Daria Martin, Schering Stiftung Projektraum

 

Fellows Meeting 2005

They came from England, Italy and Spain, Finland, Poland and Switzerland, the United States, Canada and Germany—young scientists who have all done excellent work in their respective fields. Some are current fellows of the Ernst Schering Foundation, others have won prizes awarded by the Ernst Schering Foundation, and yet others are former fellowship recipients of the Ernst Schering Research Foundation. Some study details of cell division, others investigate the protein synthesis in ribosomes or think about new ways of synthesis of certain target molecules. Some work at universities, others at research institutions, yet others as researchers in an industrial environment.

No matter how varied their places of origin and professional backgrounds—the 60 participants of the Fellows Meeting, who gathered for three days in the Harnack House of the Max Planck Society in Berlin, had one thing in common: All of them were outstanding scientists.

Oncology, signal transfer, endocrinology, neurosciences, chemistry, bioinformatics and cell biology were the focus of the scientific program. In four sessions and a central poster presentation, numerous participants presented their current research, thus giving others an opportunity to broaden their horizons beyond their own specialties.

The scholarly exchange was only one focus of the meeting, however. The young scientists were also to become aware of their responsibility to society. One occasion for them to do so was a workshop on the "Public Understanding of Science." In addition, eleven fellows had the opportunity to participate in a media and communications training, which took place directly after the meeting. "This offer is part of a larger program to provide long-term support to young scientists and to aid their development in becoming leaders in science," says Monika Lessl, member of the board of directors of the Ernst Schering Foundation. Additional events on other useful themes are in preparation—such as helpful advice for young academics who for the first time put together a research group or direct a major scientific project.

At the meeting, the German Pupils Academy (Deutsche SchülerAkademie) presented itself. Several times a year, at different locations, this initiative—which is supported, among others, by the Ernst Schering Foundation—organizes so-called academies. During these two-week seminars, taking place during school vacations, pupils deal intensively with a variety of topics and are introduced to scientific work and modern techniques of presentation.

In 2005 alone, seven such academies took place, with a total of 640 participants. At the Fellows Meeting in Berlin, two pupils talked about their experiences during one such academy. "We thus hope to encourage some of the participating young scientists to take part in a German Pupils Academy," said Monika Lessl. After all, each academy includes scientific experts who supervise the individual courses and workshops.

A diversion from the rest of the program was provided by Susanne Weirich. In her lecture on "Alternate Endings," the installation artist presented some of her works—works that she sees always also "at the intersection between art and science," not least because "I use scientific working methods during the intensive research phase at the beginning of my projects." Occasionally, she even seeks the cooperation of scientists—fpr example, when she got members of the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics involved in her video installation "Event Horizon"—a term from physics.

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