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Gain research experience at an early stage

Berlin University Alliance starts funding program for students

News from Mar 29, 2021

In the summer semester of 2021, the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) is funding 24 projects by students and junior researchers for the first time. In research tutorials and groups, they should work largely independently on their own research questions. The so-called “X-Tutorials” and “X-Student Research Groups” will be offered every semester in the future as part of the Student Research Opportunities Programx (StuROPx).

Enroll in current research and pursue research interests early on – the Berlin University Alliance has set itself the goal of strengthening the connection between (top-level) research and teaching. StuROPx expands the possibilities for students to take part in research projects in Berlin. With the program, they are not only involved in cutting-edge research issues, but can also network with junior researchers and take advantage of the offers of all four partner institutions – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin.

The X-Student Research Groups are research teams made up of doctoral candidates or Postdocs, and students. The X-Tutorials are initiated by students who do research together with a student team. 16 X-Student Research Groups and 8 X-Tutorials will be launched in the summer semester 2021.

The high response to the two calls for proposals – with a total of more than 150 applications –shows that closer links between research and teaching are met with great interest. Prof. Dr. iur. Eva Inés Obergfell, vice president for Teaching and Learning at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and spokesperson for the steering committee Teaching and Learning, is pleased about the launch of the new formats: “The numerous submissions reflect the importance of research-based learning and the diversity of disciplines reflected in the Berlin Alliance. Many applications follow an interdisciplinary approach or have been submitted on a multi-institutional basis.”

For example, Dr. Doris Pischedda from the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, together with students, experiment with humanoid robots and examine the conditions under which they are perceived as human-like or intelligent. The project bears the title "Through the other's eyes: enabling perspective taking in humanoid robots", and addresses students of psychology, neurosciences, computer science, and philosophy alike.

The “Print your Brain” research group is based at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at Freie Universität Berlin. The students are given the task of making a 3D-print of their brain. This is how the research assistant and group leader Dr. Timo Schmidt and the participants investigate different ways of data analysis for the reconstruction of individual surface structures of the human brain.

Many projects are based on an interdisciplinary approach to the topic, such as the X-Tutorial “The conflict between medicine and politics: Who decides? The case of diamorphine therapy”, which was successfully applied for in cooperation between Jakob Eichler and Johanna Klag – two students from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. It is supervised by the Charité Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. The students examine the supply situation and the need for diamorphine therapy in opiate-dependent patients, including medical, political and ethical aspects.

The funded formats receive material resources averaging 750 euros. To prepare for their task, all junior researchers and students shall attend a preparatory workshop. In the summer semester 2021, special emphasis will be placed on how joint research can be supported with online teaching tools.

Students of the four partner institutions can register for the courses offered in the program. An overview and brief description of the funded projects as well as further information on student registration can be found on the X-Tutorials and X-Student Research Groups page.


The Berlin University Alliance

The Berlin University Alliance is a consortium consisting of three major Berlin universities – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin – and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, established to shape research and education in Berlin. The four partners joined forces to further develop Berlin as a research hub with international drawing power. Together the partners explore major societal challenges, increase public outreach, promote the training of junior researchers, address issues of quality and standards in research, and share resources in the areas of research infrastructure, teaching, diversity, equal opportunities, and internationalization. The Berlin University Alliance is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Berlin under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder.

Joint press release by Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Press contact
Hans-Christoph Keller, acting press spokesperson of the Berlin University Alliance and press spokesperson of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Email: medien@berlin-university-alliance.de 

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