Scientist Networks offer Career Development and International Contacts
After a research stay, especially at foreign universities, an active, lively alumni network often remains, connecting the scientists and host institution on a long-term basis. In order to support German universities in building up such networks, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) issued a call for projects to promote activities within the “Alumni Program to Support and Bind Foreign Alumni”. The application by the Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean” was among the 22 successful projects selected by the DAAD from 47 applications. A total of 97,000 Euros are available for workshops, a conference and the expansion and maintenance of the research alumni database in Kiel’s marine sciences.
It is not the first time that the Cluster’s work with research alumni has been distinguished. In 2013 and 2014, funds from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation were procured for the organization of a research alumni conference at Columbia University in New York in the autumn of 2015. The success of the conference encouraged the organizers Dr. Gesche Braker, coordinator of the postdoc network within the Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean” and Dr. Nancy Smith, coordinator of internationalization, to apply for further funding from the DAAD.
“We are very pleased with the success of our application. A lively alumni network helps the host universities and alumni likewise. For a university, qualified alumni are the best advertising and form a valuable link for international research collaborations. For the alumnus, the network can be a great help for their career,” says Dr. Smith who will be part of the alumni management in the marine science research network.
It is planned that a part of the DAAD funding will be dedicated to a larger conference in Kiel which will take place in 2017 on the topic of “Sustainable Ocean Development”. It will be accompanied by various thematic workshops and supplemented by sessions on interdisciplinary topics such as mobility and international career paths. Marine scientists currently working in Kiel will also be invited to participate and connect with the network. “We do not want to lose sight of international researchers that have left Kiel. With our activities, they can continue the scientific exchange even after their research stay,” wishes Smith.
The individual stations of the researchers from marine sciences are already being recorded and regularly updated in an alumni database. The goal is to offer a framework with which both academic and non-academic careers can be followed without losing contact to other researchers over a longer period of time. A new internet portal will be created with the help of the DAAD funding, which will also offer interesting content for alumni. Thus the virtual exchange will be actively promoted, even across the world’s oceans.
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Research visits by German scientists at renowned universities or research institutes abroad significantly contribute to international networking and career development. The same is true of international scientists at German universities.
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Dr. Nancy Smith, Coordinator Internationalization, Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean”,
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Friederike Balzereit, Öffentlichkeitsarbeit, Cluster of Excellence “The Future Ocean”,
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Text / Redaktion: Friederike Balzereit