Penn State and German University strengthen partnership with new center

June 22, 2015

Penn State and the University of Freiburg in Germany are opening a joint center in the western European country as the next stage in a relationship that has existed for years. The collaborative work of scientists and students in the center is expected to connect them to local opportunities in research, education and service.

Penn State President Eric Barron visited Freiburg earlier this month to acknowledge the strong mutual friendship and existing collaboration between the University of Freiburg and Penn State. Freiburg’s rector, Hans-Jochen Schiewer, and Barron signed an agreement June 10 to create The Joint Freiburg-Penn State Centre for Collaborative Engagement.

“This agreement is a simple acknowledgement of this burgeoning and highly productive relationship among the two institutions,” said Barron. “The strong engagement of our faculty and that of Freiburg; the involvement of both research and education; the many reciprocal student exchanges between the two institutions; and the enthusiastic support of the leadership of both institutions make Freiburg one of our strongest and most valued partners.”

Penn State researchers are currently collaborating with experts from Freiburg on a number of projects.

Over the past year, Penn State has opened joint centers at the University of Pune, India, and at 2iE International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, West Africa. In addition to the University of Freiburg, Penn State expects to open another center at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, by the end of 2015.

Michael Adewumi, vice provost for Global Programs, who overseas and provides central leadership to all of Penn State’s international engagement, traveled with Barron to Germany. “The strong enthusiasm of a broad segment of our faculty and Freiburg’s is the key to success. This collaborative center is a result of the natural evolution of our relationship with Freiburg and it will yield great dividends for both institutions,” he said.

Adewumi explained that there are significant institutional advantages to having long-term partnerships and a permanent presence in a region, “but it is the faculty and students who derive the most benefit from these centers.”

“The centers not only provide logistical support, they connect faculty to local public and private sector organizations, conduct cultural programming and assist in finding research, education and service opportunities for engaging local communities and academic institutions.”

These strategic partnerships and collaborative centers form the foundation for a global Penn State, according to Adewumi, who encouraged any faculty or staff interested in the centers to email Michael Madeira ( who manages the Joint Center Initiative.

  • Tom Richard standing in a German forest

    Tom Richard, Penn State professor of biological engineering, has studied carbon and energy cycles in Germany.

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated June 29, 2015