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Heidelberg Alumni International
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Heidelberg Alumni International

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“We Are Just Beginning to Realize the Exciting Potential of Connecting the Research Alumni”


Prof. Dr. Chris Orvig, Professor of Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences at University of British Columbia, Vancouver/Canada

July to December 2013 Research Stay (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation) at Department of Inorganic Chemistry at Heidelberg University


When, how long and in what position did you stay at Heidelberg University?

I was in a guest professor at Heidelberg in the Department of Inorganic Chemistry. I was supported by a Humboldt Research Award for six months from July to December 2013. I collaborated with my host Prof. Dr. Peter Comba, former vice-rector of the University, and we now have a joint graduate student, Katharina Rübenacker, from that excellent interaction.


Why did you decide to come to Heidelberg University?

First and foremost I was attracted by the excellent world-class research work of Prof. Comba, the chance to learn from him and his group, and the opportunity to bring a biological perspective to his research in return. That Heidelberg is a top university in a beautiful location (like my University!) was an additional attraction of course. I had many opportunities to discuss science with the researchers in a most rewarding environment – I even shared my office with a well-known spectroscopy researcher from Australia who is an old friend and past collaborator (Prof. Dr. Graeme R. Hanson from University of Queensland). The density of researcher excellence is very deep indeed. My wife and I were also attracted by the excellent apartment offered in the Internationales Wissenschaftsforum Heidelberg (IWH). The IWH is very central in the Altstadt and was a perfect visitor accommodation. The staff were excellent and helpful; Prof. Comba is the Research Director of the IWH.


What were your experiences in Heidelberg?

Heidelberg is a very beautiful city and it is home to a world-famous university. As such, I have found there the perfect combination of beauty and knowledge. A great pleasure was to walk the banks of the Neckar, the Philosophenweg or the gardens of the Schloss and think about my current problems in chemistry. It is also very central in Europe for making seminar and collaboration visits to other countries and institutions. Additionally the excellence of Heidelberg is such that expertise in any field can easily be found just be sending an email or picking up the phone (I still use the telephone!).


Do you recommend a research visit to Heidelberg University to your students or to colleagues in your scientific network?

I recommend a research stay in Heidelberg to any interested colleague who is concerned with broadening their perspectives, learning new avenues for their research and interacting in a stimulating and beautiful world-class environment.


How do you rate the opportunities offered by Heidelberg Alumni International and the Research Alumni Network?

I think we are just beginning to realize the exciting potential of connecting the research alumni of such excellent research centres as Heidelberg University, both amongst themselves and between institutions. The Research Alumni Conference Germany in Berlin was a stimulating starting point and many new ideas to enhance collaboration were born there and will bear fruit in the coming years – the idea of research alumni itself is new and daring!

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Latest Revision: 2014-07-25
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