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Is science an ivory tower?

Exchange of ideas between crafts and research


Why is the exchange between research institutions and crafts so difficult? How can economics and science profit from one another faster? How can the energy revolution itself become more efficient?

To discuss these questions, the following people got together: Uwe Kluge (Saxon Energy Agency SAENA GmbH – department of energy efficiency/buildings), Steffi Schönherr (delegate for innovation and technology of the Handwerkskammer Chemnitz,Klaus Büttner (CEO of ISOTECH Building Technology - ISOTECH ), Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Steffan and Prof. Uwe Franzke of the Institute of Air Handling and Refrigeration (ILK). The common goal was to fathom the necessary steps to offering latest research findings for the practical implementation in the field of crafts, but also to use conclusions from the practical fields in science.

„Self-employed craftsmen and -women, who are committed first and foremost to their daily business, their customers and staff, generally regard research rather as an ivory tower. There is often little time to deal with new technologies and developments, even if the daily workload might be economized or energy issues could be solved more innovatively.“, says Klaus Büttner.

He himself is driven by innovation and trying to build bridges. There is support of the initiation of cooperation between crafts and science in the department of environment and technology of the Chamber of Crafts in Chemnitz, says Steffi Schönherr, head of department. She has made the experience that craftsmen and -women and scientists often find a common language in common projects, because that is where solutions are key. But even if these projects might have been found, the home stretch is still far away due to bureaucracy. Applications for support programs are too complicated and complex to handle them casually while actually concentrating on the daily business. „There is a big network and there are many places of information, but who can really help me make progress?“, asks Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Steffan, who would like to market innovations.

The Saxon Energy Agency SAENA GmbH provides a platform for pooling know-how and transferring knowledge between the various parties: the Competence Center for Energy Research in Saxony. Contact person is Thomas Wendland: thomas.wendland@saena.de, telephone: +49 351 4910-3195. What we need, are more of these kinds of concrete offers, including lectures and exchange meetings like the one reported about in this article. Key actors are certifiers, district developers, but also institutes like the Institute of Air Handling and Refrigeration (ILK).

The scientists and engineers of the nonprofit institute both research and work in a practical way – far away from the so-called ivory tower. „Today’s exchange was very lively and is an excellent example for the importance of this dialogue. The Institute of Air Handling and Refrigeration is an open institute which is on hand with help and advice for economics and crafts, but also for politics.“, concludes Prof. Franzke at the end of the meeting.

From left to right: Uwe Kluge (Saxon Energy Agency SAENA GmbH, department of energy efficiency/buildings), Steffi Schönherr (delegate for innovation and technology of the Chamber of Crafts in Chemnitz), Klaus Büttner (CEO of ISOTECH Building Technology), Prof. Uwe Franzke - CEO of the ILK Dresden

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