After more than two years, Ulm has a student research center again. From the beginning of 2024, under the roof of the Ulm Conspiracy House, it will offer students a space in which they can research projects in the areas of MINT (mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology), engineering and robotics. Under the direction of Dr. Rolf Meuther, managing director of the South Württemberg Student Research Center (SFZ) e.V., in the long term the aim is to bring students and apprentices together, form primary school teams and establish partnerships with regional industry. “The research center aims to be a cross-age and cross-school offering to inspire and promote young talent in the field of technology and natural sciences,” explains Meuther. The new student research center is financed by the city of Ulm: it bears the costs of the renovation work and covers the rent for the premises in the “Verschwörhaus” (lit. conspiracy house).
Mayor Gunther Czisch sees the student research center as a great opportunity: “Investing in the support of children and young people is very important to us. With the new student research center we want to create a space that represents equal opportunities. Equal access to education in an open atmosphere – the Verschwörhaus is ideal for this,” says Czisch. Bernd Leitner, head of the conspiracy house, is also looking forward to the young researchers: “We are filling our rooms more and more with life. Such sensible and future-oriented projects fit our concept perfectly,” says Leitner.
Schools are involved
The Ulm schools are also already actively involved in the project: Markus Pfeil, headmaster of the Friedrich-List-Schule, and Michael Wekenmann, headmaster of the Elly-Heuss-Realschule, are involved in the planning and implementation. The two school principals should contribute their expertise and their contacts in order to win cooperation partners such as Ulm University, Ulm University of Technology, Neu-Ulm University of Technology and companies for the student research center. In addition, the Friedrich List School is providing two new science rooms and, with the help of two colleagues, is preparing students from the tenth grade onwards for extracurricular learning. Before the official opening, the Elly-Heuss-Realschule will test the rooms in the Verschwörhaus for practical use using the technology profile. The aim is to get students from all types of schools excited about working in the student research center and to do this through word of mouth among the students. The flying start of the student research center is planned for the beginning of 2024 after the renovation work in the conspiracy house has been completed.
Free participation for students
Participation in the projects and workshops is free of charge for the students and is not tied to school performance – what counts is enthusiasm for the respective projects. However, motivated participation is worthwhile: the student research center takes part with its projects in around 40 different national and international competitions for young researchers. Here participants can present their findings and have the chance to win various prizes.
Back in Ulm
After more than two years, the student research center has returned to Um. As part of the move out of the IHK building in 2021, the location was initially temporarily relocated to Langenau. Ulm is now the ninth location in southern Württemberg. The mission of the non-profit association is to be a research center for all students from the South Württemberg region, where young MINT talent is encouraged and inspired at a high level. In addition, the SFZ is a recognized institution where teachers develop high-quality teaching and learning materials for the MINT area.