Out of Sight – But Not Out of Mind
Research Alumni Program at Freie Universität launched, applications accepted until April 30 and September 30
Apr 25, 2013
Thamy Pogrebinschi of Brazil, Ilona Regulski of Belgium, Anthony Morfa of the U.S., and Arturo Robertazzi of Italy have at least one thing in common: They are all currently doing research at Freie Universität as recipients of fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. To make sure guest researchers like them can keep in touch with their host university even after their time in Dahlem is over, Freie Universität has recently launched its Research Alumni Program.
To develop relationships from guest stays into sustainable research networks and to support the university’s International Network University concept, Freie Universität is awarding funding for subject-specific workshops and research fellowships for junior scholars in 2013. Researchers from Freie Universität who have hosted international researchers are invited to apply for workshop funding until April 30. The international researchers have to be listed as co-applicants in the application.The program also provides special funding for junior researchers from Freie Universität who are working with Research Alumni hosts and international junior researchers who are working with research alumni abroad. Fellowships will support research stays for one to three months, which are supervised abroad by research alumni and at Freie Universität by those alumni’s former hosts. Applications for the first round of research stays are accepted until April 30. A second call for applications will be open between August 1 and September 30.
The four Humboldt Foundation fellows welcome the idea of the Research Alumni Program, as all of them see a definite need for ongoing professional contact with their supervisors and colleagues even after the end of their guest stays. “Because of our shared research interests, I will always stay in contact with my host here at Freie Universität,” says Regulski, who is currently doing research at the university’s Egyptology Institute.Computational chemist Arturo Robertazzi is currently working in the Macromolecular Modelling Group at Freie Universität. He says the campus is highly international and offers guest scholars an ideal working environment, “I immediately felt right at home here, which is very important for your own work.”
Political science researcher Thamy Pogrebinschi also confirms that an international atmosphere is crucial to a researcher’s own work and to efforts to promote junior scholars and scientists. “International networks are relevant in all research fields today. More and more scholars and scientists are publishing the results of their research in English and in international journals. They are seeking contact with colleagues from other academic traditions. It’s not just about sharing ideas and getting feedback for your own work, but about creating collective knowledge and implementing shared projects.”
Supporting Cooperation with Alumni and Junior Researchers
The Research Alumni Program aims to support continued academic and professional exchange and to advance joint projects by providing funding for subject-specific workshops in Freie Universität’s Focus Areas. Existing cooperative relationships can be expanded by including additional scientists and scholars and junior researchers as well. Pogrebinschi believes there is a definite need for these kinds of aid opportunities. “We need a way to keep up the cooperation between my institute here at Freie Universität and my institute in Brazil.”
Anthony Morfa, who is doing postdoctoral research on experimental solid-state physics at Freie Universität and keeps in contact with researchers in the U.S., Australia, Italy, Spain, the UK, and now Germany, confirms this concept: “My current network is basically the sum of all the networks of my former colleagues and supervisors,” the American scholar says. “I was lucky enough that those I have worked with recommended cooperation partners to me and helped me with initially making contact.”
Research Alumni Program
The Research Alumni Program at Freie Universität was a winner in the second round of the “Research Alumni at Universities in Germany” competition. It is part of the “International Research Marketing” project, jointly organized by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG), and the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and is part of the “Research in Germany” initiative.
The first round of calls for applications for expert workshops and research stays started on March 1, 2013. Applications can be submitted to the Alumni Office of Freie Universität until April 30, 2013. Applications for a second round of research stays will be accepted from August 1 until September 30, 2013.
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