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Help Shape Research Topics

Researchers, Students, and Young People from Berlin Collaborate to Identify Topics for the Next Grand Challenge of the Berlin University Alliance

News from Jul 04, 2022

Together with researchers, students, and young people from Berlin, the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) is looking for topic proposals for its “Next Grand Challenge” to be submitted by October 31, 2022. The goal is to involve people outside the academic community. Anyone interested in participating can learn how to submit topics and participate at www.bua-calling.de. Once the next challenge topic has been identified, the BUA will set up a corresponding research funding program.

The BUA has set itself the goal of finding answers to the major questions of the 21st century: How do we want to live together in the future? How do we cope with a global health crisis? How do we deal with rapid climate change and armed conflicts? To this end, the BUA has launched the Grand Challenges research programs in which the partner institutions Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin develop inter- and transdisciplinary approaches for solving global challenges.

Following the Grand Challenges “Social Cohesion” and “Global Health”, the BUA is taking an innovative approach with its Next Grand Challenge: In a participatory process with young people as well as organized civil society, economy, politics, and administration, an overarching topic for new research projects is being sought together with researchers and students.

“We are particularly excited to see what research topics young people in Berlin will propose to us,” says Prof. Dr. Holger Dobbek from the Department of Biology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and member of the Grand Challenges Steering Committee. Currently, the BUA is looking for young people who want to participate in the search for topics. Young people from Berlin aged 14 to 18 can apply by August 28, 2022, on the website www.bua-calling.de to participate in preparatory workshops and learn rhetoric, presentation and creativity techniques. The BUA is equally excited about the proposals from researchers and students. They can already submit topic suggestions at bua-calling.de.

The grand final of the participation process is expected to take place in February 2023. Then, the BUA will invite you to the “Next Grand Challenge” forum, where the participants will discuss the topic submissions together. Arguments will be developed that will serve as a basis for the BUA's decision to launch the new research program. Research on the selected topic is then expected to begin in the summer of 2024.

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