Interdisciplinary networking and exchange
FAU provides funding to enable its researchers to organise joint conferences, workshops, summer schools and conferences with international partners. The main focus is on supporting interdisciplinary networking and exchange among international experts and young researchers. Particular attention is paid to promoting international workshops and collaborative research in FAU’s key research priorities with top-level universities in other countries. So far six projects have been awarded a total of some €90,000 in funding.
Success Stories, Past, Present, and Future – The Erlangen IQN and its Perspectives
From 2001 to 2004 the Department of Chinese Studies at FAU coordinated an International Quality Network (IQN) funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) that was concerned with knowledge transfer between China and the West entitled: ‘Knowledge transfer between China and the West. Historical and philosophical dimensions’. During this period, approximately 20 researchers visited Erlangen for periods ranging from six to twelve months. An important objective of the IQN was the development of young researchers. For this reason 20 undergraduate and postgraduate students from China and Japan who were preparing their dissertations were among those invited. Fourteen researchers from the group now hold professorships in China, Japan, and the USA, while among the German members three are also currently working as professors.
The conference paid tribute to these outstanding success stories that provide examples of just how effective the strategies employed to ensure the internationalisation of FAU are. The conference also demonstrated the sustainability of the established academic network and offered the opportunity to develop new prospects for the future.
International Summer School on Sheet Metal Advanced Research and Teaching
FAU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering has been successfully collaborating with Università degli Studi di Palermo for over 20 years. This collaboration involves frequent exchanges of researchers and students, and is intensified through joint conferences, bilateral research projects, and supervision of doctoral candidates. The two universities also offer a double degree programme as part of their partnership, the Bachelor’s degree programme in International Production Engineering and Management. They maintain and expand their network in the field of manufacturing technologies through an international summer school that is attended by some 40 students from various partner countries.
SMART (Sheet Metal Advanced Research and Teaching), which is held once every two years and generally takes place alternately in Palermo and Erlangen, was held in Nuremberg this year. In addition to the excellent professors from the universities of Palermo, Padua and Dresden who regularly attend the summer school, three FAU professors were again also there, where they imparted their specialist knowledge clearly and with great attention to detail. A total of 24 doctoral candidates took part, ten of whom came from universities in Australia, China, Denmark, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. Alongside the comprehensive programme that included trips to AUDI and visits to FAU laboratories, the participants had the opportunity to experience local culture in Nuremberg and Erlangen and to get to know FAU as a potential host university for a stay abroad.
The event was partially funded by the university.
International Summer School on Translational Kidney Research – From Physiology to Clinical Application
Also members of FAU’s TRENAL network (Translational Kidney research – From Physiology to Clinical Application) are the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Light, Yale University and University College London (UCL).The DAAD provided a six-figure sum in 2015, intended to fund the network for a period of four years. In addition to an exchange of students, researchers and physicians involving visits, virtual conferences and innovative teaching formats, the network organises academic symposiums and summer schools. The Faculty of Medicine at FAU invited around 120 researchers and physicians from various European countries, the USA and Brazil to Erlangen to attend in order to promote the international exchange of ideas and generate fresh input into renal and cardiovascular research. Young researchers and eminent experts spent four days discussing their work, networking and discussing future projects. Presentations by outstanding speakers and an exciting framework programme provided an excellent opportunity to convince members of partner universities that FAU is the ideal location for a research stay of any length.
The summer school was funded by the university and other sponsors.
Since 2015, the Department of Chemistry and Pharmacy (DCP) has been joining forces with the University of Wollongong (UoW, Australia) to offer the DAAD-funded dual-degree course in ‘Chemistry – an International Programme’. The DCP plans to make use of the experience gained during this joint project to continue to internationalise courses and educational programmes for young researchers. For this purpose, representatives of four universities were invited to a three-day workshop in Erlangen in November to explore options for collaboration in both teaching and postgraduate training. The UoW, the Southern University of Science and Technology (Shenzhen, China), Jagellonian University (Cracow, Poland) and the University of Chemistry and Technology Prague (Czech Republic) were all represented.
