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DFG Summer Reception: 15 Years of Representation in Russia

2018 summer reception in Moscow

2018 summer reception in Moscow

© DFG

(17.07.18) On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the DFG Office in Moscow, the DFG hosted its annual summer reception in Moscow at the start of June. In the presence of around 200 guests from Moscow and regions of Russia as well as from Germany, Secretary General of the DFG Prof. Dorothee Dzwonnek thanked the Russian and German partners for the fruitful collaboration.

On behalf of the DFG, Prof. Dzwonnek opened the ceremonious reception and in her speech illustrated the highlights of the work of the DFG in Russia which has maintained its own permanent representative office in Russia since 2003 as one of the first foreign research organisations. Though scientific collaborations can be traced back even further, the journey over the last 15 years clearly demonstrated how the DFG facilitates, funds and enriches scientific collaborations at different levels. In addition to the successful development and expansion of the continuous bilateral project funding that has a long-standing tradition with the RFBR and was recently augmented to include regular announcements with the RSF in line with project-based basic research without prescribed topics, this also includes other activities. Examples of these activities include active networking with leading Russian universities, the Academy of Sciences and individual scientists, administrative exchange on a variety of topics and an emphasis on science policy. In this context, Ms. Dzwonnek noted the establishment of formats such as the Leibniz Lecture, the Weeks of the Young Researcher and discussion forums. She thanked the Russian institutions and the German organisations for their continued support and common creative power.

DFG delegation at the roundtable discussion with Russian partners (RFBR, RSF, MSU, SPBU)
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DFG delegation at the roundtable discussion with Russian partners (RFBR, RSF, MSU, SPBU)

© DFG

In her introductory speech, the envoy and Permanent Representative of the German Embassy in Moscow, Ms. Beate Grzeski, highlighted the prominent role that the DFG has long occupied in the funding of bilateral basic research, and the importance of basic research as the basis for knowledge gain, research and as a solid foundation for future innovation. Furthermore, the Director of the Russian Science Foundation, Alexander Khlunov, addressed the assembled company and acknowledged the work of the DFG in the Russian Federation. Other high-ranking German guests included the President of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, Professor Jörg Hacker, who actively fostered German-Russian relations in his former role as Vice-President of the DFG in the past.

During the course of the summer reception, the Secretary General of the DFG extended an invitation to the third roundtable discussion. This format allows the DFG Executive Board to hold constructive discussions on the current challenges and perspectives of the joint as well as general trends and developments in German as well as Russian science policy and research funding with the key strategic partner organisations RFBR and RSF and universities such as Saint Petersburg State University (SPBU) and Moscow State University (MSU) in selected company. Bilateral funding of German-Russian research projects has preserved its solid foundation. What is more, the DFG delegation led by Prof. Dzwonnek alongside Karin Zach (leader of the Physics and Mathematics Division), Jörn Achterberg (Director of International Affairs) and Michael Lentze (Programme Director, Polymer Research, Fluid Mechanics and Process Engineering) was also able to gain an impression of the important institutional changes in Russia, such as the establishment of a Ministry of Science separate to the Ministry of Education in Russia.

Following these events, part of the DFG delegation accepted an invitation to the Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), a private research university founded in 2011 with the financial and specialist support of the US Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The university located in the Skolkovo innovation centre, known as the Russian "Silicon Valley", just outside Moscow is committed to combining basic research, applied research and the development of innovative solutions, predominantly in the areas of IT, biomedicine, energy and space research. In 2017, the DFG held its Weeks of the Young Researcher here on the topic of "Computational Biology and Biomedicine" alongside the DAAD under the umbrella of the German House for Research and Innovation DWIH and came to appreciate Skoltech as a university with an international focus.