GastprofessurNew Guest Professorship for Scientific Communication

Press Release No. 127/2018
2 November 2018

Sir Philip Campbell to teach at Heidelberg University as first Springer Nature Guest Professor

The longtime Editor-in-Chief of the Springer Nature publishing company and former editor of the renowned journal "Nature", Sir Philip Campbell, will join Heidelberg University for the 2018/2019 winter semester as the first "Springer Nature Guest Professor"

The newly established guest professorship for scientific communication is a joint initiative of the Veranstaltungsforum of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, the Klaus Tschira Foundation (KTS) and Ruperto Carola. With KTS funding, experts are invited to impart in a specialised programme what constitutes high-quality reporting on scientific work and findings. At the same time, they are encouraged to initiate a broad-based discussion on new forms of exchange between science and the public. Philip Campbell, holder of a Ph.D. in astrophysics, will be a guest at Heidelberg University from 26 November to 8 December 2018 and 28 January to 10 February 2019.

Sir Philip Campbell - Springer Nature Visiting Professor 2018/2019

With the establishment of the professorship, the three partners hope to sharpen awareness of the growing importance of good scientific communication. The guest professorship is intended to aid society in shaping the future through science in the face of increasingly complex research. "Science is always a communicative process as well – not just with colleagues and students but also with the public. The question of how best to communicate is therefore of equal importance to both science and society", states Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, President of Heidelberg University. CEO of the Veranstaltungsforum of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group Andreas Wilkes points out that Philip Campbell is not only a "proven expert and master of professional scientific communication, he was a major influence on the development of this field over the past several decades". KTS CEO Beate Spiegel emphasises: "The Klaus Tschira Foundation promotes scientific communication more than any other foundation in Germany. The Springer Nature Guest Professorship lends new impetus to better communication in institutions of higher education and society."

A champion of excellent scientific communication and quality journalism is usually appointed as a guest professor each semester. Along with the furtherance these aims, young researchers are also trained to better communicate their research and findings to the public. The "Springer Nature Guest Professorship" is located at the Marsilius Kolleg of Ruperto Carola, which serves as a bridge between the scientific cultures in Heidelberg. As the first guest professor, Philip Campbell will create a programme that includes seminars for advanced students and doctoral candidates, interdisciplinary discussions with the fellows of the Kolleg, and discussion groups with researchers from the different faculties. A closing event open to the public will be held at the end of the second half of the semester in February 2019.

The Marsilius Kolleg, under the leadership of biologist Prof. Dr Thomas Rausch and historian Prof. Dr Bernd Schneidmüller, is a central component of the institutional strategy of Heidelberg University within the Excellence Initiative. Work is focussed on bringing together researchers from different scientific cultures to promote research-based dialogue across the disciplines of the humanities, law, natural sciences, life sciences and social sciences.

Klaus Tschira Foundation

The physicist and co-founder of SAP Klaus Tschira (1940 – 2015) established the Klaus Tschira Foundation in 1995. It is one of Europe’s large privately funded non-profit foundations. The KTS supports the natural sciences, mathematics and computer science, while striving to increase their appreciation. Education, research and science communication are the foundation’s three primary areas of focus. Special attention is placed on developing new forms of mediating and assessing scientific themes. The Klaus Tschira Foundation is active in kindergartens, schools, universities, research facilities throughout Germany and even has its own institutes. For over 20 years, people both within and outside of the Klaus Tschira Foundation have dedicated themselves to achieving these goals.

Veranstaltungsforum of the Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

The Veranstaltungsforum in Berlin is a subsidiary of the Publishing Group. Since 1994 we actively encourage the dialogue between experts in science, business, culture and society. Together with exclusive partners, important issues and impulses are discussed in a responsible and distinguished way. The Veranstaltungsforum significantly supports the interdisciplinary social dialogue.