Support for science

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is a legally responsible foundation under private law and promotes excellent research worldwide. The Foundation chiefly finances its expenditure on the basis of grants from the Federal Government and the European Union. However, the Foundation’s funding is also secured by private endowments. Mr. Winfried Pohl's endowment of €500,000 will benefit the promotion of top international research. Here, Mr. Pohl, an expert in the field of thermal engineering, tells us what motivated him to support the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

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Geist, Wachstum, Fortschritt: Die Illustration zeigt eine Person, die Wasser in einen menschlichen Kopf gießt, so dass aus diesem eine Pflanze wächst.

Mr. Pohl, what inspired you to endow the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with €500,000?
My endowment is intended to serve our community by professionally promoting science and research. I see this achievement enshrined in the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s statutory mission. 

In your opinion, what is the importance of science for our society?
I would like to name two strong examples from our time with significance for our society, as I am personally involved. One is the area of energy supply. Natural gas was available to Germany as a comparably clean fuel in considerable quantities in competition with coal and oil through imports first from the Netherlands, then from Norway and finally from Russia. Transport systems and underground storage facilities had to be built. New facilities were developed for consumers to make the best use of the burning properties and thus stimulate sales. This economic achievement requires research and development. Similar tasks follow now, for example, in the use of hydrogen technologies.

Another example concerns the field of medicine. Exactly 100 years ago, the first insulin was produced. Until then, all patients died within few months after the diagnosis of diabetes. In the 1980s, people with diabetes were given the opportunity to treat themselves. Now, with further developed therapy, a normally long and largely carefree life is possible. This is an achievement of medicine in science and research that we must be aware of. Innovation in the field of medical research should continue to be encouraged for the benefit of humanity.

The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation would like to thank Mr. Winfried Pohl very much for his support!

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