Humboldt Residency Programme: Rethinking Resources
Education Project

#Ressources #Global
September 2022 – December 2025

Humboldt Residency Programme: Rethinking Resources

Funded institution:
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
Cooperation partner:
Climate Change Center Berlin Brandenburg

General information

Following a two-week introductory and work placement stage at the Schloss Wiepersdorf Cultural Foundation in Brandenburg, ten international fellows of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation were guests of the Climate Change Center for a further four weeks in the summer of 2023.

The Humboldt Residency Programme provides a framework for researchers and stakeholders from the arts, media, and society to collaborate on a different topic each year. The second cohort of the Humboldt Residency Programme explored how changing the way we use resources can pave the way to a sustainable – and with that secure – future. The program is funded by the Federal Foreign Office and the Senate Department for Higher Education and Research, Health, and Long-Term Care.

The Fellows

Evelyn Araripe is an environmental educator in São Paulo, Brazil; biologist Santos Chicas works at Kyushu University in Japan; and chemist Lucy Ombaka is researching the potential of green hydrogen at the Technical University of Kenya. They took part in the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s Residency Programme with seven other fellows from Belize, China, Germany, Great Britain, India, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Under the title of “Our Precious Resources,” the international, transdisciplinary group worked together in the Berlin-Brandenburg metropolitan region to find innovate approaches to resource scarcity and sustainability. The partnership with the Climate Change Center and its extensive network offered the participants the opportunity to network with local stakeholders and exchange perspectives and ideas.


The participants completed a wide-ranging program during the residency phase in Berlin. From the CCC workspace in the Robert Koch Forum in Wilhelmstraße directly at the Brandenburg Gate, they were in arm’s reach of the Federal Foreign Office, the Futurium, and the TU Science & StartUp Hub. But their scientific expertise and experience were also met with interest at the Climate Change Center. CCC founder and former president of TU Berlin Professor Dr. Christian Thomsen and the two visiting scholars Elke Weber from Princeton and Eric Johnson from Columbia University in New York visited the group. They had interesting discussions with the fellows, for instance about consumer choices in favor of more sustainability, and ways to secure better funding for cycling infrastructure in the city.

One particularly memorable moment from the program was the panel discussion with Professor Dr. Robert Schlögl, president of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, on the global significance of green hydrogen as a carbon-neutral energy source with Humboldtian Dr. Lucy Ombaka and further energy experts in front of an international audience at the end of August. Dr. Henry Marx, state secretary for science and research, showed much interest in the international perspectives on the urgent energy transition.


The exchange has since borne fruit. Artist Magdalena Hart from Barcelona has used virtual reality and creative coding to construct an installation on handling the complex problem of the climate crisis using language.  In a handbook, the residency cohort shows the potential that lies in initiating necessary changes as “choice architects.” However, even elements that are invisible to the naked eye can cast shadows. An interactive presentation by the group of scholarship holders draws attention to the unseen consequences of smartphone resource consumption. The results were discussed with guests at Berlin Science Week.


More information about the exchange project can be found in the bilingual Tagesspiegel supplement “Climate Research,” which the Climate Change Center published together with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation on 6 September.

The foundation also produced a video about the Residency Program.


Picture: Birgit Holthaus

Humboldt Residency Programme: Rethinking Resources
They had a lively discussion about the advantages and disadvantages of green hydrogen as an energy source: Dr. Stefan Kaufmann, Dr. Lucy Ombaka, Prof. Dr. Robert Schlögl, Anika Nicolaas Ponder, Anne Wasike-Schalling, Dr. Henry Marx (v.l.n.r.). © Berlin Eventfotograf

Nature is not just a backdrop. We need to incorporate it more into urban architecture.

Pratyush Shankar
Architect and Professor of Urban History and Design, Navrachana University in Vadodara, India / Head of the Humboldt Residency Programme 2023
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung


Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung
Team Residency-Programm