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Planning Research for the Future?

Freie Universität Berlin Is Holding an International Conference on Research Planning: October 13 to 15, 2011

№ 233/2011 from Jul 12, 2011

Can research be planned? Is it advantageous to do so, when scientific breakthroughs such as the theory of relativity by Albert Einstein do not appear to result from planning? Freie Universität Berlin, in cooperation with the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, is hosting an international conference from October 13 to 15, 2011, that aims to take a closer look at the rationale for as well as possibilities and limits of research planning.

Experts from the United States, India, China, Singapore, and Germany will explain their different viewpoints in brief presentations and discussions. The conference "Planning Research for the Future?" is being held under the patronage of Professor Dr. Jürgen Zöllner, Berlin Senator for Education, Science, and Research. The conference language is English. Registrations are being accepted through September 30, 2011.

During the conference, representatives from universities, non-university research institutes, research-promoting foundations, corporations, unions, and the European Union will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of research planning in an academic context. The meeting will focus on the tension between academic freedom on the one hand and strategic research planning on the other. This broad range is a unique feature of the conference.

One part of the conference is a discussion among university rectors from Germany and abroad, including supporters and opponents of research planning, who will give their perspectives. Both before and after the discussion, a vote will be taken in the audience. This should make it apparent, whether the arguments of the proponents or opponents of research planning were better able to convince the conference participants.

In addition, highly regarded scholars from such countries as the United States, India, China, and Singapore will present information about what is being done in their home countries in the line of research planning. The presenters include Jamil Salmi from the World Bank, Professor Rongping Mu from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Arthur Bienenstock from Stanford University, Professor Narayanaswamy Balakrishnan from the Indian Institute of Science, and Professor Seeram Ramakrishna from National University of Singapore.

The conference is being organized by the Center for Cluster Development (CCD) at Freie Universität Berlin. One of three strategic centers, the CCD is part of Freie Universität’s future development concept "International Network University" that was successful in the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments. The CCD supports researchers at Freie Universität in developing research priorities.

Dates, Location, Terms and Conditions

  • October 13 to 15, 2011: The opening reception will start at 5 p.m. on October 13. On the two remaining days, the meetings will begin at 9 a.m.
  • The conference is being held in the Conference Center of the Seminaris Campus Hotel, Takustraße 39, 14195 Berlin (subway station: Dahlem-Dorf, U3).
  • Registration is mandatory and open until September 30, 2011, at:
  • The registration fee for the entire conference is 195 euros. (A reduced fee of 150 euros applies for registrations received by July 31.) The registration fee for students is 80 euros, and for members of Freie Universität it is 50 euros. Journalists are welcome at no charge, but advance notice is requested.
  • The dinner and tour of Berlin on Friday, October 14, can be booked for 48 euros.

Further Information

Dr. Andreas Gundelwein
Deputy Director, Center for Cluster Development, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-73961, Email:

Conference Schedule