MINT-EC aerospace technology cluster launched at BTU

A new thematic cluster of the national excellence school network MINT-EC has been opened at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU). The aim is to develop innovative teaching materials on the subject of aerospace technology.

Eleven highly committed teachers from all over Germany are working together at BTU Cottbus under the supervision of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Egbers, holder of the Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics. As part of the first cluster meeting from 15 to 16 May 2024, they met with the Vice-President for Academic Affairs at BTU Prof. Dr. Peer Schmidt, the Managing Director of MINT-EC  Dr. Niki Sarantidou and the Board Representative for the Promotion of Young Scientists at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Dr. Christoph Pawek. DLR is funding the cluster for three years.

Dr. Niki Sarantidou emphasized: "We are very proud to give the relevant topic of aerospace technology a boost with the 15th topic cluster of our network and to promote STEM education in schools. Many thanks to all those involved at BTU and Max-Steenbeck-Gymnasium for their commitment and to Dr. Christoph Pawek from DLR for the great support!" The managing director of MINT-EC was delighted to introduce Matthias König, the principal of Max-Steenbeck-Gymnasium Cottbus, as head of the new cluster.

"As the principal of a MINT-EC school, it is an honor for me to lead this cluster. In this new role, I am also able to continue the long-standing collaboration with the BTU. The fact that I also have such committed colleagues at my side is of enormous value," says Matthias König.

The following secondary schools are involved in the aerospace technology cluster:
Carl-Friedrich-Gauß-Gymnasium, Frankfurt (Oder) / Max-Steenbeck-Gymnasium, Cottbus / Max-Born-Gymnasium, Germering / Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Gymnasium, Forst / Erzbischöfliches Ursulinengymnasium Köln / Rudolph-Brandes-Gymnasium, Bad Salzuflen / Johanneum Gymnasium, Herborn / Gymnasium Berchtesgaden / Städtisches Jakob-Fugger-Gymnasium Augsburg.

As part of the two-day program at the BTU's main campus, the attendees attended scientific lectures and became familiar with the research field of the Chair of Aerodynamics and Fluid Mechanics. Prof. Christoph Egbers did an excellent job of taking the participants on a research trip.

In addition, Dr. Christoph Pawek presented the future topics of DLR and inspired the teachers with impressive projects that DLR has already implemented with students. The program was rounded off with an experimental part in the DLR_School_Lab at BTU. The focus here was on independent practical work in the lab, which only opened a year ago.

The participants of the first cluster meeting immediately got down to work and began planning the teaching materials to be developed on the topic of weightlessness.
Not only the participants were enthusiastic, but also the technical director Prof. Egbers: "It was just fun to introduce my field of research to such committed teachers. I am very excited to see what we will develop together for the pupils over the next three years in order to arouse curiosity and enthusiasm among young people."

The MINT-EC thematic clusters are working groups of teachers and school administrators from MINT-EC schools that work together over several years on overarching topics with the aim of creating lively and practical MINT lessons with the latest impulses from research, in which the teachers involved work on the conception of teaching materials and didactic methods as well as on the further development of school structures.

BTU is an official university partner of the national excellence school network of schools with an upper secondary level and a strong profile in Mathematics, Computer Science, Natural Sciencesand Technology- MINT-EC. The aims of the partnership are, in particular, to support pupils from schools with a focus on science and technology in their decision to study by introducing them to study options in the STEM subjects and to attract prospective students to study STEM subjects.

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The participants of the first MINT-EC aerospace engineering cluster meeting in front of the DLR_School_Lab at BTU's main campus in Cottbus. Photo: BTU: Isabelle Grätz
They are at the head of the new MINT-EC aerospace technology cluster at BTU Cottbus-Senfteberg: Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Egbers (left) and cluster head Matthias König. Foto: BTU: Isabelle Grätz
View of the opening event of the MINT-EC aerospace engineering cluster (from right). Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christoph Egbers, Dr. Christoph Pawek, Dr. Niki Sarantidou, Matthias König. Photo: BTU, Ralf Schuster