DFG Summer Reception and Roundtable Discussion in Moscow

Opening of the summer reception, f. l. t. r. Ambassador Freiherr von Fritsch, Vice President Funke, former Minister Fursenko

(30.06.16) At the end of June, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) hosted its traditional summer reception in Moscow. In the presence of over 150 invited guests, some of whom travelled from St. Petersburg, Kazan and Yekaterinburg, DFG Vice President Peter Funke and Ambassador Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch thanked the representatives of both countries for their successful collaboration in the past year. A roundtable discussion was held the next day with the Russian partner organisations of the DFG with the aim of further consolidating the collaboration between the institutions.

Vice President Peter Funke opened this year's summer reception on behalf of the German Research Foundation, providing a quick overview in his address before the numerous representatives from science and the humanities and government in attendance. Despite changes in the political situation between Germany and Russia, the DFG continues to succeed in further strengthening collaboration in the areas of science and the humanities and research on many levels. One example of these successful endeavours is the initiation of a joint call for proposals in mathematics and physics together with the Russian Science Foundation (RSF). Alongside over one hundred current joint projects receiving funding, new research cooperations have also been initiated with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) in material and engineering sciences. The DFG also agreed with the Russian Foundation for Humanities (RFH) on a new call for proposals in the humanities and social sciences.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch, highlighted further local activities of the DFG in his welcome address – such as the Leibniz Lectures and the German-Russian Week of the Young Researcher – and thanked the DFG office in Moscow for its active involvement in the German House for Research and Innovation (DWIH). In addition, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation on Science and Education, former Minister Andrei Fursenko, addressed guests, reporting on a recent visit to Germany where he also met with researchers funded by the DFG.

Alongside the summer reception, the DFG also organised a roundtable discussion with Russian partner organisations RFBR, RFH, RSF and the Saint Petersburg State University (SPBU) to further advance the collaboration between the institutions. The venue for the discussion was once again the library in Hotel Baltschug, where the DFG and the DWIH have regularly been providing a forum for discussion between high level representatives from research and academia since 2010. The current challenges and specific prospects for the DFG in bilateral collaboration with Russia were the topics of this research discussion. The DFG delegation, including Annette Schmidtmann (Head of the Scientific Affairs Department), Karin Zach (Head of the Mathematics and Physics Division) and Jörg Schneider (Head of the International Affairs Division), also benefited from the opportunity to learn about the ongoing institutional reforms in the Russian research system. In view of the imminent merger of the two funding organisations RFBR and RFH, it is important for the DFG to look for new avenues of collaboration in order to secure the joint funding of German-Russian research cooperation going forward.