Since 2016 the SERIOR Trinational Graduate Academy of the Upper Rhine has been working transnationally on the subject of risk management. On 12th September 2018 the closing ceremony symbolically took place on the Rhine on board the MS Karlsruhe. Project leaders and political representatives looked back and at the same time considered the future.

Environmental problems, social challenges and other risks do not respect national borders. So since 2016 the SERIOR Trinational Graduate Academy has been dedicated to working on risk management across the three national borders that lie in the Upper Rhine region, and to this end has developed an interdisciplinary and cross-border qualification program for doctoral candidates and postdocs.

Dr. Björn Brömmelsiek from the Campus Landau of the University of Koblenz-Landau is the academic coordinator for SERIOR. He sees the cross-border project which is now coming to an end as highly successful. “We have managed to create a new intercultural, interdisciplinary and practically-based qualification program and network for junior academics in the field of risk management in the Upper Rhine region.” Six teaching and technology transfer events with more than 30 corporate participants and around 250 attendees contributed to the development of a close network with companies from the risk management sector. There were two trinational summer schools for doctoral candidates on the theme of risk management in France and Germany. There was also a public lecture series with over a dozen events covering various areas of risk management with over 300 participants in Germany, France and Switzerland.” In addition and amongst other things, three guides on cross-border research were created covering the areas of risk perception, assessment and communication, as well as databases on projects in the field of risk management in the Upper Rhine region and on companies that were involved in the project,” lists Brömmelsiek. “Risk management is an important subject in modern society.”

Lilla Merabet, Vice President of the Région Grand Est for Competitiveness and Digital Sector, also clearly stated in her speech at the closing ceremony, “Every decision we take involves a risk. Especially when we as elected political representatives have to take decisions on behalf of citizens, of course.” A similar view was taken a little later by Andreas Doppler, Head of the Funding Program of the Intercantonal Coordinating Office of Regio Basiliensis (ICRB), “We are living in a world of change which doesn’t stop at the gates of the Upper Rhine region. So it is a special achievement that you here are dealing with the subject of risk management trinationally, multilinguistically and interdisciplinarily.”

Dr. Björn Brömmelsiek is confident that the closing ceremony is not the end of SERIOR, “There are solid plans for its continuation and development.” The Acting President of the Upper Rhine Conference and Representative of the Prime Minister of Rhineland-Pfalz for Cross-border Cooperation, Werner Schreiner, also emphasized in his speech, “The Basel Declaration describes key objectives for the forward-looking advancement of education, research and innovation in the Upper Rhine region, and the government of the Rhineland-Pfalz continues to support this: promoting networking, dialogue and cooperation between all the players in the Upper Rhine region, continuing successful joint cooperation structures, projects and measures, and developing new ones.” Or as Andreas Doppler put it unmathematically but appropriately for the region, “1+1+1 = greater than three!”

The SERIOR project involves not only the University of Koblenz-Landau, which heads the project, but also the EUCOR universities Basel, Freiburg, Haute-Alsace (Mulhouse-Colmar) and Strasbourg, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, CNRS – the French national research company, and the French National School for Water and Environmental Engineering (ENGEES). SERIOR is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) in the INTERREG V Upper Rhine region program as well as by the Swiss Confederation.

More information about the SERIOR interregional project