Many of the luxuries we enjoy in the modern world – electric cars, jewellery, smartphones – would not exist if it were not for the mining industry. Indeed it is almost impossible to imagine life nowadays without the valuable raw materials that miners retrieve from under the earth. And yet the mining industry is frequently the target of much criticism, suspected of exacerbating climate change and of causing landslides or earthquakes in some regions. How can mining be made as efficient and environmentally friendly as possible in future? Which innovative technologies might be used to this end? Numerous researchers in Germany are exploring these and other questions. In this edition we present some exciting projects. You can also read why an Italian neurophysiologist conducts his research in Germany, find out how it is that our meals may come out of food printers in future, learn about current funding programmes and discover our number of the month.