To show the group why Hamburg is called “gateway to the world” they were invited to hop on one of the many small cruise ships at the “Landungsbrücken” (landing stages) to explore Hamburg from its waterside. The guided tour vividly displayed the function and the importance of the city and the Green Talents were very interested in the long history of the harbour and its current development. Afterwards they had some free time to explore the city on their own.
In the afternoon, it was then time for another important element of the programme: as making new contacts and expanding your network is essential to realize own approaches and ideas as well as to initiate new cooperation it is also a vital part of the Green Talents initiative. That is why during the first week of the Science Forum the awardees already had a lot of opportunities to get in contact with research institutes and their young- as well as senior scientists and we already saw many business cards being exchanged. However, the experience of other high-potentials – namely the Green Talents awardees of previous competitions – might also proof very helpful in pushing new ideas and career opportunities. On the basis of the very positive experience of the Green Talents Alumni Reunion in 2012 with its fruitful discussions and its powerful networking, the organizers decided to integrate such an element in the 2013 Science Forum too. This was done by inviting all Green Talents who were in Germany at that time either for research projects, additional scholarships, Green Talents Research Stays and of course those who decided to live and work in Germany.
Dealing with such a young and innovative group, the organizers were challenged to come up with a likewise innovative networking approach to connect the awardees with the twelve present alumni in quite a short time. By developing and conducting a “Science Speed-Dating” it was possible to connect the groups with each other and having a lot of fun together at the same time. During the breaks and following the networking activity, the participants were furthermore welcome to deeper explore the research topics and questions of their peers by walking around the poster exhibition displaying a poster of every Green Talent. During the evening dinner discussion were carried on and at the end of the event it was hardly possible to distinguish between Alumni and 2013 awardees.
The day ended with a night walk to the so-called “Energy Hill”, a perfect example for transition and innovation. From toxic waste dump to prime example of renewable energy generation: a former landfill site has been transformed into a renewable energy hill as part of the International Building Exhibition in Hamburg. Today it supplies around 4000 households with electricity using wind power and solar energy alone, and is being made accessible to the public as a view point.