German president focuses on science and research

The second day of the visit to Switzerland by German President Christian Wulff focused on science and research with visits to two universities.

This content was published on September 9, 2010 - 21:20
swissinfo and agencies

On Thursday morning Wulff and his wife were introduced to some of the wonders of solar cell technology at the Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), where award-winning German scientist Michael Grätzel demonstrated how a solar cell painted red with rosehip tea could produce enough energy to turn a small wheel.

Grätzel is one of over 30 Germans working at the EPFL.

In the afternoon Wulff held talks with his Swiss counterpart, Doris Leuthard, at the University of Zurich, about training, research and innovation in a globalised world.

Wulff praised Switzerland’s “openness” to foreigners coming to teach and research. He also called for more coordination between the different areas of science.

Leuthard said Switzerland needed the “best brains”, and their origin was secondary.

She described as “false” claims that there are too many foreigners in Swiss universities. Her remark was an apparent allusion to strong attacks earlier this year - launched in particular by the rightwing Swiss People’s Party - on the large number of German professors in Zurich, .

Leuthard announced plans for a Swiss-German innovation forum to be held in 2011.

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