Foto 1_Kanada Titel und Teaser

Supporting the researchers of tomorrow

Education is the future. LANXESS is not only investing in the training and continuing professional development of its own personnel but is also specifically seeking to spark students’ interest in the sciences. From workshops and project weeks to support local high schools to experiment kits and special educational materials for elementary school students, this initiative has been an integral part of the group’s social commitment for years.

Knowledge – the most valuable resource in the economy

Foto 2_120In the quest to make a lasting improvement in human living conditions, creativity and expertise are highly sought after all over the world. In a country poor in raw materials such as Germany, the spirit of research and innovation is especially critical to generating growth and competing on an international level. LANXESS is facing these challenges in the area of scientific and technical education. The specialty chemicals company is seeking to spark and nurture the interest of K-12 and college students in the sciences. Since 2008, the LANXESS education initiative has provided multifaceted, effective support. International schools also participate in this “education stimulus model.”

Education: A national and global mission

As part of this initiative, more than 30 municipal high schools at the company’s German sites so far have received financial support. Since 2008 LANXESS has invested about four million euros in “Project Education.” The schools have used these resources to acquire new lab facilities, technical equipment and instructional materials in chemistry, biology, physics and computer science. Interested and talented students can profit from workshops and project weeks in the company itself and at partner schools. Foto 4_071The topics cover social megatrends in mobility, urbanization, climate change and nutrition. This encourages the next generation to draw connections among the economy, science and politics. The goal is to promote social commitment, offer young people a taste of the profession and simultaneously assure the economic competitiveness of the company – all in keeping with LANXESS’s long-term business strategy.

The extremely positive response of students and teachers has encouraged the company to expand this form of educational partnership. The group was honored for its commitment by the “Germany – Land of Ideas” initiative and also won the national “365 Sites in the Land of Ideas” competition.

Ideas for “green” mobility

Foto 5_1189In 2012 and 2013, more than 1000 students from eleven high schools in the Rhineland, Brunsbüttel and Bitterfeld took part in the “World Class Green Mobility” workshop. The objective was to heighten the awareness of the young participants of the advantages and disadvantages of increasing mobility. More than a billion motor vehicles already crowd the streets worldwide today – with the corresponding impact on the climate and environment. Through experiments in the chemistry lab, the students learned that tires alone can substantially reduce fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. No idea for “green mobility” was out of bounds: they explored, for example, the untapped potential of bicycling and designed a solar-powered aircraft and an airmobile with a carbon fiber body.

LANXESS also allows young people to experience firsthand the fascination of chemistry and careers in this field. The company, for example, invited students from Brunsbüttel to the Leverkusen plant during the workshop. In the Rubber Technology Department, the group got a sense of how this versatile material is manufactured. A modern high-tech lab was set aside for their own experiments. In addition, the guests learned about education and training and career opportunities in the chemicals sector.

LANXESS is also involved in expanding the educational opportunities of talented young students at university level. As part of the Germany grant, an initiative of the Federal government, the company supports a total of 50 students at eight universities.

Experiment kits for elementary schools

Foto 6_Kanada_4The rule of thumb is that the younger the students, the more open and adventuresome they are. With this in mind, LANXESS has collaborated with outside experts and designed a chemistry kit specifically for elementary school students. The kit contains a complete chemistry set, from test tubes and protective goggles to hot plates and pipettes. The set is complete with containers for consumables and instructions for teachers to help prepare lesson plans and templates for documenting experiments. LANXESS has distributed 1000 of these experiment kits, worth a total of 360,000 euros, to elementary schools at home and abroad. The completely safe experiment kits have now been unpacked, for example, at elementary schools in the Lambton Kent district at the Sarnia, Canada, site and integrated into the curriculum.

Foto 7_South-Africa_2The lesson-packed boxes have also in the meantime reached other corners of the world, such as the Zenzeleni elementary school in Alexandra near the South African LANXESS center in Greenstone. There, the company’s scientists showed students and teachers on site how materials developed jointly by the Technical University of Dortmund and LANXESS work. “This initiative clearly demonstrates how important the topic of education is to the company – even in communities where we’re already active,” says country spokesman Karl-Rudolf Gassen.

