Successful Appearance by Research in Germany at the Hybrid March Meeting of the American Physical Society

"Research in Germany" stand at the APS March Meeting 2022


(29.03.22) Finally the chance to meet again! After two March Meetings of the American Physical Society (APS) had been moved into cyberspace because of the pandemic, this was by far the most frequently heard comment among the almost 8,000 physicists who made the trip to Chicago. In the weeks before, confidence in the organiser’s hygiene concept increased, while infection rates declined in the US after the recent Omicron wave. During the day prior to the event, numerous participants who had initially only registered for the virtual part of the event had their registrations changed to physical attendance, so there was an impression of relative normality during the fair and at the poster sessions during the conference – as compared to the almost 10,000 participants in the period before the pandemic.

This also applied to the Research in Germany information stand set up in Chicago, which was located directly in the fair entrance area. At three advisory tables, information was provided on the Quantum Alliance (an alliance of the clusters of excellence being funded in this field as part of the federal and state excellence strategy), job vacancies at Max Planck and Fraunhofer institutes and a look at the funding programmes that are offered by the research and funding institutions involved in the Research in Germany initiative. In the first few hours of the fair in particular, the six DAAD and DFG staff members on site – supported by two colleagues from the Quantum Alliance – were kept very busy meeting the demand for advice and handing out the information material they had brought with them. Over the three days of the fair, 300 or so conversations at the stand revealed that internationally mobile academics were now definitely more willing to entertain the idea of spending a period of time in Germany – a country that is perceived as being open to foreigners as well as having very high-quality research opportunities. This perception now also applies to numerous beacons of the German research landscape, including the Quantum Alliance. Thanks to its presence in Chicago, Research in Germany was also able to contribute to the dominant subject of the fair, namely quantum technology and the accompanying cryotechnology – a field that was represented by a particularly large number of providers this year.

For all those who were unable to travel to Chicago, the Research in Germany team was available to provide virtual advice and support. An online presence within the virtual section of the APS March Meeting provided an overview of the various web-based sources of information on research and funding opportunities in Germany, while an online workshop entitled How to Do Physics in Germany enabled international early-career academics to obtain in-depth information on research and funding opportunities in Germany from representatives of various institutions.

At this online event – which was open to all visitors who were registered for the meeting – Dr. Davide Bossini (University of Konstanz) and Prof. Dr. Andrew Mackenzie (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, Dresden) outlined their respective career paths and personal experience. They provided a motivating account for participants from all over the world of why they chose Germany as a research location and how they were able to make this step. They both emphasised the opportunities offered by various funding programmes in Germany in their own research areas and were keen to emphasise the general openness to international researchers in Germany. They were also able to eliminate one major concern among participants of the online event, who were able to contribute to the discussion via chat: perfect proficiency in German is not required in order to be able to work successfully as a researcher in the country. Afterwards, representatives of the following institutions answered specific questions posed by the workshop audience:

Both the Research in Germany exhibition stand on site in Chicago and the Research in Germany online event at the APS March Meeting illustrated the various facets and links within the German research landscape, both in the field of physics and beyond. What is more, the two events showed what the respective strengths of face-to-face and online events are and how these event types are able to complement each other in a meaningful way.