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“The German scientific system is both exceptionally modern and quite old-fashioned”

Moskalewicz 160

Prof. Dr Marcin Moskalewicz

Prof. Dr Marcin Moskalewicz, Poznan University of Medical Sciences in Poznan/Poland, currently visiting scientist at Center for Psychosocial Medicine (ZPM) at Heidelberg University Hospital
Since September 2022 till February 2024 Humboldt Fellow at the Department of General Psychiatry, Section Phenomenological Psychopathology und Psychotherapy


When did you arrive in Heidelberg? How long do you plan to stay? What are your goals for your time in Heidelberg?
I have arrived in September last year and plan to stay till 2024. I work as a Humboldt Fellow on a project in the philosophy of psychiatry devoted to atypical temporal experience. I aim to combine phenomenological inquiry into first-person experience structures with empirical data gathering via objectifying survey-based tools.
Why did you decide in favour of Heidelberg University?
Heidelberg Psychiatric Clinic is a renowned hub for research in phenomenological psychopathology. The section led by Prof. Dr Thomas Fuchs is exceptional in combining philosophy with psychiatry and attracts scholars from all over the world. When I first learned about Prof. Fuchs’ work over 10 years ago, I didn’t even dare to dream of working with him. Ten years forward, and here were are!

What have you learned so far in Heidelberg? What experiences have been particularly valuable?
 Working here daily, surrounded by and interacting with first-class academics, is valuable in itself. Younger colleagues are also excellent, and I am impressed by their insightfulness and dedication to science. I also love the international character of the city and the stories people bring with themselves from all over the world.

What do you like best about being in Heidelberg? What suggestions would you have for improvements?
I like the weather, the cycling routes, and the fact that almost everything is within reach. People are also very friendly, not just at work, but everywhere. Heidelberg struck me as a city of happy people. As for improvements, a small airport would make it just perfect! On the other hand, it would then lose its peculiar quality of detachment from the “real” world, which I particularly enjoy.

What is your view of the German scientific system in comparison to that of your home country or to that of other countries where you may have conducted research?
It is both exceptionally modern and quite old-fashioned in some respects. The top-notch quality of research is combined with paper-based bureaucracy, and it is sometimes a nightmare to solve a simple technical issue. Academic hierarchies are also different. But most important are the people – and based on what I have experienced so far, people are greatly inspiring!

In your opinion, what is the importance of international exchanges for researchers?
You can’t do research without exchange. I have worked at universities in the Netherlands, Switzerland, USA, the UK, and Poland, and I have travelled a lot because of that. It is not always easy, especially family-wise, but I honestly think there is no other option if one wants to succeed. Of course, trading off job security for intellectual adventures creates anxiety, but it is a creative anxiety, one that makes academic life both inventive and meaningful.

Do you recommend a research visit to Heidelberg University to your students or to colleagues in your scientific network?
Yes, obviously! We are currently planning a workshop where my Ph.D. students from Poland will have a chance to present their work. Two of them are also about to come to Heidelberg for internships next year. I am also hoping to build a lasting collaboration for the future and to be able to come here again after my current fellowship ends. Hopefully, some colleagues from Heidelberg will also take the opportunity to visit Poland. It is still the beginning.

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Latest Revision: 2023-02-17
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