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Promoting Closer Collaboration Between German and Mexican Researchers at UNAM

(02.06.17) A community of some 400,000 people on an area of 2,815 km² – this could be a description of a German city, but in fact it refers to the largest university in Latin America, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – UNAM). On 23 May, a DFG delegation which included Secretary General Dorothee Dzwonnek visited an important part of the UNAM main campus with the aim of strengthening relations between German researchers and the Mexican university.

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The DFG delegation on a guided tour of the UNAM campus. The main building of the university library can be seen in the background

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In the morning, the directors of institutes at UNAM were invited to a plenary event at which the DFG and UNAM presented their respective profiles along with key information on German-Mexican research cooperation. The institute representatives contributed various examples and information on collaborative work in microbiology, marine research, veterinary medicine, botany, geology and climate change.

“The potential for bilateral research cooperation is still far from exhausted. However, before we can exploit it we must identify it. And we are here today to explore these valuable opportunities,” explained Secretary General Dzwonnek, referring to the DFG’s interest in maintaining and expanding collaboration with researchers in Mexico.

Some of the other potential areas of collaboration mentioned included law, animal welfare in pharmacology research, big data, gender research and cultural diversity.

During the plenary event (left to right): Guillermo Adán (Vice-Rector of Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences), Julio Solano (Vice-Rector of Research), Carlos de la Hoz (Academic Director), Frederico Christlieb (Head of International Cooperation), Dorothee Dzwonnek (DFG Secretary General) and Annette Schmidtmann (Head of Department of Scientific Affairs)

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The meeting revealed the enormous interest on the part of UNAM researchers in expanding scientific cooperation with Germany. This resulted in a proposal to organise a strategic workshop to identify potential for cooperation. There are also plans to hold topic-based workshops to establish contact between German and Mexican researchers and facilitate the development of joint research projects.

Participants in the plenary event in the lecture theatre at UNAM

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The information and impressions gained from the plenary event were discussed in the afternoon at a meeting with the Secretary General of UNAM, Prof. Dr. Leonardo Lomeli. This meeting focused on bilateral project funding for groups of researchers, as potential had been identified on both sides.

Conversation with the Secretary General of UNAM, Leonardo Lomeli (centre)

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