On 25 October the HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hildesheim/Holzminden/Göttingen held a Deutschlandstipendium award ceremony in the ‘Alte Mensa’in Göttingen with 95 scholarship holders and their sponsors. Plasmatreat provided a one-year sponsorship for selected science students as part of this scholarship program.
“To recognize high-achieving, committed students and work together to invest in the education of tomorrow's skilled workforce...”, is how Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, German Federal Minister for Education and Research, describes the rationale behind the Deutschlandstipendium scholarship scheme launched by the German government in 2011 on the BMBF website (Federal Ministry for Education and Research). This scheme has laid the foundations for a new scholarship culture in Germany in which state and society for the first time take joint responsibility for educating and mentoring students. The scholarship of 300 euros per month is awarded irrespective of nationality, income and social background to students who are high academic achievers and have clear career goals, as well as those who are socially engaged or who have struggled to overcome financial and social obstacles. The federal government pays half of the 300-euro sum, which is then matched by private sponsors such as businesses, foundations or private individuals.
German universities play a leading role in the implementation and design of the funding concept. They approach potential sponsors, select scholarship holders and administer the funds. HAWK is one of the universities participating in the program. This year they have awarded 52 scholarships to bachelor students and 43 to masters students. They have granted a total of 482 scholarships since the launch of the Deutschlandstipendium six years ago. “This would not have been possible without the dedicated support of the sponsors”, stresses Prof. apl. Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Viöl, HAWK Vice president for Research and Technology Transfer, who since 2012 has also headed the Fraunhofer Application Center for Plasma and Photonics in Göttingen.
The three scholarship holders chosen for Plasmatreat by the University are all studying STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Bill Kipkorir Maritim from Kenya is in his third semester at HAWK studying electrical engineering and information technology. Marco Schmitt, who was unable to attend the ceremony for personal reasons, is currently working to complete his masters in electrical engineering. The third scholarship holder Louis Deppe, who comes from near Göttingen, is studying physical technologies. Currently in his fifth semester, he plans to write his bachelor’s thesis next year.
Writing a bachelor's thesis in a company can help students get a foothold on the career ladder – as Louis Deppe knows. Since he plans to do his masters in ‘laser and plasma technology’ after his bachelor degree, he will soon be applying to his sponsor Plasmatreat. “I can put the Deutschlandstipendium to good use right away”, he says. “I'm still living at home, but I need to find my own place and I could do with a new computer for my studies. The Deutschlandstipendium will certainly help me achieve that.”
Education, research and innovation are strategic areas for Germany’s future, and this is where the sponsors come into their own. “Naturally every technology and systems engineering company like ours is keen to discover highflying young scientists at universities", remarks Christian Buske, CEO of Plasmatreat GmbH and CEO/President of the Plasmatreat Group. “The Deutschlandstipendium gives us an opportunity to do just that and at the same time, it is a win-win situation for all involved. As a sponsor, we can strengthen our ties with universities and by funding the students, give them more freedom to enjoy a personal life outside their everyday university life. We also have a mentoring role, helping these young people to prepare for a future career. And we are happy to offer internships or the opportunity to write a final thesis in our family business, where they can put their theory into practice.”