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Collecting topics for the Next Grand Challenge: FAQs

All researchers (professors, post-doctoral researchers, and doctoral students) and students of the partner institutions of the Berlin University Alliance (Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité) as well as young people from Berlin (14 to 18 years old) are invited to submit topics. Researchers and students shall submit their topics in teams.
More information for researchers and students is available here.
More information for young people is available here.

No.
Researchers and students must submit their topics in teams of at least five participants from two different disciplines of the Berlin University Alliance partner institutions (Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité). More information for researchers and students is available here.

Young people develop their topics as part of a Next Grand Challenge Idea Camp and are prepared in workshops beforehand. More information for young people is available here.

The teams of researchers and students must consist of at least five participants from two different disciplines of the partner institutions of the Berlin University Alliance (Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité).

The teams can consist either of researchers only or students only or of participants of both status groups. More information is available here.

Alternatively, researchers and students from other Berlin higher education institutions can be integrated into the teams of the partner institutions of the Berlin University Alliance. Other researchers from research institutions in Berlin not affiliated with academia (e.g. BR 50), as well as from the strategic partners of the Berlin University Alliance (University of Oxford, National University of Singapore, University of Melbourne) can also be integrated. However, this is not a prerequisite for participation.

Young people develop their topics as part of the Next Grand Challenge Idea Camp. More information is available here.

No. Each participant may only be part of one team and be listed by name.

Participants who are still looking for team partners, please contact us at:

nextgrandchallenge@berlin-university-alliance.de

The submission can also be made in English. However, the topic submission form is only available in German. Likewise, the joint topic evaluation of science and society at the Next Grand Challenge Forum will be in German.

No, the workshops as well as the Idea Camp for the participation of young people will be held in German. Participation exclusively in English is unfortunately not possible. 

The entire process of collection of topics, from submission to selection, is divided into four phases and can be followed on the Next Grand Challenge webpage.

  1. Topic Collection: Initially, all topic proposals will be collected and formally reviewed by October 31, 2022. After that, the topics will be published on the Next Grand Challenge webpage without disclosing the names of the participants.

  2. Topic Grouping: The topic proposals will then be analyzed for similarities and interconnections and grouped into a maximum of 10 integrated subject areas. The result will be presented on the Next Grand Challenge webpage without disclosing the names of the participants, in such a way that it is clear from which topics an integrated subject area is derived and which questions are being addressed.

  3. Topic Evaluation: In an interactive event, the Next Grand Challenge Forum, which is expected to take place in February 2023 (exact date to be announced), the participants will develop arguments for and against each subject area and, if necessary, supplement other subject areas. Representatives of the teams of researchers and students will participate in the event together with the young people who shall have submitted topics and other participants from science and society (politics, economy, organized civil society).

  4. Topic Selection: An evaluated list of arguments for each of the maximum 10 subject areas will serve as a recommendation for the subsequent selection of the topic. The final topic selection will be announced on the Next Grand Challenge webpage and at a festive event expected in March 2023 (exact date to be announced)

A list of arguments for a maximum of 10 subject areas, into which the submitted topics have been grouped, jointly developed by stakeholders from science and society (politics, economy, organized civil society), will serve as a recommendation for the selection.
The Board of Directors of the Berlin University Alliance (Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Charité) decides on the final selection of the Next Grand Challenge topic.

Topics that have not been selected go into a "pool of topics", which serves as inspiration for future topics set by the Berlin University Alliance.

A grand challenge is a complex global challenge of high current and future scientific and societal relevance for the solution of which innovative inter- and transdisciplinary approaches are required.
A research field that addresses a grand challenge addresses an epistemic interest and is compatible with excellent, international research.
A grand challenge can harness the special competencies or particular potentials of the scientific stakeholders in Berlin, as well as of those stakeholders not affiliated with academia.

The Grand Challenge Initiative of the Berlin University Alliance promotes research to develop solutions to global challenges of high scientific and societal relevance. Previous topics of the initiative include social cohesion and global health. More information is available here.

The joint development of solutions to resolving complex problems by using information, approaches, concepts, or methods that stem from different disciplines, i.e., fields of study and expertise.

"Transdisciplinary" indicates an integrative research approach that also involves stakeholders not affiliated with academia and, in particular, societal stakeholders. Transdisciplinarity assumes that, in addition to scientific knowledge, other knowledge resources (e.g., from professional practice and organized civil society) are relevant to the research process. More information is available here.