Robert Bosch Junior Professorship

Dr. Asia Khamzina

Robert Bosch Junior Professorship 2009 Awarded to Dr. Asia Khamzina

"Thank you very much for making me a millionaire!" On March 6, 2009 at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Arts, the young researcher Dr. Asia Khamzina began her acceptance speech with these very words. Among numerous highly qualified applicants from around the world, Dr. Khamzina was distinguished with the Robert Bosch Junior Professor 2009. She will receive up to one million euros for five years of independent research in the field of sustainable use of renewable natural resources.

Dr. Khamzina, was able to convince the jury through her excellent scientific achievements, maturity, and an ambitious research project. The jury was headed by Professor Klaus Töpfer, the former director of the UN environmental program.

The work of the Robert Bosch Junior Professor 2009 relates to an extremely fragile ecosystem - the Aral Sea. In this region, fertilization and irrigation of the agriculturally used cultivation areas has led to a salinization of the ground and, therefore, to a limited usability. Beginning in the middle of 2009, the Robert Bosch Junior Professor will research how this cycle in central Asia can be broken in order to achieve a long-term improvement in the global CO2 balance. Dr. Khamzina selected the Center for Development Research (ZEF) at the University of Bonn as the host institution.

Originally covering an area of about 68,000 sq km, the Aral Sea was once the world's fourth largest lake. However, since about 1960, the continual drying-up of the lake represents one of the largest man-made environmental disasters worldwide. With her work, Asia Khamzina would not only like to stop the desertification of large areas of land, but also create additional uses for it. She wants to identify those ecological, economical, and institutional conditions which would allow for a reforestation of the decimated areas. In the long term, this could allow the central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan or Kazakhstan to participate in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) process of the Kyoto Protocol.

After the junior professor award ceremony, the second half of the festivities featured high-level representatives from politics, business, and science discussing the question: "Is climate change making us sick?"

"There's no aspirin for climate change. For this purpose, one needs decisive national and global environmental initiatives," demanded, for example, Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, deputy director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). Professor Rainer Sauerborn, director of the Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Heidelberg's Hygiene Institute, also warned: "Climate change will have significant consequences on the health of the population, especially in developing countries. We mustn't wait for coastal cities to be flooded to feel the effects of global climate change." The lively discussion ended with the conclusion that the correlation between global climate changes and human health must be researched more intensively than before.

Picture Gallery of the Award Ceremony

Max Lautenschläger
(From left:) Professor Klaus Töpfer, former director of the UN environmental program, Dr. Ingrid Hamm, executive director of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Björn Graf Bernadotte, executive director of the Lennart-Bernadotte-Stiftung.
Max Lautenschläger
Dr. Ingrid Hamm, Executive Director of the Robert Bosch Stiftung.
Max Lautenschläger
(From left:) Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, deputy director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Professor Klaus Töpfer, the former director of the UN environmental program, Dr. Asia Khamzina, Dr. Christof Bosch, member of the Board of Trustees of the Robert Bosch Stiftung, and Dr. Ingrid Wünning Tschol, head of the science department of the foundation.
Max Lautenschläger
(From left:) Dr. Christof Bosch, Dr. Asia Khamzina and Professor Klaus Töpfer.
Max Lautenschläger
Max Lautenschläger
The award ceremony took place at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Max Lautenschläger
Susanne Weber-Mosdorf, deputy director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), discussion the question "Is climate change making us sick?" with Professor Rainer Sauerborn (left), director of the Department of Tropical Hygiene and Public Health at the University of Heidelberg's Hygiene Institute, and Professor Peter Höppe (right), director of the Department of Geo Risks at the Munich Re Group. Moderator Romanus Otte, deputy editor-in-chief of the Sunday paper "Welt am Sonntag".
Max Lautenschläger
Susanne Weber-Mosdorf and Romanus Otte.

Short profile

Dr. Asia Khamzina, born in 1977, studied hydro technology in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. She obtained her doctorate in 2006 from the Center for Development Research in Bonn (ZEF). Since 2002, she has been researching the reforesting opportunities of degraded agricultural areas in Uzbekistan. As a Robert Bosch Junior Professor at the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, she investigates how reforesting measures in central Asia could lead to an improvement in the global CO2 balance.
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Khorezm (Usbekistan)
Photo: Asia Khamzina
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Photo: Asia Khamzina
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"Shipping cemetery" - Muynak (Karakalpakstan), once fishing port of the Aral Sea
Photo: Ahmad Manschadi