Research funding focuses on more diversity

How does a research funding organization celebrate 100. Anniversary as effective as possible? The German Research Foundation (DFG) primarily wants to defend the freedom of science – also internally – from the “Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft” founded 1920. In the origin of the DFG, it was and still is that the community of researchers decides on the promotion of their best ideas.

Translated into the slogan “DFG 2020 – Decide for knowledge “one wants to have a deep impact on society. From now on, “all interested parties” on social media will be asked to use text, image and video statements to explain why they chose “# for the knowledge.”

“For the DFG it is important to reach as many people as possible, especially those who feel less seen or neglected, ”said the new DFG President Katja Becker in Berlin on Monday. Science must convince these people of itself, she added, according to the speech manuscript at the New Year's reception of the DFG. The principles of free and independent science should not only be visible at research locations, but also in regions with little scientific infrastructure, the new DFG President Katja Becker said in Berlin on Monday. The doctor and biochemist took office at the beginning of January.

They collect questions from citizens about science

The team of the Berlin theater collective Company Headstand (KoKo ) tours in a minibus from Hamburg to Usedom and via Essen to Münstereifel to around a dozen locations “to collect how people feel about science”, says KoKo employee Julia Bihl. They are invited into inflatable capsules in which they can formulate their questions to science. They should meet researchers from the regions there.

They are also looking for new ways of dialogue in politics, said Becker. She is personally committed to the Scientists for Future movement: “We were and are all on the street.” However, how resolutions and scientific findings are implemented faster and more authentically in practical politics, such as global challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity, is not an issue for resolutions. Rather, science must “provide the best possible basis for clear, science-based decisions.”

In research funding from the DFG, the new president wants to “promote diversity at all levels”. Most researchers in Germany are open to various teams, for example by age, gender or sexual identity and geographical or social origin. But the USA is much further ahead – and in this respect a role model.

At the New Year's reception of the DFG, Becker reminded Bertolt Brecht, who had Galileo say that the only goal of science is to “reduce the troubles of the to facilitate human existence “. This sentence has an “almost shocking topicality,” said Becker. Because to this existence belonged “water, air and soil, animals and plants and a social coexistence”. And it can “probably only be maintained through real cooperation, on all levels”.