobel laureates, 71 projects, and six Einstein Centers.

Joint press release from Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Einstein Foundation Berlin

Press contact

Hans-Christoph Keller, acting press spokesperson for the Berlin University Alliance and press spokesperson for Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Email: medien@berlin-university-alliance.de 

Christian T. Martin, Communication Einstein Foundation Berlin
Email: cm@einsteinfoundation.de 

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