"Research without Borders" – 1st Workshop of the “Regional Network PSI Plus” at KIT

Joint Efforts Fostering Post-funding Perspectives

On Friday, November 13, 2020, the "Regional Network Philipp Schwartz Initiative Plus" formed after the PSI Forum in Berlin in March 2020 met for its first joint workshop “Research without Borders.”

Researchers and non-academic partners from universities and research institutions from the State of Baden-Württemberg and neighboring Alsace in France virtually explored ways to enhance perspectives of at-risk researchers in the post-funding periods, that is after expiry of programs, such as the Philipp Schwartz Fellowships in Germany and the PAUSE program in France.

Welcome addresses by Prof. Dr. Thomas Hirth, Vice-President for Innovation and International Affairs, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Prof. Dr. Mathieu Schneider, Vice President for Culture & Science with and for Society, Université de Strasbourg, reflected their strong commitment and created an assuring and encouraging atmosphere for the subsequent talks.

In the Lightning Talks presented by Prof. Caroline Robertson-von Trotha, founding director of “ZAK” -  Center for Cultural and General Studies of KIT, eight researchers from different backgrounds and research fields gave brief insights into their current research projects. During virtual coffee tables, peer-to-peer talks, and breakout sessions, researchers, their scientific hosts, and administrative staff in charge of threatened researchers exchanged ideas and valuable experiences.

Some of these ideas may lead to joint efforts or will be pushed e.g. by the SAR Germany Section to further advance support of at-risk researchers on a higher level.

Raising the hosting societies’ and academic institutions’ awareness of the specific situation of researchers in exile in terms of career development, culture, language, family, or the shortness of funding periods was one of the main goals defined during the workshop. The second goal is to enhance the visibility of threatened researchers and of their contributions to the scientific community.  Both objectives will be discussed in detail at the next network meeting in spring 2021 at the University of Strasburg.