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Münchberg as a textile location: fruitful connections to Ethiopia

Dr. Molla Tadesse Abate from Ethiopia was recently introduced as the country’s first Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at Hof University of Applied Sciences. He is working on issues relating to textile technology. However, cooperation with the East African country now goes much further and has almost become a small tradition. Reason enough to ask Prof. Dr. Michael Rauch at the Münchberg campus.

The first links to Münchberg were established with Bahir Dar University in Ethiopia over a decade ago; image: Bahir Dar University;

Prof. Rauch, historically speaking: How and when did the contact with Ethiopia first come about?

“The first contacts with Bahir Dar University were established in the period 2010-2013. Prof. Dr. Reinhart Möckel, who is now well-deservedly retired, spent a period abroad there to develop and expand textile research. During this time, the first DAAD scholarship holder of the “PhD by research” program also came to Münchberg: Abera Kechi. He did his doctorate on the subject of Ethiopian natural dyes for textiles.”

How has the collaboration developed? And who is involved?

“First and foremost, there is a collaboration with Bahir Dar University. There is still the DAAD-funded project “PhD by research” for the further qualification of scientific staff. So far, 3 employees of Bahir Dar University have been supported at the Münchberg campus. The Alexander von Humboldt Scholarship for Dr. Molla Tadesse has also arisen in this context(campuls-digital reported).”

Prof. Dr. Michael Rauch; picture: private;

What are the respective advantages of the cooperation?

For textile research at the Münchberg campus, the DAAD program has strengthened research activities – especially in basic areas: In addition to Abera Kechi, the “PhD by research” program also included Yimmer Hussen Hassen, who worked on the fundamentals of high-finishing/easy-care finishing. And also the investigation of

Hydroentanglement of nonwovens was also a topic here. In the area of the Humboldt Fellowship, Dr. Molla Tadesse Abate is working on the dyeing of PET and PLA with supercritical carbon dioxide.”

As part of the university’s internationalization strategy, are there also plans to expand cooperation to other African countries?

“In the course of the activities in Ethiopia, contacts were also established with Nigeria. There have been requests for DAAD-funded research stays in Münchberg as part of a DAAD post-doc program for Sub-Saharan Africa. I have a contact person at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. Through Idowu J. Diyaolu (Ph.D) I also received an invitation for a virtual lecture at the TRAN conference on 24.10.23. Since the stays abroad of researchers from Africa have to be funded, we are dependent on current DAAD programs and the associated calls for proposals.”

Thank you very much!

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