NEXtra Kickoff Propels Sustainable Solutions into Action!

  • 2023/07/05     Dresden, Germany

    UNU FLORES celebrated the official NEXtra Kickoff on Wednesday, 21st June 2023, between 16:30 and 20:00 at the Festive Hall of the Rectorate of TU Dresden.

    Daisy Waked reports.

    View from above as the panel discussion begins


    The event commenced with an engaging welcome address by Prof. Dr. Angela Rösen-Wolff, Vice Rector of TU Dresden, who highlighted the strategic importance of NEXtra for TU Dresden. This was followed by a greeting from Dr. Andreas Handschuh, State Secretary of the Saxon Ministry of Science, Culture, and Tourism.

    Prof. Daniel Karthe, Head of the Research Programme – Resource Nexus for Sustainability Transformations, introduced the NEXtra Doctoral Programme, which is the latest product of the remarkable strategic partnership between United Nations University-FLORES, Technische Universität Dresden, and the Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER). Generously funded by DAAD German Academic Exchange Service, NEXtra aims to address pressing issues in partnership with DCO and the wider United Nations system. Along these lines, UN-DCO Deputy Director Ms. Rosemary Kalapurakal contributed a pre-recorded message at the event, highlighting the unique character of the collaboration between UNU and the UN development cooperation system.

    Next, an engaging panel discussion including Prof. Edeltraud Guenther (Director of UNU-FLORES), Prof. Dr. Jochen Schanze (Head of Knowledge Integration Hub, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development) and Prof. Dr. Ronald Tetzlaff (Chief Officer Technology Transfer and Internationalisation, TU Dresden) was moderated by Ms. Sonja Hahn-Tomer. The main focus of the discussion reflected the title of the event: “New horizons for research with impact,” with an emphasis on ways in which scientific impact can be translated into real-world change.

    Later, a pre-recorded message by Mr. Andreas Boehler, Head of Section ST42 – Scholarships for Development Cooperation at DAAD, highlighted the goals of EPOS from a DAAD perspective.

    Students Preeyaphat Chaiklang and Lwin Thuzar Nyein share their research

    Five of the Programme’s exceptional doctoral researchers presented their ongoing projects that approach the topic of sustainability from different perspectives and subject matters. Isabela de Paula Salgado shared an overview of her current work on “Joint Assessment of the Sustainability and Resilience of Cement-based Composites.” Kamol Gomes delivered an insightful angle on “Sustainability of Wastewater Management: A Socio-Ecological System (SES) Approach for Textile Industry in Bangladesh.” Simon Chidodo’s “Multifunctional Use of Agricultural Landscapes under Climate Change Conditions: Sigi River Catchment, NE Tanzania” added to the multi-layered dimensions of the doctoral programme. The final presentation featured Preeyaphat Chaiklang and Lwin Thuzar Nyein who recently started their research on the topic “Mangrove Restoration Solutions based on Ecosystem Services and Community Interaction in Thailand and Myanmar.”

    UNU Rector Marwala delivers his closing speech

    UNU Rector and Under-Secretary-General of the UN, Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala’s inspiring closing remarks ended the evening on a high note before the attendees proceeded to the reception area where further discussions and interesting exchanges continued into the late hours of the evening.


    Thank you to all the contributors, organisers, and attendees for your efforts in bringing the launch to life!