Second Network Meeting in Boston
The second Research-Alumni Meeting of Heidelberg University took place in the United States in September 2012. About 20 former guest scientists of Ruperto Carola from North and Latin America attended the meeting in Boston under the heading “Transatlantic Opportunities”. The guests were brought up to date on research and science-related activities in Heidelberg and discussed the scope and possibilities of the Research-Alumni Network. Besides “talking shop”, the alumni also shared their personal experiences and compared the opportunities offered by the German and American scientific systems. The meeting was hosted by the German Consulate General in Boston.
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, began by presenting current developments at the Heidelberg research institutions and the university as a whole. He spoke about long-term prospects and Heidelberg’s success in the second round of the German Excellence Initiative, and also addressed topics like worldwide cooperation projects and the university’s strategy of internationalisation. The central event of the meeting was a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Joann Halpern, Director of the German Center for Research and Innovation in New York City. In addition to Rector Eitel, the panel included Dr. Eva-Maria Streier, Director of the German Research Foundation’s North American office and the three network members Prof. Dr. Petra Rohrbach (McGill University/Montréal), Prof. Dr. Robert Norton (University of Notre Dame/Indiana) and Prof. Dr. Michael Peachin (New York University).
The experts talked about transatlantic cooperation and the basic conditions for a closer collaboration between Heidelberg and the North American universities. The discussion also touched on the different requirements for women in scientific careers in Germany and North America, and the challenges and opportunities of establishing and expanding a student exchange programme. The former Heidelberg guest scientists agreed on the importance of acting as ambassadors for Ruperto Carola and stepping up their efforts to promote a stay in Heidelberg among their students and young scientists. The official part of the workshop ended with some information on the HAIreconnect scholarship for former Heidelberg scientists within the Research-Alumni Network. A festive reception in the rooms of the “Faculty Club” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, marked the end of the two-day conference.