Whether we’re talking about the development of vaccines or about advising politicians on policy matters: The science community has made an enormous contribution during the pandemic. And society’s expectations of science have increased correspondingly. However, how can young researchers in particular meet these expectations? Watch the video message by Hans-Christian Pape, President of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, at the opening of the 2021 GAIN annual meeting.
Science is needed when addressing the challenges facing humankind such as the pandemic, climate change, ageing societies, digitalisation and artificial intelligence, Pape said, adding that science is under greater pressure than it used to be to find solutions to existing problems within a short time. For young researchers, the growing expectation that science should be utilitarian is one of the challenges that have become even greater in the wake of the pandemic. “This changes our work by reducing the tolerance for wrong pathways, provisional results and errors.” Research topics whose use is not immediately clear threaten to get pushed into the background, Pape noted. Furthermore, knowledge processes must be communicated better.
The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation’s sponsorship opportunities are not a panacea but they allow recipients to enjoy academic mobility with the greatest possible flexibility, Hans-Christian Pape said in his welcoming speech in which he also outlined and acknowledged the special challenges facing young researchers today.
The conference was opened by Federal Minister of Education and Research Anja Karliczek together with Hans-Christian Pape, Katja Becker, President of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, and Joybrato Mukherjee, President of the German Academic Exchange Service, on 25 August. Over the next three days, nearly 1,000 persons attended the GAIN meeting, one of the largest networking events for research careers in Germany.