On October 22nd and 23rd 2012, over 450 experts from politics, science, industry and municipal representatives got together in Berlin at the 9th BMBF Forum for Sustainability (FONA-Forum) to present the newest research in the field of sustainability and to discuss how these issues can be brought into everyday life. During the conference, then Federal Research Minister Annette Schavan presented an overview of the current developments in the framework programme “Research for Sustainable Development”.
In 2012, FONA was marked by the BMBF Science Year "Project EARTH: Our future", which was dedicated to research for sustainable development. Just like the Green Talents programme, it poses questions that have more than one correct answer: How do we want to live? What will we live on? And how can we preserve our environment? These areas were chosen as focal points of the discussion as they derive from the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The Science Year was set out to show how research results create the basis for decision-making in politics and society.
The FONA Forum was therefore also the ideal stage to honour the 25 Green Talents winners. The awards were personally handed over by Minister Schavan, who was also the patron of the competition. In her speech, she lauded the quality of the 403 applications from 69 countries that competed in the 2012 programme. Thus, it was a very difficult task for the expert jury to identify the outstanding young scientists from 20 different nations who came out as winners.
In the context of FONA, also the first ever Green Talents alumni reunion took place. All 55 winners from previous competitions since 2009 were invited to join and many of them followed the call. Together they participated in various FONA sessions and even had their say during a Green Talents panel discussion titled “International top-level research as driving force for sustainable development”. They also got the chance to get to know each other more informally - e.g. during a simulation game dealing with the hot topic “climate engineering”.