The University of Bonn, one of Germany's top five higher education institutions, plans to collaborate with the University of Debrecen in research in several disciplines. The two universities are expanding the cooperation started in the NeurotechEU programme, which aims to promote the development of neurosciences and coordinate research; university leaders discussed the expansion of the relationship during a two-day visit to Debrecen.

Eight renowned European higher education institutions - including the University of Debrecen - launched the NeurotechEU programme in autumn 2020, with the main aim of promoting the development of neurosciences in a broader sense, coordinating research and raising awareness of it. The consortium included UD's partners from higher education institutions such as the Karolinska Institutet, the University of Bonn, Radboud University and the University of Oxford, among others. The leadership of the University of Bonn arrived in Debrecen on Tuesday with the aim of extending the already successful cooperation. Rector Michael Hoch and Deputy Rector Birgit Münch were welcomed by Rector Zoltán Szilvássy, Director of Coordination and Strategy Okszána Kiszil as well as experts from the NeurotechEU programme.

The leaders of the University of Bonn praised the international cooperation and the research conducted at the University of Debrecen under the coordination of József Tőzsér, Vice Rector for Sector Development in the Life Sciences. In order to further develop this relationship, Rector Michael Hoch gave a detailed presentation of the history, training and research portfolio of the University of Bonn, founded in 1818 and now one of the top five universities in Germany, highlighting its strong research orientation.

- I am proud to say that we have produced a number of Nobel Prize winners, are one of Germany's 11 universities of excellence and have 6 clusters of excellence, making us the most successful. Our research areas are transdisciplinary, covering a wide range from mathematics to agricultural and health sciences and sustainable future. We also have seven faculties, with 237 training programmes, currently with more than 31,000 students enrolled, 4,600 of them foreigners from 140 countries around the world," said Michael Hoch.

Vice-Rector Birgit Münch added that the University of Bonn was ranked 91st in the Times Higher Education 2023 world rankings. The institution has 400 research partners in 80 countries around the world, and wishes  to expand this circle with the University of Debrecen.

Regarding future plans, Zoltán Szilvássy highlighted that the similar training and research portfolio and the effective cooperation so far provide an excellent basis for a broader scientific and research and development partnership based on the common interests and competences of the parties. One of the key areas of joint work in the field of health  could be research related to the so-called "immune sensing system".

- While we are unfortunately not able to participate in several international projects due to EU restrictions, we are pleased that our foreign partners - such as the University of Bonn, with whom we have collaborated in the NeurotechEU programme - see our potential and insist on maintaining their scientific ties with the University of Debrecen," said Rector Zoltán Szilvássy.

To explore the possibilities of cooperation, the guests were first introduced to the training and research areas, infrastructure and industrial relations of the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Faculty of Engineering through presentations by the respective Deans. Rector Michael Hoch then proposed that the faculty leaders of the two institutions should also hold direct discussions on the launch of specific collaborations.
On the second day of their visit, the Bonn faculty leaders also held talks with the Faculty of Humanities, the Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the Faculty of Economics to build further potential partnerships. As part of the programme, they also visited the University and National Library of the University of Debrecen, the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and the International Office.

Press Centre