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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

№ 269/2011 from Aug 26, 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, Brazil, India, China, Singapore, and Germany will explain their different viewpoints in brief presentations and discussions. The presenters include one of President Barack Obama's advisers on research policy, Professor Arthur Bienenstock from Stanford University, and the director of the Planning Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Professor Rongping Mu. 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 and strategic research planning. An important role will also be the growing challenge of international competition on the one hand and the scarce resources on the other.

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, Brazil, India, China, and Singapore will present information about what is being done in their home countries in the line of research planning.

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.

Further Information

  • 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. 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.

For further Information, please contact

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

Conference Schedule