News: Network Conference in April 2018
The Research Alumni Network will expand in 2018: After successful network meetings in New Delhi (India) and Boston (USA) in 2012, and in Rome (Italy) in 2013, a fourth meeting is scheduled to take place in Kyoto, Japan on 14–15 April of this year. This means that after South Asia, North America and Europe, the network will now extend to another world region, namely East Asia. Kyoto is home to the youngest of the four foreign offices of Heidelberg University – the Heidelberg University Office, Kyoto (HUOK) was opened in 2015. As with previous network meetings, University President Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel will invite Heidelberg research alumni and former doctoral students of all disciplines, as well as alumni of non-university research institutions such as the DKFZ, to attend the meeting.
Under the interdisciplinary heading of ‘Research as a bridge to internationalisation’, the participants plan to develop new strategies and ideas and build on existing bi-national best practice projects. The organisers have scheduled a panel discussion on the subject with top scientists from Germany and Japan, as well as subsequent discussions in smaller groups that will allow the attending research alumni to debate the status and objectives of internationalisation in their home institutions, discuss challenges and opportunities and explore specific subjects in greater depth with German researchers from different disciplines.
Examples of successful projects in Japan to date include the binational PhD programme in the social sciences and humanities between Heidelberg and Tohoku University and the joint international master’s programme of the universities of Heidelberg and Kyoto in transcultural studies—the first dual-degree programme in the social sciences and humanities to be offered in Japan in cooperation with an international partner. ‘The research alumni meeting is an ideal opportunity to discuss new projects, such as an intensified exchange of junior researchers or doctoral students through additional binational or even trinational PhD programmes, because the attending academics can initiate future cooperation projects as representatives of their home institutions’, explains HAI director Silke Rodenberg.
The highlight of the meeting will be a public lecture and discussion led by Heidelberg gerontologist Prof. Dr Andreas Kruse that will kick off the ‘Heidelberg Lecture’ series in Japan. The Japanese edition of the ‘Heidelberg Lecture’ – a series that is already well established in other countries – is organised by the Heidelberg University Office Kyoto, which promotes cooperation in research and teaching in the region and supports new contacts and projects at the binational and multinational level. ‘The foreign offices give research alumni a “shortcut” to Heidelberg University, and our experience shows that the services of these offices are in great demand. We want to use this advantage in Japan, where the HUOK can be the first point of contact for research alumni from neighbouring countries, as well’, explains Silke Rodenberg.
The German-Japanese university consortium HeKKSaGOn – a joint project of the universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, the universities of Kyoto and Osaka and Tohoku University – is another attractive scheme for East Asian researchers. Since its founding in 2010, HeKKSaGOn has established joint research units in a number of promising fields.
‘With the network meeting, we want to lay the foundation for a lasting relationship between the research alumni and Heidelberg University and encourage long-term cooperation. Our aim is to spark or increase interest in research stays in Germany and support the development of innovative new projects’, says Silke Rodenberg. ‘At the same time, we want to celebrate the official founding of Heidelberg Alumni Japan (HAJP) with our alumni and guests at the soiree. We are really looking forward to this special event!’