HeKKSaGOn spin-off programme on supporting the next generation of researchers

The HeKKSaGOn spin-off programme "Five Dialogues for Future Research and Science with Early Career Researchers" was held online on 23 November. The program was organised jointly by the L-INSIGHT programme and the two HeKKSaGOn universities (Heidelberg University and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)).

 Five L-INSIGHT fellows held a dialogue with ECRs(Early Career Researchers) from the two German universities on trans-disciplinary topics such as the research environment and the way of thinking in the research field, which they believe should be discussed in order to develop future research projects. As a way of cultivating global vision, a fundamental theme was set to give a bird's-eye view of the research topic itself.


Despite the fact that the day was a national holiday in Japan, 85 participants from 18 universities in Japan and abroad registered for the event, which began with opening remarks by the Director of the European Centre, Mika Yokoyama, followed by greetings from Vice-Rector Matthias Weidemüller of Heidelberg University and Norihiro Tokitoh, Director of Research at Kyoto University.

The parallel sessions, in which the Fellows themselves acted as MCs, provided an opportunity to practise the facilitation skills of raising questions and engaging in dialogue with others. Some of the sessions touched on the details of the research, while others were more general in nature, but all of them ended with a discussion with the general participants.

Each topic was too big to be discussed in 75 minutes, but the aim was not to draw conclusions in the first place. One of the aims was to provide a mechanism for ECRs to clarify their own issues or find new ones through dialogue and to continue their research with a greater sense of purpose for the future.

After the wrap-up by the Fellows, three guests commented on the platform, including Prof. Dr. Stefan Norra from KIT, who said that "a place where scientific questions can be explored is a place where different cultures can come into contact". Prof. Yasuyuki Kono, Vice-President for International Strategy of Kyoto University, repeatedly stressed the importance of "Questions": "Sharing questions", "Sharing the unknown leads to new questions" and "Don't hesitate to ask questions". Professor Motomu Tanaka of Heidelberg University added: "Generating the questions between different disciplines is important. If not relevant, it is pointless", he said, referring to "how to formulate questions" in research. In view of the pandemic situation, the conference was held online, but a sequel is planned for early summer 2022, with an actual visit to Germany. The European Center will continue to support this event to ensure its success.