A participant of the Future Day 2024 in a laboratory
A participant of the Future Day 2024 in a laboratory of the department Chemical Biology

Future Day at the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research

The research centre introduces itself to students from the region

Today, around 70 students from years 5 to 9 visited the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) in Braunschweig to get an idea of what it is like to work in a modern research facility. They got a taste of the world of science and its administration in ten scientific and two administrative departments.

The HZI has been supporting the ‘Future Day’ career guidance project since 2002 and, after a long break due to the Corona pandemic, the centre opened its doors again this year to encourage young people to take an interest in science. Initial practical experience is intended to break down potential inhibitions and clichéd role models in relation to scientific professions and degree programmes.

This year's Future Day on 25 April 2024 was opened by Jörg Schinkel as a member of the management. This was followed by short presentations introducing the centre as well as questions of equality and a safety briefing. The children then went to the eagerly awaited practical part in the respective specialized department. "We are very happy that we were finally able to offer the Future Day again and give so many children and youths the opportunity to get to know our centre," says Christine Bentz from the Press and Communications department, who organised the event.

A participant of the Future Day 2024 in a laboratory
A participant of the Future Day 2024 in a laboratory of the department Chemical Biology

A total of twelve departments opened their doors. In the research groups, the students were able to do things such as microscopy, freeze roses in liquid nitrogen or determine the pH values of food. A pipetting competition was also held, in which a steady hand and a good eye were required. ‘Everything was great, especially the pipetting competition - I would not have thought that pipetting was so difficult,’ says Leonie. ‘We were allowed to do a lot ourselves, which was great,’ says Mila. Richard was also able to gain new insights: ‘I could imagine becoming a scientist after today.’

During their visits to the computing centre and the HR department of the HZI, where they learned, for example, how to present themselves to an employer in the best possible way during job application training, the students were able to find out that work at a research centre is not limited to laboratories. The children and youths agree: they all had a lot of fun and went home with new impressions of the research centre.

Twelve children were also guests at TWINCORE - Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, a joint institution of the HZI and Hannover Medical School (MHH). They were welcomed by Prof Ulrich Kalinke, Managing Director of TWINCORE. The Future Day participants conducted an experiment in the laboratory, were given a tour of the building services and learnt about TWINCORE's research projects.

Portrait Christine Bentz

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Christine Bentz
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