“Daniel-Duesentrieb Contest”


Pupil during the practical contest 2002/2003, theme airplanes © TU Hamburg-Harburg

The aim of the REC is to encourage – and thereby going beyond the limits of school subjects - pupils, students and teachers of all secondary schools of Hamburg to work on scientific-technical themes experienced in the everyday life.
In the framework of the theme own ways of working will be trained and supported. The contest helps schools in improving scientific-technical education and in increasing the interest of young people in MINT-subjects.

Argument for inclusion

The DD-Contest is an interdisciplinary REC reaching a large number of pupils and teachers on a contest base dealing with a variety of scientific problems. The REC is supported by a number of enterprises and universities.

Relevant information in short

Main Research Partners

Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH)

Educational partners

about 40 secondary schools every year

Other partners

Hamburg Authority for Education and Sports; Association of German Engineers (VDI); all technically oriented Hamburg universities; industry and organisations

Age classes

11 – 19 year old students

Thematic orientation

Interdisciplinary; MINT subjects (mathematics, IT, sciences and technics)

Main Focus

To strengthen the interest of pupils for natural sciences by application oriented lessons; to promote the discussion of present scientific questions at schools

Duration of activity

The REC has taken place annually since 2000; each period goes on for 8 months


The REC is funded by their main partners TUHH, VDI, Hamburg Authority for Education and Sports and the Innovation Foundation of Hamburg. The required materials for the schools are supplied for free with the help of the participating industry.



Contact person

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Mackens

Context and conditions

The Daniel Duesentrieb-Price is donated by the Innovation Foundation Hamburg and is offered annually by the Hamburg Authority for Education and Sports, the Association of German Engineers (VDI) and the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH). The contest is supported by all technically oriented universities of the Hamburg region and by numerous enterprises and organisations.
The contest has taken place since the year 2000 and encourages pupils to deal with scientific questions for a longer period of time (approx. 8 months). Themes and issues have been so far: The Electro mobile, Ships, Aeroplanes, High Buildings, Medical Technology, Robotics. Future themes will be Energy Technology (2008) and Biotechnology (2009).

Activities and Contents

During an introduction meeting all partners and schools get to know each other. Questions about the task and scientific backgrounds can be discussed within an Internet forum together with scientists, and there is the possibility for the participants to meet with well-chosen contacts of involved companies and colleges. Every year there is an institute of the TUHH being responsible for the technical organisation.

students © Technical University Hamburg-Harburg, Thomas Rokos

The contest is made up of two parts:
For the theoretical part of the REC a multi-faceted research of the issue regarding the needs of many school subjects is expected. It is not only the teachers of natural sciences that are inspired to deal with a scientific subject within their class, but also teachers of other fields.

    In the practical part the participants have to develop a technical product for the solution of a given task arising from the theme and they have to describe the development and production process. The practical abilities are compared in a public competition at the end of the contest period.

The Daniel's Duesentrieb awarding will be received by schools that have worked on the given issue within the framework of school lessons and non-school activities in a very special way. The overall performance of a school will be reviewed.
The more pupils involved in the theme and the more in depth work on the different aspects of the theme the better the chances for an award. Three main awards, three additional awards for the practical part and numerous extra awards by organisations, enterprises and organising institutions are provided. The successful integration of girls into the scientific-technical work will be especially considered during the assessment of the school.

Methodologies and curriculum relevance

Interested pupils visiting a robot contest 2006 © TUHH, Thomos Rokos

The choice of methods for working with the tasks remains with the teachers. An influence on school lessons and curriculum can be recognized with the participating schools. The themes cover a number of school subjects and go beyond the curriculum and the normal school lessons. Taking part in this contest enables teachers to deal with themes in an application oriented way.

Other outcomes and mutual benefits

This REC helps or makes it possible for pupils to get to know the practical meaning of MINT subjects regarding research and development. They are able to see MINT applications in participating universities and industry by doing guided tours together with their teachers. Therefore questions arising can be discussed with experts before a participation at the contest.
The enterprises and universities also profit from the contest allowing contacts with potential future students and trainees.

Evaluation / Feedbacks

A self-evaluation takes place.

Limits and possibilities

Because of the REC´s size and the support of universities, enterprises, organisations and authorities the participation and the support of a high number of schools is possible. Nevertheless the additional time expenditure often seems to be problematic for the teachers. Hence to win a price means a recognition for their work and also recognition for the school.


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