South African researcher Dr Owen Horwood, one of the Green Talents awardees 2011, is currently visiting the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE) for his two-month research stay in Germany. The HCE, which was founded only last year, helps to sustainably combine existing competences at Heidelberg University in the area of environmental sciences. Going beyond the traditional boundaries of a specific subject or discipline, the HCE aims at providing academic solutions to existential challenges and ecological effects of natural, technological and societal changes on humans. The complexity and cultural dependence of modern environmental problems goes beyond the analytical framework of any one single method or discipline. For this reason, the HCE employs a model of close interdisciplinary and integrative cooperation.
Dr. Horwood decided to conduct his BMBF-funded research stay in Heidelberg after having visited HCE in the context of the Green Talents Forum in 2011. During two days of the forum, the winners are given the opportunity to meet German experts of their individual choice at their respective institutes. Since the beginning of July, Dr. Horwood is now visiting the eleven institutes affiliated with the Center and exchanges ideas with their researchers. In addition, he is in contact with members of other university facilities, like the Marsilius Kolleg, which aims at bridging the gap especially between the sciences and the humanities.
"I feel honoured to get the opportunity to visit this world-renowned university, the oldest in Germany", says Dr. Horwood. "The exchange with colleagues from different institutes of the HCE is very fruitful. Even though the Center is still relatively young, it already doubtlessly contributes a lot to fostering holistic interdisciplinary environmental research." The thirty-three year old is a specialist consultant for sustainable development with a focus on water resources management. To this end, Dr. Horwood has focused his studies on issues regarding water sector reform in South Africa, with emphasis on stakeholder participation and institutional functionality, often overlooked by researchers. In addition to his doctorate, Horwood holds two master's degrees from Oxford University (UK), the first in Environmental Change and Management and the second in Water Science, Policy and Management, as well as a third master's degree in Chemistry from the University of the Witwatersrand (SA). One of his most recent publications presents a comparative analysis of river basin governance in the Olifants basin of South Africa and the Ruhr and Rhine basins of Germany.
Source: Heidelberg University