The German Embassy, New Delhi and the German Research Foundation (DFG) have announced the winners of the Indo-German Grand Science Slam held on October 27, 2012 at the Indraprastha Millennium Park to mark the inauguration of German House for Research and Innovation in New Delhi (DWIH New Delhi) and the Indo- German Urban Mela.

Young doctoral and post-doctoral researchers were required to condense their knowledge and research into five-minute lively talks in a simple, fun and creative format to engage with the audience.This was followed by a five minutes Q&A session for each finalist with the jury and the audience. Vikas Shabadi from Technische Universitat Darmstadt won the eminent Jury Award. He presented on the theme, "Nano-electronics, Spintronics, Multiferroics," in the engineering/ informatics, physics/ mathematics/ geosciences category. Japleen Kaur Pasricha of Jawaharlal Nehru University won the Audience Award. She presented in the humanities and social sciences category and her topic was "Contemporary German Pop literature: Christian Krachts 'Faserland'."

Both Shabadi and Pasricha were felicitated by Dr Emily Haber, state secretary, ministry of foreign affairs, Federal Republic of Germany along with professor Ing Matthias Kleiner, president, DFG. While Pasricha received a fully paid learning opportunity to work for three months in the research group of an eminent researcher in Germany, Shabadi was awarded conference participation opportunities worth a matching amount, since he is already part of a research group in Germany.

Debdoot Sheet from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, who presented in the engineering/ informatics category on the theme ultrasonic histology, bagged the Fraunhofer Application Award, which was given away by Ambassador Satinder K Lambah, president of Federation of Indo-German Societies in India (FIGS). Elaborating on the award, professor Ing Hans-Jorg Bullinger, past president of the Fraunhofer Society, stated that Sheet is invited to Germany on a week-long exposure visit to the Fraunhofer Institute of Integrated Circuits in Erlangen in Bavaria.

This is the very institute which invented the MP3 on whose bases many more new technologies have been developed. The other young finalists who also presented their research at the Indo-German Grand Science Slam included Dr Sajad H Ahanger from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad on the theme "uniting boundaries and dividing the empire," in the medicine/ physiology category, Ahan Dalal from University of Hyderabad on the theme, "can a plant biologist make a farmer smile?" in the Green Life Sciences category and Bidus Kanti Das of Indian Institute Of Technology, Kharagpur speaking on "don't waste a 'waste" in the chemistry and process engineering category. All participating finalists received a citation and a gift hamper. Ambassador Michael Steiner said: "The inauguration of the DWIH, the Grand Science Slam and the nine day 'science menu' at the Indo-German Urban Mela are the best ingredients for a prosperous Indo-German science cooperation.

Research and innovation needs bright young minds and interaction beyond borders. That is exactly what the DWIH, the Science Slam and the Mela are about." Congratulating the winners as well as the other finalist participants, the official coordinator of DWIH New Delhi and the director of DFG India Office), Dr Torsten Fischer, said: "It has been an absolute joy to see such an exciting and overwhelming response to the first ever Science Slam organised under the banner of DWIH New Delhi. Selecting the best six finalists out of the nearly 50 applications was not easy, and impressing our Jury in Germany to make it to this Science Slam was in itself no mean feat, so congratulations to you all.

While only three of you took away the prizes, it is, at the end, research and innovation that has really won, and that is the spirit we aspire to take further with the setting up on DWIH New Delhi. From now on, we will be organising many more such events round the year to encourage more such bright young minds."

Earlier, as part of a rigorous selection process, as many as 46 young Indian researchers from top institutions all over India had submitted their applications for the Science Slam, including fellows from the Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, IIT Kanpur, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Patna, IIT Roorkee, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Madras, Manipal University, Anna University Chennai, Bangalore University and University of Hyderabad, among others.

The Grand Science Slam also received entries from Indian researchers of prominent universities abroad such as Technical University Darmstadt, University of Oxford, University of Hohenheim-Stuttgart, Rheinische Friedrich -Wilhelms -Universitat Bonn and Cluster of Excellence-South Asia Institute Heidelberg. The audience also got a chance to hear the first-ever DWIH Lectures in India by eminent scientists including Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize Winnerand DFG vice president Dr Frank Allgower from the Institute for Systems Theory and Automatic Control, University of Stuttgart, Padma Shri awardee professor N K Gupta of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize recipient professor Sandeep Verma of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur.

As one of the highlights of the "German Year in India 2011/ 2012," DWIH New Delhi is an initiative of the German Government with the support of the Federal Foreign Office (Auswartiges Amt - AA) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium fur Bildung und Forschung - BMBF) for increasing cooperation between German and Indian academic and scientific communities. DWIH is a 'one-stop-shop' for students, researchers and potential partner institutions on higher education, research landscape and funding sources in Germany. Four DWIH have already been established in Sao Paolo (Brazil), Moscow (Russia), New York (USA) and Tokyo (Japan).

Source: Times of India