The degree programmes and doctoral training courses at the participating institutions were described on the first day of the workshop. On the second day, Master’s and doctoral students from Erlangen gave brief presentations on their projects, enabling the international guests to gain an impression of their level of knowledge and the teaching standards at FAU. A visit to the Nuremberg Christmas market and a typical Franconian pub rounded off the day and provided some opportunity for collegial discussions. On the last day, the participants were invited to a discussion by the Vice President for Internationalisation before the workshop ended with lunch.
The workshop provided new insights for all participants as well as revealing numerous options for collaboration, which will now be explored and discussed in more detail.
The first workshop undertaken by FAU and the University of Minnesota (UNM) took place in the summer of 2016. This bilateral workshop on the campus in Minnesota involved researchers from both universities and was organised by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Functional Particle Systems (FPS) and the Excellence Cluster for Engineering of Advanced Materials (EAM). The aim was to further extend and reinforce the already very successful cooperation between individual partners that has developed in recent years in the field of new materials and processes.
Both FAU and UMN sent delegations of 12 to 15 participants, who presented their various research concepts on the first day. The second day continued with the introduction and discussion of specific research projects at various levels, involving an exchange of data and/or samples through to planning mutual visits or even longer term research stays. Over 30 topics in the fields of materials and manufacturing, catalysis, simulation and optimisation were identified as warranting further investigation by research teams.
UMN is not only of interest to FAU because of its internationally prominent scientists and researchers; the two institutions are also structurally very similar. Chemical engineering and material sciences collaborate closely with the natural sciences and there is also a focus on medicine. The collaboration agreement signed during the workshop will form the basis for extending institutional collaboration from which both sides will benefit considerably.
The researchers involved will be meeting in Erlangen in the summer of 2017 to attend a second workshop to promote and extend their collaboration.
A joint workshop involving FAU and the Northwestern University on the subject of ‘Consequences of early childhood inequalities’ took place in Nuremberg on 30 to 31 August 2016. The aim of this international workshop was to discuss high-quality empirical research into the main causes of inequality in early childhood and the potential effects this can have in later life. It was organised by the Department of Statistics and Empirical Economic Research at FAU together with the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University. The conference was funded by FAU, the German Research Foundation (DFG), the Labor and Socio-Economic Research Center (LASER) network and the Institute for Labour Market and Career Research (IAB).
The keynote speakers were Prof.Diane Schanzenbach of Northwestern University and Prof. Kjell Salvanes of the Norwegian School of Economics. When selecting the contributions submitted in response to a call for papers, particular emphasis was placed on the researcher’s intention to identify causal effects, using surveys and administrative data, in order to derive well-founded, reliable implications for corresponding policies.
The workshop brought together a group of approximately 30 established researchers and up-and-coming young researchers from Europe, the USA and Australia. Interested students and young researchers at FAU, IAB doctoral students and students from the Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE), as well as members of the LASER network participated in this workshop. The workshop contributed to extending the academic network, to laying the foundation for closer collaboration between internationally leading academic institutions and to promoting the international visibility and attractiveness of FAU.
At the end of March 2017, the second joint workshop of Shanghai Jiaotong University (SJTU) and FAU on the topics of “Materials and Process Engineering” and “Combustion” took place in Erlangen, where 10 scientists took part from each university. The research topics were represented on an international level by SJTU’s School of Mechanical Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering at FAU. After an initial workshop in Shanghai in March 2016, where the participating professorships presented their research topics and participants were able to meet in person, specific research topics of mutual interest were specified in the second workshop and agreements were concluded for the continuation and start of joint research projects. Further stays of students, postgraduate students and postdoctoral students are also planned for EU projects which the SJTU is part of.
Both workshops have clearly indicated that the SJTU is an ideal partner university for FAU in China. Both institutions are leading research universities of a similar size, and there are numerous synergies between these research areas and others at both universities. In addition to mutual visits of scientists, a third workshop in Shanghai will take place in two years, which will take inventory of joint research.