In Japan, the company donated the experiment kits to seven elementary schools and one education center in Toyohashi City of Aichi Prefecture, where LANXESS operates a production facility. The hand-over ceremony was attended by the mayor of Toyohashi.

The kits have also reached elementary schools in Yamada Town of Iwate Prefecture, in cooperation with Save the Children Japan (SCJ), which were seriously damaged by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake. The donation supports children who still face insufficient equipment at science classes. At Funakoshi Elementary School, LANXESS Japan Country Representative Peter Weinmar had the opportunity to witness first-hand how the kits were being utilized in their science class.

True to its heritage, LANXESS also donated experiment kits to the German School of Tokyo Yokohama in autumn of 2013, where Peter Weinmar was welcomed by excited students.

Well-traveled educational materials

In June 2014, students from the schools of Jiangnan, Chunxing and Xinan in Wuxi, China, were given the opportunity to enjoy the experiment kits. They are suitable for various forms of instruction (learning at lesson stations, group work, etc.) and can also be used in regular classrooms. According to school director Chen Ye, the experiment kits would also help encourage interest and skills in the natural sciences from a very early age.Foto 8_China_3

Silke Jansen, Director of the LANXESS education initiative, is very pleased with the development of this sustainable global project: “Our education initiative has had an international focus from the very start. Since then, education projects have sprung to life in almost all countries with LANXESS sites. The experiment kit is one more cornerstone supporting the sustainability of our activities. It’s lovely to think that children from every continent around the world will be researching and experimenting with our kits.”

Lanny explores the world

Foto 9_Schulspende14_23In addition, LANXESS has distributed planned instructional materials for science educators focusing on mobility, globalization, urbanization and water. They have been distributed throughout Germany in all municipal elementary schools at LANXESS sites, but any elementary school can order them through the company.

LANXESS developed the new materials, entitled “Lanny Explores the World,” in cooperation with Care-Line Bildungsprojekte GmbH, which has been developing content and creating educational media for over 25 years. The contents of the publication were guided by the official State elementary school science education curricula. The children learn, for example, about “The Treasures of the World” and the scarcity of resources. In another section, they discuss the advantages and disadvantages of various means of transportation.

In addition to worksheets, four learning stations are offered for the respective topics. The lessons are explained through the fictional experiences of the cartoon characters “Lanny” and “Professor Findig.”

Education Exports to the Entire World

In the interim, the initiative has become an international export hit and LANXESS has made them available in other European countries, Asia and South America.
For example, under the slogan “Educate to Grow,” more than 200 LANXESS employees in Argentina support self-sufficiency. They started a paper recycling project, with the proceeds going to schools and charitable organizations in the education field. As part of the program, the partners are also taught basic project management so they can continue operating later without these donations.
In Mumbai, India, LANXESS works with the charitable organization “Save the Children India” (STCI). It has developed a project there to improve the educational opportunities of underprivileged children. LANXESS has donated about 400,000 Rupees – approximately 6,000 euros – to five preschools run by STCI. They prepare the children to attend the next level. In addition to financial aid, LANXESS also contributes its special know-how. The company provides schools with systems for water treatment, ensuring a regular supply of clean drinking water.

Foto 10_JB_183In the interim, the initiative has become an international export hit and LANXESS has made them available in other European countries, Asia and South America.
For example, under the slogan “Educate to Grow,” more than 200 LANXESS employees in Argentina support self-sufficiency. They started a paper recycling project, with the proceeds going to schools and charitable organizations in the education field. As part of the program, the partners are also taught basic project management so they can continue operating later without these donations.

In Mumbai, India, LANXESS works with the charitable organization “Save the Children India” (STCI). It has developed a project there to improve the educational opportunities of underprivileged children. LANXESS has donated about 400,000 Rupees – approximately 6,000 euros – to five preschools run by STCI. They prepare the children to attend the next level. In addition to financial aid, LANXESS also contributes its special know-how. The company provides schools with systems for water treatment, ensuring a regular supply of clean drinking water.