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New Employees for the Berlin University Alliance

News from Dec 15, 2020

With the formation of the Berlin University Alliance, the four Alliance partners – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin – want to develop the research hub of Berlin into an integrated research environment. In order to bring the five objectives and three cross-cutting themes to life, new staff members will support the new overarching work structure and joint projects.

Dr. Claudia Wiedner previously worked at Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht – Centre for Materials and Coastal Research as research coordinator for the research missions "Protection and Sustainable Use of Marine Areas" and at Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemünde as director of the coordination office "Coastal Research North and Baltic Sea". She has been the director of the Office for Grand Challenge Initiatives since October 1, 2020 (Objective 1: Focusing on Grand Challenges). Its mission is to develop a Berlin-wide collaborative research agenda to address major global issues, the Grand Challenges, that are of great interest and importance to both the research community and society. The alliance understands Grand Challenges as complex problems that involve a broad spectrum of interrelated phenomena from different areas of society and a wide variety of disciplines and actors. The first two Grand Challenge Initiatives are dedicated to the topics of Social Cohesion and Global Health. The subject of the next Grand Challenge Initiative will be jointly identified in a transdisciplinary process that will involve the participation of researchers, politics, economy, and society.

Dr. Ingeborg Lasser, previously manager of the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience and Neurodynamics at the University of Reading (UK), assumed the coordination of Core Facilities at the beginning of December in the Objective 5: Sharing Resources. The Berlin University Alliance has set itself the goal of networking and promoting excellent scientific infrastructures of the partner institutions as a basic prerequisite for successful research. To this end, activities in this field will be bundled and mutual access to and use of, for example, large-scale equipment, collections or research data will be simplified.

Since the end of September, Katharina Kinga Kowalski has been coordinator for the Cross-Cutting Themes Diversity and Gender Equality, Teaching and Learning and Internationalization. Previously, she was the managing director of Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Frauen- und Geschlechterforschungseinrichtungen Berliner Hochschulen (afg), a working group of women’s and gender studies institutions at higher education institutions in Berlin. With its rich academic programs and excellent resources, Berlin has attracted many researchers from all over the world in recent years. The number of international students has also grown steadily. International partnerships with universities enable even easier cooperation in joint research projects or in the area of promoting young researchers. Through strategic partnerships, the Berlin University Alliance is already connected with the University of Oxford, the University of Melbourne, and the National University of Singapore. The integration and comprehensive implementation of the cross-cutting themes in the Berlin Excellence Strategy contributes to the heterogeneous and integrated Berlin hub of research.

Dr. Sarah Wessel has been working as a program manager at the Berlin Center for Global Engagement (BCGE) in the Cross-Cutting Theme: Internationalization. Previously, she was a research assistant and curator of the research and exhibition project "Cinderella, Sindbad, and Sinuhe - Arab-German Storytelling Traditions" of the Staatliche Museen Berlin, Ägyptisches Museum und Papyrussammlung (a joint project of the public museums of Berlin and the Egypt museum) in cooperation with AGYA (Arab-German Young Academy) (2017-2020). Her colleague Anna Lebed has been supporting the BCGE since October as an event management and public relations employee. She previously worked at the European Academy for Taxes, Economics and Law as a consultant for education and events. The BCGE aims to deepen relationships with international partners in the Global South, to network the regional expertise and global competencies of Berlin's research community, and to develop activities in the field of science diplomacy.