Oliver Bens , Head of Staff of the Scientific Executive Board at GFZ, is one of two directors of the Central - Asian Institute for Applied Geosciences (CAIAG) since 1 September. CAIAG was founded by the government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the GFZ in 2004. Oliver Bens will succeed Jörn Lauterjung, who stepped down on 31.08.2020 due to his retirement. On the Kyrgyz side, Bolot Moldobekov will remain in office as co-director.
CAIAG focuses thematically on key challenges of the entire Central Asian region in the fields of geosciences and environmental sciences, global change and natural hazards. It is based in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. The institute is an important partner institution of the GFZ, e.g. for the Global Change Observatory Central Asia, an initiative which has been operated for many years and which is thematically very broadly anchored at the GFZ in various disciplines (including geodesy, remote sensing, geophysics, geodynamics, hydrology, geomorphology, climate and landscape development), and which will also be important for the GFZ's research work in this region during the POF IV phase. CAIAG is also embedded in various cooperation projects with international partners and contributes significantly to research and development projects, knowledge transfer and training programmes in Central Asia.
Oliver Bens holds a doctorate in soil science and is Head of Staff of the Scientific Executive Board at the GFZ since 2007. Before that he held several posts at universities, in industry and in policy advisory bodies. Bens was also a member of a number of interdisciplinary working groups at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and at the National Academy of Science and Engineering, acatech.