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Forschungszentrum Jülich - Annual Report 2011

18 Forschungszentrum Jülich | Annual Report 2011 Prof. Bachem how would you define “sustainability”? Sustainability for me means that re- sources in a system can be either natu- rally or technologically replenished. Sus- tainability in research, however, also means taking greater account of the economic and social dimensions and not just focusing on the technological and ecological aspects. Research itself also consumes re- sources – what is Forschungszentrum Jülich doing to minimize its ecological footprint? Our research needs extremely powerful large-scale facilities and instruments, which in turn consume large amounts of energy. Together with partners from uni- versities and industry, we are trying to identify how such a research campus can use its infrastructure in a way that conserves resources. RWTH Aachen University is currently developing soft- ware that will help us to manage the strongly fluctuating heat requirements of a research campus more efficiently. As a “model campus”, we provide the data and we also hope to learn from the results. At the same time, we ourselves are working on an urban development master plan for Forschungszentrum Jül- ich to ensure that our ongoing major modernization programme meets the re- quirements of sustainable development. I could go on and on: smart metering technologies in our institutes, cycle lanes – there are loads of good ideas that help us to reduce our ecological footprint. And we have already put some of them into action – for example, the new building for our project manage- ment organization is a good example of an energy-efficient building. However, important inspiration for sustainable re- search also comes from research itself. Could you give us an example? One example is supercomputers, which have become indispensable today for modelling and simulations in many re- search areas to explain complex pro- cesses. However, supercomputers of the next generation will only become a reality if we succeed in decoupling ener- gy consumption from the rapidly grow- ing demand for computing capacity. Our researchers are working on ener- gy-efficient hardware solutions with a view to using them in future not just for research purposes but also in energy- efficient mobile phones or game con- soles. Such projects have huge lever- age. Today, we also work with international companies such as Intel and IBM at Jülich in an effort to develop green IT solutions. What does sustainability mean when it comes to work on campus? Using resources as efficiently as possi- ble in order to conserve them in the long term. Because research is driven by ideas, a sustainable research campus will only succeed if working conditions are optimized for employees. The fact that we have implemented a number of measures to reconcile family and career is definitely an important point here. However, what is actually needed cannot be decided by a few peo- ple sitting at a table. The secret here is that all employees can play a role in making us a sustainable campus of the future – and hopefully will actually do so! After all, what appears to be a tiny change can have an enormous impact on a campus with around 5,000 people. Does this focus on sustainable re- search alter the strategy and objec- tives of Forschungszentrum Jülich? No, not really. According to our guiding principles, we work towards comprehen- sive solutions for the grand challenges facing society in the future. Such solu- Research for Sustainability – Sustainable Research The topic of sustainability and the contributions made by Jülich to answering the questions regarding the future are the focus of this annual report for 2011. The motto for Science Year 2012 “Project Earth: Our Future” also reflects the idea of research for sustainable development. We interviewed Prof. Achim Bachem, Chair- man of the Board of Directors of Forschungszentrum Jülich, on this key topic.