Ambassador for the Year of Science
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2013 ACCTA conference
As part of the international conference on advances in the field of cement and concrete technology in Africa, a special session was held for the Year of Science. This gave young scientists from Germany and South Africa the opportunity to present papers on current research topics and to interact with their colleagues. The best conference paper from each country was awarded a special prize: the South African prize-winner was invited to spend six months as a researcher in Germany and the German winner was offered the same opportunity for a research institute in South Africa.
The 2013 ACCTA conference in Johannesburg was a resounding success. More than 200 participants from over 40 countries met to discuss current research findings in the field of cement and concrete technology. The conference – which was held under the umbrella of the SPIN network – saw them strengthen international scientific co-operation.
A special session on opportunities for co-operation between Germany and South Africa in the field of cement and concrete research was held during the event. Dr Andreas Rogge from the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Berlin led the special session together with Prof. Mitchell Gohnert of the University of Witwatersrand and Maja Clausen from the German embassy in Pretoria. A particular highlight was the announcement of the winners of the "Year of Science Award" and the six-month research placement in Germany or South Africa.
Suvash Chandra Paul of the University of Stellenbosch was honoured for the best South African conference paper. His work on the mechanical behaviour of cold-hardening concrete-based composite materials won over the international panel of scientific experts. He won a six-month research placement at the BAM in Berlin. The other prize-winner at the conference was Yared Assefa Abebe of the Leibniz Universität Hannover. His paper dealt with the addition of natural minerals to high-performance concretes and looked at high-performance concretes that are sustainable for the future in Africa. He will now spend six months as a researcher at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.
This involvement of young scientists and the close international communication are notable factors in making research in the specialist area of cement and concrete technology so successful. "This co-operation is a win-win situation for both sides," said co-initiator Wolfram Schmidt from the BAM. "When European and African experts work together in this network, we talk to each other about different approaches and so can learn a great deal from each other. And the enthusiasm, above all from the young scientists, is contagious!"