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Company News, 2008-05-16, 11:00 AM

Ideas Park 2008: Raising enthusiasm for technology, attracting young engineersThyssenKrupp and the state of Baden-Württemberg present the third Ideas Park from May 17 to 25 at the Stuttgart Exhibition Center

The Ideas Park is coming to Stuttgart. Germany’s biggest technology experience is taking place from May 17 to 25 at the city’s Exhibition Center and is expected to attract 250,000 visitors. The Ideas Park is aimed at raising enthusiasm for technology and above all attracting young people to take up technical careers or study engineering subjects.

Germany has a shortage of both young and experienced engineers. “According to calculations carried out by the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the Institute of German Business, the engineer shortage increased by 45 percent to 70,000 unfilled vacancies last year. It is estimated that this shortage will cost German industry seven billion euros through lost value added,” said Dr. Ekkehard Schulz, Executive Board Chairman of ThyssenKrupp AG, on Friday in Stuttgart. “To solve this problem we need a raft of measures: we must provide better support for young talent, improve the image of careers in engineering, make increased use also of the older engineers we have, increase the number of women in engineering, and develop a joint approach by industry, the government and academic institutions. The Ideas Park is a prime example of how this can be done.”

Some 500 engineers, researchers and students will be presenting their ideas in person and displaying the latest technologies. 200 exhibits, many of them interactive, will invite visitors to find out about technology and try it out for themselves. Visitors will embark on a journey of discovery through seven life-worlds, where they will encounter concrete solutions to present-day challenges, such as: How can we extract oil from sand and help counter dwindling oil resources? “Ideas and innovations are essential to our country,” said Schulz. “It has always been the engineers, technicians and scientists who have ensured we have innovative products. Unfortunately we now have a severe shortage of these in Germany.”

This year ThyssenKrupp is investing ten million euros in the Ideas Park to raise enthusiasm for technology among young people. Admission is free. Following events in Gelsenkirchen in 2004 and Hanover in 2006, this third Ideas Park forms the highlight of the ThyssenKrupp initiative “Discovering future technology”. With this initiative, which has already won the support of over 120 partners from business, science and government, the Group continuously supports educational projects and promotes dialogue on the subject of technology across all social and age groups.

How can new materials make seawater desalination plants more efficient and give access to vital drinking water to more people than ever before? What tricks can technology copy from nature? What new, eco-friendly methods of energy generation and transportation are there? From robot snakes to rotor-powered dragonflies, from desert ships to underwater archaeology: all exhibits in the 40,000 square meter exhibition area are hands-on and designed for visitors to try out for themselves.

In “SchlauLoPolis” - the city of education - children and young people find that learning more about technology and science is fun. Taking up an entire exhibition hall, more than 6,300 workshop places for all age groups will offer youngsters the opportunity to experiment, invent and design for themselves. For example, our young visitors can visualize their own DNA, generate solar energy and program robots. The Ideas Park will also give children and young adults the opportunity to formulate their visions of the future and their wishes for the technology of tomorrow. In the IdeasWorkshop, Germany’s biggest future workshop, young people will collect their ideas for the future and then take to the “SchlauLoPolis” stage for a direct dialogue with experts.

The stage shows at the Ideas Park will offer highlights for all the family. Well-known German TV shows for children and adults alike will take place live on stage, presented by renowned television personalities such as Thomas Gottschalk, Markus Brock, Gregor Steinbrenner and Daniel Fischer. The program will include knowledge and quiz shows for young and old, and discussions with celebrity guests from the worlds of government, business, science, the media and sport. They will include three members of Germany’s federal government – Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Employment Minister Olaf Scholz and Research Minister Annette Schavan. Baden-Württemberg’s state premier Günther Oettinger will be attending numerous events at the Ideas Park. His counterpart from Lower Saxony, Christian Wulff, will also be there. Motor sports fan and singer Smudo from the group “Die Fantastischen Vier” will be presenting the “BioConceptCar”, a race car built from biological fibers, while the German ladies’ soccer team – the reigning World Champions – will be testing the goalkeeping skills of Goalias, a life-size robot. At the “IdeasSounds”, well-known musicians and producers such as Sasha, “Söhne Mannheims” and “Silbermond” will act as sponsors to help young, up-and-coming artists produce their own songs in the studio. They will then play them live on stage at the Ideas Park with the stars in an unplugged concert on May 24, 2008.

The Ideas Park will open on the evening of May 16 with the “Night of Innovation” spectacular. German TV giants Thomas Gottschalk and Günther Jauch will present the show, and together with well-known guests from show business and science will demonstrate just how entertaining modern technology can be. Guests will include Sir Richard Branson, Thomas Reiter, Montserrat Caballé and Mario Adorf. From May 18 to 23, Thomas Gottschalk will present the “Days of Innovation”, an afternoon show packed full of exciting experiments and interesting stage guests. Admission is free, and tickets will be available exclusively from the daily draw at the Ideas Park or from the event’s media partners.

Alongside the state of Baden-Württemberg, ThyssenKrupp has attracted more than 120 different institutions to take part in the Ideas Park, including educational establishments such as the “Haus der kleinen Forscher” (Tiny Tots Science Corner) and the Deutsches Museum in Bonn. Initiatives such as the “Jugend forscht” youth science competition and the “Wissensfabrik” knowledge factory will also be involved, as will numerous renowned scientific organizations such as the German Aerospace Center, the Helmholtz Association and several Max-Planck and Fraunhofer Institutes. Corporate partners will include Daimler, Bosch and Trumpf. In addition there will be participation from numerous universities, schools, associations, the media and government partners.

The Ideas Park Press Office will be open for journalists throughout the event. Details on the Ideas Park, the program of events, celebrity guests, exhibits and partners can be found at

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