Nobel Laureates Meeting Opens in Lindau

"Europe�'s future needs excellent research - with more women scientists"

EU Comissioner Potočnik and Research Minister Schavan welcome 550 leading researchers

Lindau/Germany - In the presence of European personalities from science, commerce and government, the traditional Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau was opened. This meeting, which is unique worldwide, supports the transfer of knowledge between today�'s best researchers and selected young scientists from around the world. It takes place this year for the 56th time. 23 Nobel Prizewinners in Chemistry, Physics, and Medicine are taking part. 530 young scientists from 53 countries, out of 11,000 applications, have qualified to participate. Central elements of the programme are science lectures, workshops in small groups and countless opportunities for personal exchanges between the young scientists and the Nobel Prizewinners.

At the opening in Lindau, EU Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik underscored the significance of cutting edge research for the competitiveness of Europe: "What we need and what we want is an attractive Europe, with exciting research opportunities in scientific fields of the future; with the human resources and capacities optimised to match our ambitions; with a society that is aware and supportive of research."

German Federal Minister for Education and Research Dr Annette Schavan describes the Lindau Meeting as an "outstanding business card for Germany as attractive location for research and education with great appeal worldwide." At the same time she criticised universities and research institutions for not doing enough to adequately integrate women into research. Women represent more than half of all students entering universities and account for almost 40 percent of the doctoral degrees, but only 14 percent of the professors. If Germany wants to fulfil the goals set forth by the European Union, within a few years there will be a shortage of 90,000 scientists and engineers: "The potential of technology-oriented women is particularly important and, in numbers, significant," emphasised Research Minister Schavan. "Studies indicate that up to 10,000 additional women could be won for these fields of work - an economic order of magnitude also worth making an effort for."

Among the honorary guests at the ceremonial opening of the Lindau Nobel Prizewinners Meeting were former German President Prof Roman Herzog, the Bavarian and Baden-Würtemberg Ministers for Science, Research and Art, Dr Thomas Goppel and Prof Peter Frankenberg, as well as the President of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG) Prof Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, who was given a seat in the Honorary Senate of the Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance.

The 56th Meeting of the Nobel Laureates in Lindau, which ends on June 30th, revolves all around chemistry. For the first time at a discipline-specific meeting, Laureates from other disciplines will give lectures - the German Prof Theodor Hänsch, for instance, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in Stockholm only a few months ago. Altogether, three current Nobel Laureates are taking part: Aside from Hänsch are Prof Richard Schrock (Physics) and Prof John Hall (Chemistry), both from the United States.

The 530 young participants were chosen in a multi-stage selection process according to scientific criteria. Roughly a quarter of them come from Germany, as many from the rest of Europe and the final half from the remaining four continents. 213 of the young scientists are women.

14 lectures by the Laureates will also be broadcast via internet video streams. The program will commence on 26 June 2006 at 14:00h CEST at www.lindau-nobel.de.

The annual Meetings of Nobel Laureates are organized by the Council for the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings, presided over by Countess Sonja Bernadotte. They are funded, inter alia, by the Foundation Lindau Nobelprizewinners Meetings at Lake Constance, the donor list of which currently includes 156 Nobel Laureates.

Notes for the media:

- Press-Desk during the meeting:Tel: +49-8382-260-635; Fax +49-8382-26 06 60E-Mail: media@lindau-nobel.de Web: www.lindau-nobel.de